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Cost vs. value: Make the first impression count

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Posted: Friday, May 3, 2013 6:40 am

Updating the outside of a home pays off, according to this year’s Cost vs. Value Report according to Remodeling magazine and the National Association of Realtors.

Real estate professionals ranked exterior improvement projects as winning the buyers’ eye and providing sellers with the most return on investment.

If you are wondering what home improvement projects will give the best return on the sale of your home, think “curb appeal.”

When buyers are shopping for a home, the exterior can make (or break) the first impression. According to the 2013 Cost vs. Value Report, exterior replacement projects are among the most valuable home improvements that sellers can currently invest in, starting with the front door.

A steel entry door topped this year’s survey with an estimated 85.6 percent of the costs recouped at resale.

The steel door replacement is also the least expensive of the 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects included in the survey, costing $1,137 on average.

This is the 15th year that Remodeling magazine — in cooperation with Realtor Magazine — has released the Cost vs. Value Report. This year’s survey included more than 3,900 appraisers, sales agents, and brokers across the country who provided their opinions and estimates.

Exterior projects dominated the list with six of the top 10 most cost-effective midrange projects and eight of the top 10 upscale projects.

Ending a six-year cost-value ratio decline, this year’s Cost vs. Value Report is good news for remodeling industry with a rise in the ratio by three percentage points to 60.6 percent.

According to the report, lower construction costs and stabilizing house prices were the principal factors for the upturn.

While every region improved over last year’s survey. The Pacific region — Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington — had the highest average cost-to-value ratio overall at 71.2 percent, despite having the highest construction costs in the country.

Sheri Aguilar is the president of the Lodi Association of Realtors and can be reached at Sheri@YourLocalAOR.com

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