Which Remodeling Projects Pay Off?

Anyone planning to buy or invest in a foreclosure property should budget for the basic cosmetic repairs — a fresh coat of paint, new carpet and maybe some simple touches like new light fixtures. But many foreclosure buyers and investors need to go far beyond the basic repairs to transform the property into a profitable investment — while spending as little as possible to do so. Lowe’s, in partnership with the Remodeling 2008-2009 Cost vs. Value Report, recently created the interactive Project Payback Calculator to help customers and investors identify the average cost and payback of various home improvement projects in their local market.

Some of the best remodeling projects involve making a home more energy-efficient — which also saves on monthly utility costs. Energy-efficient projects like double-hung window replacements (vinyl), which costs $10,537 for 10 windows, are high on the list, recovering 77 percent of their cost, while a bathroom remodel, which costs around $15,899, generates a 75 percent return on the investment.

The exterior of the house, which can be a major selling point for buyers, is another area where remodeling projects can leave a lasting impression. Consider siding replacement, which costs around $13,177, and generates an 87 percent return on the investment.

And don’t forget about the backyard either — an important feature when selling your home. Outdoor living areas can be a sanctuary as more and more Americans “nest” during these recessionary times. So consider adding a wood deck, which runs around $10,601, and recovers 82 percent of its cost.

Lowe’s and MONEY® Magazine have provided more information and project guidance on smart home improvement projects at Lowes.com/Homewise.

NATIONAL AVERAGES

 

LOWER BUDGET PROJECTS

Job Cost

Value at Sale

Cost Recovered

Attic Bedroom Remodel

$48,398

$35,694

73.80%

Back-Up Power Generator

$14,040

$8,026

57.20%

Basement Remodel

$61,011

$44,467

72.90%

Bathroom Addition

$38,078

$24,187

63.50%

Bathroom Remodel

$15,899

$11,857

74.60%

Deck Addition – wood

$10,601

$8,676

81.80%

Family Room Addition

$81,315

$53,608

65.90%

Garage Addition

$57,272

$38,161

66.60%

Home Office Remodel

$28,094

$15,329

54.60%

Major Kitchen Remodel

$56,611

$43,030

76.00%

Master Suite Addition

$101,571

$67,037

66.00%

Minor Kitchen Remodel

$21,246

$16,881

79.50%

Roofing Replacement

$18,825

$12,336

65.50%

Siding Replacement

$10,256

$8,274

80.70%

Sunroom Addition

$71,745

$40,715

56.70%

Two-Story Addition

$146,538

$103,553

70.70%

Window Replacement – vinyl

$10,537

$8,132

77.20%

Window Replacement – wood

$11,512

$8,946

77.70%

 

 

 

 

HIGHER BUDGET PROJECTS

Job Cost

Value at Sale

Cost Recovered

Bathroom Addition

$74,325

$49,100

66.10%

Bathroom Remodel

$51,455

$36,400

70.70%

Deck Addition – composite

$15,277

$11,260

73.70%

Garage Addition

$85,844

$53,908

62.80%

Major Kitchen Remodel

$110,964

$78,398

70.70%

Master Suite Addition

$223,876

$136,764

61.10%

Roofing Replacement

$36,296

$22,861

63.00%

Siding Replacement – fiber-cement

$13,177

$11,424

86.70%

Siding Replacement – foam-backed vinyl

$12,528

$10,074

80.40%

Window Replacement – vinyl

$13,608

$10,781

79.20%

Window Replacement – wood

$17,580

$13,455

76.50%

 

Project Descriptions

Attic Bedroom Remodel
This project requires converting an unfinished attic space into a 15-by-15-foot bedroom and adding a 5-by-7-foot bath with shower. The project includes three primary elements: (1) a 15-foot shed dormer, (2) four new windows and (3) a closet space under the eaves. To convert the unfinished attic space you have to insulate and finish the ceiling and walls. Carpet flooring needs to be added. Moreover, you need to extend existing HVAC to new space, plus upgrading the electrical wiring and lighting to local code standards. Finally, the project requires retain the existing stairs, but adding rail and baluster around stairwell.  

Back-Up Power Generator
This project involves adding a back-up electrical system — or installing Guardian poser generator — with the capacity for providing 70 amps of emergency power in two 240-volt circuits and six 120-volt circuits.  Some of the key elements of the project include: mounting the generator on a 2×4 concrete or composite slab, installing an automatic transfer switch, grounding the rod, and adding an exterior disconnect and load center. The project will require 30 feet of conduit and electrical cable for connecting the generator, plus grounding the cable for circuits. Additionally, 5 feet of flexible fuel line will be needed to connect it to the existing rigid gas supply line. Include an automotive-type storage battery. Assume existing LP gas supply. 

