National average cost: $155,365
Return on investment: 71.8 percent
Remodeling Magazine includes a new first-floor family room and a second-floor bedroom with bathroom in this two-story addition, but any addition of square footage will add value, said John Kmiecik, regional vice president for the National Association of Realtors.
Remodeling Magazine’s quoted cost includes updating an existing 5-by-7-foot bathroom and replacing all fixtures, including installing a porcelain-on-steel tub with ceramic tile around it, new shower, standard toilet and new tile floor.
Buyers are definitely impressed by finished basements, Kmiecik said. Remodeling Magazine includes in its cost a 20-by-30-foot entertaining area with wet bar and a bathroom. However, finishing your basement may not necessarily add value in an appraiser’s eyes, as an appraiser typically counts living space above grade only, Kmiecik said.
Wood replacement windows
New windows look sharper, insulate a home better, save on energy and, for buyers, avoid the cost and hassle of doing upgrades. Wood is the preferred trim finish, but other replacement window projects also pay off. A more upscale version costs $16,798 and has an ROI of 74 percent. Vinyl window replacements cost about $9,978 and have an ROI of 78.7 percent, while a more upscale version costs $13,385 and has a 76.6 percent ROI.
6. Minor kitchen remodel
National average cost: $18,856
Return on investment: 82.7 percent
As Remodeling Magazine defines it, a minor kitchen remodel consists of replacing cabinet fronts with raised-panel wood doors and drawers, along with new hardware; replacing wall oven and cooktop with energy-efficient models; replacing laminate countertops; installing a mid-priced sink and faucet; and repainting and replacing flooring.
The kitchen is always a good place to invest money, because it’s the heart of the home, Kmiecik said.
“Whenever I take buyers to look at a home, we spend most of the time standing in the kitchen, sitting at the table, getting a feel for how this kitchen will fit into your lifestyle,” he said. “It definitely adds value. Just be careful not to overdo it.”