Allen Norwood

Lower costs = higher returns on remodeling projects

If you’ve been thinking about dressing up your house with a new steel entry door, then put down what you’re doing and go choose one.

In the Charlotte market, it’s the only project on Remodeling magazine’s latest Cost vs. Value report that returns more than it costs. And it returns way more, according to the 2015 survey released this week: a whopping 149 percent.

The steel front door has topped the list every year it has been included in the survey, but last year in Charlotte it returned only about 85 percent.

This year, it returns twice as much as the two projects that ranked next highest.

“The simpler and lower-cost the project, the bigger its cost-value ratio,” Craig Webb, editor in chief of Remodeling, said in a release. “Three of the four projects that cost less than $5,000 are ranked in the top five for cost recouped, and the other two are in the $5,000-$25,000 price range.”

In Charlotte, according to the survey, that steel entry door costs $1,169 and returns $1,750.

The magazine each year surveys Realtors across the country about the costs of projects and the expected return when remodeled homes are sold. This year’s list includes 36 projects. A stone veneer accent, a new category, was added – and, by the way, returns a respectable 74 percent.

Projects are grouped into two categories, mid-range and upscale, and the results are tallied to provide national, regional and metro returns. The survey covered 10 new cities this year – including Chapel Hill.

The figures are estimates, of course. Highlights include:

In Charlotte, a mid-range major kitchen remodel would cost $53,884 and return 56.6 percent. That includes updating a 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of semi-custom wood cabinets and a 3-by-5-foot island, laminate countertops, standard double-tub stainless-steel sink, wall oven and cooktop, built-in microwave, dishwasher and garbage disposal, and new resilient flooring.

An upscale major kitchen project here would return 53.3 percent of $108,035.

Bathrooms are popular remodeling projects, too. A mid-range bathroom remodel in Charlotte, according to the survey, costs $15,207 and returns 55.2 percent. An upscale bathroom project costs $50,981 and returns 50.1 percent.

Ranking lowest among mid-range projects were sun rooms and home offices, like last year. Lowest among upscale projects was a bathroom addition.

Here’s an interesting comparison in the 2015 study: Among mid-range projects, a wood deck returns 65.8 percent, while a composite deck – which costs more – returns 54.4 percent.

To view the report and learn more: