Remodeling.com’s 2020 Cost vs. Value Report

People are often surprised to learn that home improvement projects are not equal when it comes to how much of a return you can expect to get on your investment. It’s nearly always less than 100% of the amount you spend on the improvement, though there are a few exceptions.

That said, certain home improvement projects will net you much more than others. I’m here to break down which ones will give you the best return on your investment thanks to the folks at Remodeling magazine.

If you’re doing home improvement projects this year, you can’t afford to miss this information when making decisions about what to do and how much to spend.

Key Remodeling Trends for 2020

The report shows a predictable increase in costs for all of the projects. However, this year, there’s also a drop in the perceived value of the improvements. There’s a slight downturn in return for nearly all of the projects across the board.

This is likely because of jittery consumers, who are beginning to feel a bit concerned about the economy. The good news that although remodeling activity is growing at a slower rate than in the past few years, it is still continuing to grow.

1. Manufactured Stone Veneer

Adding manufactured stone veneer to the exterior if your home is a smart move. You can expect 95.6% back on what you spend on the project. In fact, this is one of only three improvements that increased in value from 2019.

Just take a band of siding from the bottom third of your house’s street-facing façade. You’ll begin at the garage and go around the main entry. Replace that siding with manufactured stone veneer. Include new sills, corners, and an address block with two separate layers of water-resistant barrier underneath the veneer to protect your home.

2.  Garage Door Replacement

A perennial favorite on this list is a garage door replacement for your home. This improvement will get you 94.5% of what you spent on it.

You’ll want to install a new, four-section garage door on brand-new, heavy-duty steel tracks. You can use your existing motorized opener. The door should be high-tensile strength steel and have two coats of factory paint. You should also ensure that it has foam insulation with thermal seals and a lifetime warranty.

3. Minor Kitchen Remodel

A minor kitchen remodel will yield a 77.6% return on what you spend.  You may be surprised to know that a minor kitchen remodel actually gets you a better return on your money than a major, expensive kitchen overhaul (which is 58.6%)—a huge drop from last year. A minor remodel can make a dated kitchen look entirely different, and honestly, a complete remodel might not even be necessary.

A minor remodel should include a few key upgrades. You can leave the existing cabinet boxes, but you should replace the fronts with new, shaker-style wood panels and drawer fronts. Don’t forget the new hardware! Replace the cooktop, oven range, and fridge with energy-efficient models, probably stainless steel. Replace countertops with laminate (there are a lot of really beautiful options these days that mimic real stone). Add a new mid-priced sink and faucet. Then you can repaint the trim and walls, and you’re done!

4/5. Siding Replacement

A siding replacement can be an excellent choice. It will make your home look entirely different and will net you 77.6% of what you spend.

Replace all existing siding with new fiber-cement siding. Don’t forget to include factory trim at all openings and corners.

Special note: Vinyl siding replacement actually came in 5th, getting you 74.7% return on your investment.

6. Window Replacement (Vinyl)

Coming in at number six is replacing the windows in your home with new vinyl windows, which nets you 72.3% of what you spend on the job. Wood windows are only 68.9%.

Replace existing windows with double-hung, insulated, low-E windows. They should be simulated-divided-light with a custom-color exterior finish. Trim the exterior to match existing, and do not disturb existing exterior trim.

7. Wood Deck Addition

Who doesn’t want a brand-new deck? And at an 68.9% return on your investment, this is a smart and fun choice. This doesn’t yield quite as much of a return as it has in years past, but it’s still an excellent choice. (Note that a composite deck is worth slightly less at 66.8%.)

You’ll add a 16X20-foot deck with pressure-treated joists and boards. You should also include some extras, like a built-in bench and a planter made from the same material as the deck. You’ll also want stairs and a complete railing system made out of the same material.

I hope this helps you decide what home improvement projects you’d like to tackle next, whether you’re planning to sell or are staying put. If you have any other questions about the value of home improvement projects, please give me a call.

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