Kitchen renovations continue to hold the most appeal in remodeling report
Upgrading a home's kitchen has been a popular home improvement project in recent years, and continued to hold the most appeal among homeowners in a recent remodeling report by the National Association of Realtors. But while the Realtors polled in the survey said this work likely added the most value to the home for resale, it also had a lower return on investment compared to several other projects.
In the 2019 Remodeling Impact Report, 78 percent of homeowners who completed a kitchen upgrade said they felt a major sense of accomplishment after completing the project while 74 percent had an increased sense of enjoyment in their home. A complete kitchen renovation brought even more satisfaction, with 87 percent reporting a sense of accomplishment and 95 percent saying they enjoyed their home more.
"The kitchen is a space homeowners frequent regularly throughout the course of the day. So when that area is remodeled to the owners' exact preferences—as they enter and exit the room—they continually experience the satisfaction of a job well done," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.
The report compared the costs of projects from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and Realtor estimates on how much of this expense was recouped through added home value. On average, Realtors estimated that a complete kitchen renovation added $40,000 in value (59 percent of the NARI cost estimate of $68,000) while a kitchen upgrade recouped $20,000—or 52 percent—of the typical cost of the work.
Forty percent of Realtors polled in the survey said they had suggested that sellers complete a kitchen upgrade before trying to sell their home, and 20 percent said this work helped close a sale. Twelve percent suggested a complete kitchen renovation, and 10 percent said the project helped close a sale.
"Kitchens serve as the 'heart of the home' for many, and whether you like to entertain or cook, updating a kitchen ensures greater access and use as homeowners age, especially when the upgrades take accessibility into account," said Robert Kirsic, president of the board at NARI. "No matter the size of the kitchen, a certified professional can guide the design and build process in a way that will yield joy and happiness for the homeowner."
Bathroom work also yielded a strong sense of accomplishment, with 85 percent of homeowners reporting this after adding a new bathroom and 80 percent reporting it after renovating an existing bathroom. However, just 58 percent said a bathroom renovation had increased their enjoyment of the home, while 62 percent said the same for the addition of a new bathroom. The typical bathroom addition recouped half of its $60,000 cost, while a bathroom renovation recovered 57 percent of its $35,000 expense on average.
While one-third of Realtors said they had recommended that sellers renovate a bathroom before selling, just 4 percent said the work helped close a sale. Five percent recommended the addition of a new bathroom, and only 1 percent said it had helped close a sale.
Homeowners reported greater satisfaction from floor upgrades. Seventy-eight percent said they felt a major sense of accomplishment when installing new wood floors or refinishing hardwood floors. Sixty-seven percent said new wood floors improved their enjoyment of their home, while 65 percent said refinishing the hardwood floors did so.
These projects also had a good return on investment. Realtors estimated that new wood flooring typically added $5,000 in value, exceeding NARI's $4,700 cost estimate by 6 percent. They also said refinishing the hardwood floor completely recouped the average $2,600 cost due to added value.
Twenty-seven percent of Realtors said they had recommended refinishing hardwood floors prior to a sale, while 16 percent had recommended new wood flooring. Five percent said either project helped to close a sale.
Realtors considered new roofing to be the most effective home improvement project overall. They estimated that the work resulted in an $8,000 boost in value – 7 percent above the NARI cost estimate. Thirty-nine percent of Realtors said they recommended that sellers complete this work before trying to sell their home, and one-third said a new roof had helped to close a sale.
Three-quarters of homeowners said they felt a major sense of accomplishment when a new roof was installed. However, just 49 percent said it improved their enjoyment of the home.
A new door was the exterior project most likely to improve a homeowner's enjoyment of their home. Sixty-seven percent said they enjoyed their home more after a new steel or fiberglass door was put in. Realtors estimated that the installation of a new door recouped about three-quarters of its installation cost.
Realtors were more likely to recommend a new garage door, with 16 percent saying that had advised homeowners to complete this work before selling; however, only 2 percent said this project helped to close a sale. The $2,000 boost in value recovered an estimated 95 percent of the project's costs.
Eighty percent of homeowners said they felt a major sense of accomplishment after putting in new vinyl windows, while 63 percent said it improved their sense of enjoyment in the home. Realtors estimated that new vinyl windows recouped about 71 percent of their typical $22,500 cost. Twelve percent had recommended that homeowners complete this work before selling, though only 4 percent said it had helped close a sale.
The report looked at 20 projects in total. Overall, 77 percent of homeowners said they felt a major sense of accomplishment after completing a home improvement project, while 74 percent reported a greater desire to be in their home. Sixty-five percent said a renovation improved their enjoyment of the home, 58 percent reported a feeling of happiness after completing a project, and 38 percent said they felt satisfied after doing so.
"Realtors and homeowners alike recognize the value of taking on a major home remodeling project," said John Smaby, president of the National Association of Realtors. "While these tasks can be time-consuming and costly, the projects are well worth the temporary inconveniences, as this report shows, and the final products ultimately reward us, with feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction, and higher home values."
The report is based on 2,193 online responses from visitors to the homeownership site HouseLogic about the last home improvement project they undertook. It also incorporated 2,485 responses from Realtors and 378 responses from NARI members.
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