February, in many parts of the country, is that month when spring fever starts to set in. The phenomenon is no old wive’s tale, either, Sanford Auerbach, M.D., director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Boston University, told Web MD. That itch to spend time outdoors and the increase in energy can all be chalked up to very real chemical and hormonal changes that take place within us when the sun makes its reappearance.
If 2017 is the year you plan on selling your home, take that energy and channel it into transforming its exterior into your neighborhood’s cash cow. We’ll help you do just that, with some suggestions from Remodeling Magazine’s 2017 Cost vs. Value report.
Cost vs. Value
Would you be surprised to learn that although bathroom and kitchen renovations offer the best return on your interior remodeling dollars, several exterior projects bring similar returns, yet cost less?
For instance, replacing the garage door will run you about $1,700 (nationwide average), according to Remodeling’s report. The return on investment when you sell your home, however, is almost 77 percent. A kitchen upgrade, on the other hand, costs far more and the ROI is about 65 percent.
Now, if your kitchen is in such poor condition that buyers will be repelled, by all means, make its updating a priority. But, all else being equal, you’ll spend less and get higher returns with several exterior projects.
Ah, alfresco dining
Spring and summer usher in the seasons of dining and cocktailing outdoors on patios and decks. A home for sale in either season, therefore, is far more attractive when the stage is set for enjoying the outdoors.
If the home lacks a deck, consider adding one. The cost of a composite deck, according to Remodeling Magazine’s study, varies, but the nationwide average is $17,000, with a ROI of just a tad more than 65 percent. But, you can save money and get a higher return by installing a wood deck. At an average cost of $10,707, the ROI is 71.5 percent.
Homebuyers find decks appealing for a number of reasons. The additional “point of egress from the home to the yard” tends to add value, according to DB Design Builders in Maryland. Mostly, however, decks are ideal entertaining spaces, which have been in high demand over the past decade.
Curb appeal projects
It’s a well-known fact that if the exterior of your home doesn’t beckon, buyers won’t bother viewing the interior. So, put that spring fever energy boost to good use by amping up the appeal of your home’s exterior.
Consider replacing the siding. Not only will the project give buyers peace-of-mind, but the improvement to the home’s curb appeal is immeasurable. Nationwide, new siding runs around $14,500. At close of escrow, however, you stand to recoup about 76 percent of your investment.
The exterior improvement with the highest return on investment is replacing the front door with one made of steel. The cost is about $1,400 and the ROI is nearly 91 percent.
For the budget minded
Ok, so you don’t have $10,000 to blow on a new deck; there are exterior home improvement projects you can perform that not only cost less, but offer a healthy return on investment. Not mentioned in Remodeling’s study is the value of landscaping.
There are many studies of everything from how much value a single tree can add to your home (see the National Arbor Day Foundation’s National Tree Benefit Calculator), to the ROI of a complete landscape makeover. Merely “good” landscaping may add up to 28 percent to the overall value of your home, John Harris, landscape economist tells houselogic.com. Transform it to “excellent,” condition, however, and you’re looking at an additional 6 to 7 percent on top of that.
Since the landscaping offers your home’s first impression, it only makes sense that making it more appealing to potential buyers should be job one.
Remodeling Magazine’s report is broken down into mid-range and high-range projects, so your mileage on the aforementioned numbers may vary. The addition of a composite deck on a high-end home, for instance, may be a waste of money. With a cost of nearly $40,000, you will see a paltry 56.4 percent return on the money invested.
While decks are popular home features, backyard patios may be a waste of your money. The mid-range cost, nationwide, for a 20×20 flagstone patio is $51,985 and the ROI is less than 55 percent.
As the season changes and the serotonin and melatonin wane, release that pent-up energy on the exterior of your home. You won’t regret it when it comes time to sell.