Maybe you’re a West Coast resident who just bought a new home or maybe you’re trying to sell one. Either way, you want to know that you’ll be able to get the money you put into remodeling projects back out and that you’re choosing the right upgrades to fit your particular home’s needs.
Cost Vs. Value
Return on investment is a useful gauge for determining project popularity because when more buyers are interested in a home feature, the home’s price goes up. When few people are interested, the price goes down.
According to "Remodeling" magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value report, the home improvement project that provides West Coast homeowners with the greatest ROI is replacing their entry door with a steel replacement. At an average cost of $1,366, that project is definitely on the low end in terms of expenses, but returns 123% of the investment—making it a no brainer for those looking to add style, value and security to their home.
Replacing a garage door, adding manufactured stone veneer, minor kitchen remodeling and adding or expanding a wooden deck are all projects that will add value to a home. The rest of the top ten projects in terms of ROI include wooden window replacement, basement remodeling, adding an attic bedroom, adding a fiberglass replacement entry door and vinyl window replacement. These five projects will all earn back over 90% of their cost.
One good piece of news is that for the last two years in a row, the West Coast beats the national average for ROI on every project on the “Remodeling” list. So if you see news about a particular project having a poor ROI, make sure you go deeper than the national numbers to see the figures in your area.
Both in stereotype and in practice, West Coast residents and state governments tend to put a high premium on energy efficiency and ecological friendliness. Some homeowners upgrade home efficiency for environmental considerations alone, but high energy costs compared to elsewhere in the nation add value to energy-efficient homes, too. There is a lot you can do with home automation to help make your home more efficient. Consider security options that offer energy management with a thermostat you can control from any web-enabled device. Those providers also allow you to turn off the thermostat during peak usage hours to conserve energy. Anyone considering a remodeling project should be aware of the Energy Star program, which offers rebates towards the purchase of efficient appliances and building supplies.
In addition to the Federal Energy Star program, there are state and even public utility incentive programs as well. California offers rebates and incentives through its Home Energy Efficiency Rebate (HEER) program, and Oregon offers its own tax credits. A little research during the planning phase could make your remodeling project more affordable and your home more valuable and comfortable.
Of course, some efficiency upgrades can also make your home more pleasing to the eye. Porch.com specialist Mady Dahlstrom notes that new kitchen appliances can do both, as can windows that can help reduce energy costs and let in more light.
Home Age & Style As Considerations
What upgrade does your home actually need the most? The answer to that question depends largely on when your home was built. For example, older homes tend to be less efficient, so focusing on energy usage may be a wiser use of funds than a purely aesthetic remodel. In fact, many older homes rely on a period-appropriate design for their visual charm—why mess with a good thing?
Newer homes might already be efficient enough for you or potential buyers, but unless they’re brand new, they may be the best candidates for some appearance upgrades. Because styles change often, adding something as simple as a new kitchen counter and/or cabinets can make a big difference in how modern the home feels.
Remember Your Audience
Are you remodeling your home to suit your personality or that of unknown potential buyers? If you’re going to be staying in your home for a long time, it’s okay to think about some of the upgrades that don’t provide as much ROI, as long as they suit your needs. For example, “Remodeling” lists home office remodels and sunroom additions as the two worst projects for ROI. However, if that’s what you think your home needs, and their utility/enjoyment outweighs any immediate resale value, go for it. But when you’re building for resale, popularity should take precedence over personality.
All of us are entitled to a custom home fitted to our needs. However, if you ever plan on selling your home on the West Coast, it’s always a good idea to keep ROI and hot trends in mind.