The Best House Improvements To Add Value To Your Home

Fire damage cleanup costs anywhere from $800-$93,000. Why it pays off: According to the 2007 Cost vs. Value Report, a study conducted by Remodeling magazine, fiber-cement siding (which is made of sand, cement, and cellulose fibers and costs an average of $13,200) is estimated to recoup about 88 percent (or $11,635) of a home owner’s initial investment. While vinyl can crack, split, and warp and aluminum tends to dent and fade, easy-care fiber cement holds up well against the elements and is resistant to fire, rotting, and termites.

In the hottest housing markets, springing for a kitchen or bath remodel is a sure-fire investment, often returning more than 100 percent of the cost. In Baltimore, for instance, a $9,400 bathroom remodel recouped 182 percent of its cost at resale, according to Remodeling’s 2004 study. The markets in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and San Diego also offered triple-digit returns on a bathroom remodel. Minor kitchen remodels (average cost: $15,273) also provided returns of more than 100 percent in cities including Providence, R.I., Miami, New Orleans and, of course, San Diego, where a $17,928 investment netted $27,000 on resale.

New York contractor Robert Taffera, of Taffera, Inc. , put it this way: “A homeowner should not affect any of the structural members of the house.” Expect older homes to have structural wear that will eventually need to be upgraded by an architect and contractor, or in some cases a structural engineer—and you may as well get it over with during your renovation.

Nobody renovates their kitchen, never mind their entire home, in just two weeks. Yet, the home shows on TV can leave us with the impression that renovations can be done either quickly or cheaply or both. If you find your the type that likes to compare your house with the glossy mags the home reno reality shows then stop. Turn off the TV and put the magazines away. Now, consider why you want the renovation and what problem it will theoretically fix. Answer these questions and you’ll have a much better idea of what needs to be done and what budget you can afford.

The plethora of programming that focuses on flipping homes – A&E’s Flipping Boston” and Flipping Vegas,” as well as HGTV’s Flip or Flop” and Flip It to Win It” – might lead would-be investors to believe there’s easy money to be made. That’s simply not the case, says Paul Sullivan, founder and president of the Sullivan Company, a Newton, Mass., remodeling and custom-building firm.