Basement Remodel
This project calls for remodeling and finishing the lower level of a house (24 LF), creating three remodeling projects: (1) a 20-by-30-foot entertainment area; (2) a wet bar and (3) a 5-by-8-foot full bathroom. Throughout the lower level of a house the walls and ceilings are dry-walled and painted. The exterior walls are insulated. Install five six-panel factory-painted hardboard doors with passage locksets throughout the remodeling project. New electrical wiring to code will also be installed. And the trim throughout the basement will be painted. Additional details for the three remodeling projects include: In the entertainment area, fifteen recessed ceiling light fixtures and three surface-mounted light fixtures will be installed, plus a snap-together laminate flooring system. In the bathroom, install a standard white toilet and a vanity with cultured marble top. A two-piece fiberglass shower unit will be installed, plus these additional features: vanity light fixture, recessed medicine cabinet, towel and paper-holder hardware, a light/fan combination and resilient vinyl flooring. In the bar area, install raised-panel oak cabinets with laminate countertops (10 LF), under-counter refrigerator, stainless steel bar sink, single-lever bar faucet, and vinyl floor tile. 

Bathroom Addition
Construct a full 6-by-8-foot bathroom addition over a crawl space with poured concrete walls. The bathroom includes a cultured-marble vanity top with molded sink. Other details include: 30-by-60-inch white fiberglass tub/shower surrounded with ceramic tile; white low-profile toilet; standard chrome faucets; single-lever temperature and pressure-balanced faucet. The bathroom addition will also contain general and spot lighting; electrical wiring to local code standards; a linen storage closet or cabinet and a mirrored medicine cabinet. Add vinyl wallpaper and painted trim, plus ceramic tile flooring. Include 12 recessed ceiling lights. Upgrade electrical system to code and tie into existing HVAC.
 
Bathroom Addition (higher budget)

This bathroom addition adds 100 square feet to the master bath, expanding the existing master bedroom over a crawl space. The new space includes 42-by-42-inch neo-angle shower with ceramic tile walls. It also includes a frameless glass enclosure, accent strip, body spray fixtures, and a recessed shower caddy. Other additions include: installing a customized whirlpool tub; adding stone countertop with two sinks; mounting two mirrored medicine cabinets with lighting; and adding a humidistat-controlled exhaust fan. Add general and spot lighting including waterproof shower fixture. Include cabinetry with a custom drawer and wall cabinets for a built-in look. Install larger matching ceramic tiles on the floor, laid on the diagonal with ceramic tile base molding. Upgrade HVAC system and include electric in-floor heating and heated towel bars. The bathroom addition also contains a compartmentalized commode area with one-piece toilet and all color fixtures. 

Bathroom Remodel
The remodeling project includes transforming an existing 5-by-7-foot bathroom by replacing all fixtures and including a 30-by-60-inch porcelain-on-steel tub surrounded by 4×4-inch ceramic tile. Add a standard white toilet with a new single-lever temperature and pressure-balanced shower control. Install a solid-surface vanity counter with integral sink and recessed medicine cabinet with light. Include ceramic tile floor and vinyl wallpaper. 

Bathroom Remodel (higher budget)
Increase your existing 35-square-foot bathroom living space by adding and additional 100 square feet within the existing house footprint. Move all fixtures. Add a customized whirlpool tub and stone countertops with two sinks, plus two mirrored medicine cabinets with lighting. Additionally, include 42-by-42-inch neo-angle shower with ceramic tile walls with accent strip, recessed shower caddy, body spray fixtures and frameless glass enclosure. Construct a compartmentalized commode area with one-piece toilet and a humidistat-controlled exhaust fan. Add color fixtures. Install custom cabinets with drawer base and wall cabinets for a built-in look. Add larger matching ceramic tiles on the floor, laid on the diagonal with ceramic tile base molding. Install general and spot lighting including waterproof shower fixture. Update HVAC system and install electric in-floor heating and heated towel bars. 

Deck Addition – wood
This project requires installing a 16-by-20-foot wooden deck using pressure-treated joists supported by 4×4 posts and anchored to concrete piers. Design the pressure-treated deck in a simple linear pattern. Construct a built-in bench and planter with the same pressure-treated decking materials. Add stairs and a railing system using the same pressure-treated wood on the posts, railings, and balusters. 

Deck Addition – composite
Like the wooden deck addition, this project calls for installing a 16-by-20-foot deck using pressure-treated joists supported by 4×4 posts anchored to concrete piers. Construct the composite deck material in a simple linear pattern. Add a built-in bench and planter using the same pressure-treated decking material. Add stairs and a railing system using the same pressure-treated wood on the posts, railings, and balusters.

