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Remodeling That Pays


Upgrading your home is always appealing, but which enhancements get you the best return for your money when it’s time to sell? Here are the national averages for 10 of the projects in the 2004 report:


Update an outdated 200-square-foot kitchen with new cabinets, laminate countertops, and standard double-tub stainless-steel sink with standard single-lever faucet. Include energy-efficient wall oven, cooktop, ventilation system, built-in microwave, dishwasher, and garbage disposer. Add custom lighting and new resilient floor. Finish with painted walls, trim, and ceiling. Include 30 linear feet of semi-custom grade wood cabinets, including a 3-by-5-foot island.

           National Average

           Job cost: $42,660

           Value at sale: $33,890

           Cost Recouped: 79.4%



Update a bathroom that’s at least 25 years old. Replace all fixtures to include standard-sized tub with ceramic tile surround, toilet, solid-surface vanity counter with integral double sink, recessed medicine cabinet, ceramic tile floor, and vinyl wallpaper.

           National Average


           Job cost: $9,861

           Value at sale: $8,887

           Cost Recouped: 90.1%



On a house with two or three bedrooms, add a 24-by-16-foot master bedroom suite over a crawlspace. Include walk-in closet/dressing area, whirlpool tub in ceramic tile platform, separate 3-by-4-foot ceramic tile shower, and double-bowl vanity with solid surface countertop. Bedroom floor is carpet; bath floor is ceramic tile. Paint the walls, ceiling, and trim. Add general and spot lighting and exhaust fan.

           National Average

           Job cost: $70,245

           Value at sale: $56,257

           Cost Recouped: 80.1%



Add a 16-by-25-foot room on a crawl space foundation with vinyl siding and fiberglass shingle roof. Include drywall interior with batt insulation, pre-finished hardwood floor, and 180 square feet of glazing, including windows, atrium-style exterior doors, and two operable skylights. Tie into existing heating and cooling.

           National Average

           Job cost: $52,562
           Value at sale: $42,347

           Cost Recouped: 80.6%



Replace 10 existing 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows with vinyl- or aluminum-clad, double-glazed, wood replacement windows. Wrap existing exterior trim as required to match. Don’t disturb existing interior trim.

           National Average

           Job cost: $9,273

           Value at sale: $7,839

           Cost Recouped: 84.5%



Remove existing roofing to bare wood and dispose of properly. Install 30 squares of fiberglass asphalt shingles with new felt underlayment, galvanized drip edge, and mill-finish aluminum flashing.

           National Average

           Job cost: $11,376

           Value at sale: $9,197

           Cost Recouped: 80.8%



In a house with two or three bedrooms, convert unfinished space in attic to a 15-by-15-foot bedroom and a 5-by-7-foot shower bath. Add a 15-foot shed dormer and four new windows. Insulate and finish ceiling and walls; carpet unfinished floor. Extend existing heating and central air conditioning to new space. Retain existing stairs.

           National Average

           Job cost: $35,960

           Value at sale: $29,725

           Cost Recouped: 82.7%


Create a 20-by-30-foot entertaining area with wet bar, a 5-by-8-foot full bath, and a 12-by-12-foot auxiliary room. Exterior walls are insulated. Include five six-panel primed hardboard doors. Main room includes 15 recessed ceiling light fixtures, three surface-mounted light fixtures, and snap-together laminate flooring system. Bathroom includes standard white toilet, vanity with cultured marble top, resilient vinyl flooring, two-piece fiberglass shower unit, a light/fan combination, vanity light fixture, and recessed medicine cabinet. Bar area includes 10 linear feet of raised panel oak cabinets with laminate countertops, stainless steel bar sink, single-lever bar faucet, under-counter refrigerator, and vinyl floor tile.

           National Average

           Job cost: $47,888

           Value at sale: $36,457

           Cost Recouped: 76.1%


Add a 200-square-foot sunroom to a two-story house. Form and pour footings for slab-on-grade foundation. Use exposed post-and-beam framing on interior side and extruded aluminum window frame-and-flashing system with insulated, low-E, laminated, or tempered glazing. Provide for natural ventilation using screens and ceiling fan. Insulate all non-glass areas; provide movable shades for glass area.

           National Average

           Job cost: $31,063

           Value at sale: $22,002

           Cost Recouped: 70.8%



Add 16-by-20-foot deck using pressure-treated SYP joists supported by 4-by-4 posts set into concrete footings. Install composite deck material in a simple linear pattern. Include a built-in bench, a planter of the same decking material, and stairs. Provide a railing system made of the same composite material as the decking or a compatible vinyl system.

           National Average


           Job cost: $6,917

           Value at sale: $6,000

           Cost Recouped: 86.7%


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