Remodeling Your House Adds Value to Your House

In the last couple of years there have been a lot of requests for additions,” says general contractor Don Sever, who’s based in the red-hot northern Virginia market. “Everything from adding a sunroom to doubling the size of the house.” Much of the demand is driven by homeowners who want more space, but then realize they can not afford larger homes in their own neighborhood. Sever met with clients last year who wanted to fix up their house to put it on the market. After looking for homes to buy, “they decided that instead of spending money to get it ready to sell, they would add features to make the house more livable and stay put.”

The recent high-priced real estate market and tight lending practices have led to more homeowners staying at their current house and remodeling, rather than moving to a neighborhood that they do not like or are not familiar with.

Even if you do not plan to move, keeping your home’s resale value in mind is important. If your addition significantly adds to the square footage of your home or includes several new rooms (bedrooms and bathrooms), your investment may pay off considerably.

Every 1,000 square feet added to a home boosts the sale price by more than 30 percent, according to the 2005 study for the National Association of Realtors.

Bathroom additions return the most, according to Remodeling magazine’s report — an average of 86.4 percent. The addition of attic bedrooms, family rooms and sunrooms returned anywhere from 70 to more than 80 percent of the money spent — and that does not factor in the value of your own enjoyment of all that new space.

And more and more people want dedicated rooms for hobbies and crafts, whether it is an exercise room, knitting room, or home office; you can create the extra space by doing a remodeling project.

One caveat: Do not add on so much that you price your house right out of the neighborhood. You do not want to be the leading value for the neighborhood; although, you can be at the upper end.

Basements are a place for kids to play on cold or rainy days, parents to set up a work shop, do laundry, or in fancier versions construct a man cave.

For years basements were ignored—considered too dark and musty, and unlikely to provide a smart return on investment.

As housing sales stalled in more recent years and many homeowners stayed put rather than moving; they recognized that their lower levels could become potential living space, if improved, and for less than adding on to their first floor. They already owned the space, paid taxes, had a roof, walls, ceiling, foundation, and sewer hookups in place. All they had to do is spend some time and money and finish the basement and add more living space.

In fact, many architects and contractors put the cost savings of redoing a basement versus an addition at one-third to one-half less, depending on the project scope, area of the country, and professionals hired, says architect Duo Dickinson, author of Staying Put. Moreover, the payback could be good, and not making the change might be a deal-breaker, says Charles Barenbrugge, senior broker associate with Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty.

The last annual “Cost vs. Value” Report from Remodeling magazine put the average basement remodel at $61,303 with a 70.3 percent payback, which made it among the smartest projects along with an attic bedroom, minor kitchen Remodeling, deck, and new entry door