Family Room Addition
Conforming to the existing style of the house, add a new 16-by-25-foot family room on a crawl space foundation with vinyl siding and fiberglass shingle roof. Inside, incorporate drywall interior with fiberglass insulation. Add pre-finished hardwood flooring and 180 square feet of glazing including windows. On the outside, add atrium-style exterior doors and two operable skylights. Upgrade to existing HVAC. Add 12 recessed ceiling lights and upgrade electrical system to local code standards. 

Garage Addition
Build a mid-range, free-standing two-car garage measuring 26×26-foot. Construction design includes footings and slab-on-grade foundation, 2×4 wood frame with OSB structural sheathing, and a gable truss roof at 6/12 pitch. On the roof, install 25-year asphalt shingle roofing with galvanized metal flashing. The exterior will include vinyl siding and trim. Mount five double-hung 30×48-inch vinyl windows. Affix one 30/68exterior door with half-glass and lockset and two composite 9×8 overhead doors with a motorized opener. The interior wall, flooring and the ceilings will remain unfinished. Electrically, install a 100-amp breaker switch at the main house panel and 50 LF of trench buried conduit to feed new electrical sub-panel. Add electrical wiring for openers and 3-way switching for fluorescent ceiling fixtures over each bay. Add 3-way switching for 2 exterior spotlights and upgrade all outlets to local code standards. 

Garage Addition (higher budget)
For building a similar mid-range, free-standing two-car garage, install interior drywall finish using moisture resistant drywall on both the ceiling and the three walls. Also, add modular storage systems at the rear wall, including wall panels, upper and lower storage cabinets with work surfaces and lighting. Upgrade the cement floor with color, slip-resistant epoxy sealer. Trim all windows and doors and provide base molding at perimeter. Paint the trim, ceiling and walls. 

Home Office Remodel
Remodel an existing 12-by-12-foot room into a home office. Add drywall interior, painted trim and commercial-grade carpeting. Construct custom cabinets to include 20 linear feet of laminate desktop for computer workstation and wall cabinet storage. Upgrade and rewire entire home office for computer, fax machine and other electronic equipment, plus add cable and telephone lines. 

Minor Kitchen Remodel
Remodel a functional but dated 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of cabinetry and countertops. Swap out old wall oven and cook top and replace with new energy-efficient models. Change laminate countertops and install new mid-priced sink and faucet. Leave cabinet boxes in place, but replace fronts with new raised-panel wood doors and drawers, adding new hardware. Add wall covering, repaint trim and remove and replace resilient flooring.

Major Kitchen Remodel
Modernize an outdated 200-square-foot kitchen with a contemporary functional layout of 30 linear feet of semi-custom wood cabinets, with a new 3-by-5-foot island. Add a standard double-tub stainless-steel sink with standard single-lever faucet and laminate countertops. Install new resilient flooring. Upgrade to energy-efficient wall oven, cook top, ventilation system, built-in microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal and custom lighting. Finish with painted walls, trim and ceiling. 

Major Kitchen Remodel (higher budget)
Modernize an outmoded 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of top-of-the-line custom cherry cabinets with built-in sliding shelves and other interior accessories. Add designer faucets with a high-end under-mount sink and built-in water filtration system. Install stone countertops with imported ceramic or glass tile backsplash. Upgrade to an energy-efficient built-in refrigerator, cook top, and 36-inch commercial grade range and vent hood. Add a built-in warming drawer, trash compactor and an energy-efficient built-in combination microwave and convection oven. Add new general and task lighting including low-voltage under-cabinet lights. Install cork flooring, with cherry trim. .

Master Suite Addition
Build a spacious new master bedroom suite over a crawl space measuring 24-by-16-foot. Add a walk-in closet and dressing area, complete with a whirlpool tub in ceramic tile platform. Install a separate 3-by-4-foot ceramic tile shower and double-bowl vanity with solid surface countertop. Install general and spot lighting, exhaust fan and upgrade electrical wiring to local code standards. Install carpeting to the bedroom flooring and add ceramic tile to the bath floor. Paint walls, ceiling and trim. 

Master Suite Addition (higher budget)
Build a spacious new master bedroom suite over a crawl space measuring 32-by-20-foot. Build a spacious sleeping area with a lounging and sitting area adjacent to large master bath. Design a custom bookcase and built-in storage area with millwork details. Install French doors to exterior. Add a high-end gas fireplace with stone hearth and custom mantle. Build a large walk-in closet and dressing area with natural light, mirrors and linen storage.

