Wood deck addition
Cost: $12,812, Resale value: $13,836, Cost recouped: 108%
Minor kitchen remodel
Cost: $22,698, Resale value: $23,494, Cost recouped: $103.5%
Window replacement — wood
Cost: $13,120, Resale value: $13.497, Cost recouped: $102.9%
So how could not do these projects? Wouldn’t you be losing money if you didn’t remodel? Of course, there is no guarantee you will get these costs back when you sell. And with prices falling all around, these 2007 numbers could be off.
And these numbers are for the Los Angeles area, which has a higher payback on remodeling work than other parts of the country. The deck addition, for instance, recoups 85.4% nationally, the minor kitchen remodel reoups 83%, and the window replacement recoups 81.2%.
On the down side, the projects that pay back the least in the L.A. area are a backup power generator (one of my personal favorites) at 63.6%, home office remodel (68.9%) and sunroom addition (69.4%).
But here’s what I think: Why all the obsession with payback anyway? Unless you buy and sell every couple of years, you have to factor in the days, weeks, months and years that you and your family will enjoy an improved house.
One sweet morning in a sunroom: priceless.