In the bathroom, construct a large walk-in shower with dual shower system, stone shower walls and floor with custom frameless glass enclosure. Add corner-design whirlpool tub bordered on two sides by windows and built into granite or marble platform with custom cabinet front. Put in two sinks in separate custom vanities with stone countertops and large mirrors. Craft a partitioned area for a luxury one-piece toilet. Install 5-foot-long hospitality center with bar sink, under-counter refrigerator with custom cabinetry and granite or marble countertop, plus microwave. Soundproof the master suite and install in-floor heating, custom wall finishes and hardware. Add general and spot lighting and lighting controls. 

Replace Roofing
Replace existing roofing and expose the bare wood sheathing and dispose of the old roof properly. Replace existing roof with 30 squares of 235-pound fiberglass asphalt shingles (min. 25-year warranty) with new felt underlayment, galvanized drip edge and mill-finish aluminum flashing. Replacement based on a 5-square hip roof with custom flashing at two average-sized skylights and custom cap treatment at vented ridge.

Replace Roofing (higher budget)
Replace existing roofing and expose the bare wood sheathing and dispose of the old properly. Replace existing roof with 30 squares of standing seam metal, formed on site into 16-inch panels using factory-enameled roll steel and double-lock all seams. Install custom brake-bent flashing from same material for drip edge and all flashing at roof-wall intersections. Replacement based on a 5-square hip roof with custom flashing at two average-sized skylights and custom cap treatment at vented ridge. Apply over new felt underlayment, use ice-and-water membrane at eaves, valleys and all penetrations. 

Replace Siding
Upgrade existing siding with 1,250 square feet of new vinyl siding replacement includes all trim.

Replace Siding – fiber-cement (higher budget)
Upgrade existing siding with 1,250 square feet of new fiber-cement siding, factory primed and painted. Replacement includes all 4/4 and 5/4 trim using either fiber-cement boards or cellular PVC. 

Replace Siding – foam-backed vinyl (higher budget)
Upgrade existing siding with 1,250 square feet of new foam-backed vinyl siding, including factory trim at all openings and corners. 

Sunroom Addition
Build a new sunroom addition with 200-square-feet of living space, including footings and slab-on-grade foundation. Construction includes post and beam framing that are exposed on interior side. Roof glazing includes ten large aluminum clad venting skylights with screens. Wall glazing includes vinyl or aluminum clad awning and casement windows with low-E, laminated or tempered glazing and screens. Addition includes a ceiling fan. Install insulation in all non-glass areas and movable shades for glass area. Floor includes quarry tile or equal.

Two-Story Addition
Construct a first-floor family room and a second-floor bedroom with full bath in a 24-by-16-foot two-story wing over a crawl space. Upgrade electrical wiring to local code standards. Include new HVAC system to handle addition. On the first-floor addition, install a prefabricated gas fireplace and add eleven 3-by-5-foot double-hung insulated clad-wood windows. Design an atrium-style exterior door, complete with carpeted flooring and painted drywall on walls and ceiling and painted trim. On the second-floor addition, build a 5 by 8 foot bathroom. Install a one-piece fiberglass tub/shower unit and add a standard white toilet. Add a wooden vanity with solid-surface countertop and a mirrored medicine cabinet with built-in light strip. Install resilient vinyl flooring and papered walls with painted trim and an exhaust fan. In the bedroom, build walk-in closet and a dressing area complete with general and spot lighting. Add carpet flooring, painted walls, ceiling and trim.

Replace Windows – vinyl
Upgrade existing windows with ten new double-hung, insulated vinyl replacement windows measuring 3-by-5-foot. Drape the existing exterior trim to match the new replacement windows. Do not disturb existing interior trim.

Replace Windows – wood
Upgrade existing windows with ten 3-by-5-foot double-hung, insulated wooden replacement windows, with the exterior clad in vinyl or aluminum. Drape the existing exterior trim to match the new replacement windows. Do not disturb existing interior trim. 

Replace Windows – vinyl (higher budget)
Upgrade existing windows with ten 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows with insulated, low-E, simulated-divided-light vinyl windows. The interior finish is simulated wood grain and the exterior finish is custom-color. The exterior trim matches the existing trim. Do not disturb existing interior trim. 

Replace Windows – wood (higher budget)
Upgrade existing windows with ten 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows with insulated, low-E, simulated-divided-light wood windows. The interior finish is stained hardwood and the exterior finish of custom-color aluminum cladding. The exterior trim matches the existing trim. Do not disturb existing interior trim. For more information on any of the above mentioned projects, click here.

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