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Curb Appeal is King!

We recently mailed out the 2009-2010 Cost vs Value report and thought we would share the info online as well.  The Cost vs Value report is produced by Remodeling Magazine together with the National Association of Realtors.  We find it to be a valuable resource each year to keep an eye on trends and expectations regarding home improvement projects.

This year we’ve seen some changes, and some continuation of trends, in the area of return on investment (ROI) for home improvement projects.  In reading through the content of this years report we find a downward trend in ROI for most home improvement projects but there is hope.  With the stabilization of the economy and eventual recovery we expect to see a stabilization and improvement in ROI as well.  Analysts speculate that the consumer may choose more modest projects based on more modest budgets and that is reflected in the percentages of return on smaller projects being higher than on large scale projects.

Curb Appeal is King according to this years report.  7 of the 10 projects with the best return things that improve the curb appeal of a home.  Partially because curb appeal is good for attracting buyers but also because those projects tend to be less expensive.

We asked one of our favorite general contractors, Gary Gutierrez with ACS Seattle, what he thinks about the report.  This is what he has observed over the course of the recession and how he has managed to stay competitive without cutting corners:

“Certainly the higher end remodels are down and pricing is fiercely competitive.  In my little world I have reduced my window replacement prices by 20% to get competitive and win more window replacement jobs.  This is the easiest for me to gauge as it only involves one trade and costs are simple to compute.  My cost for the windows have not gone down and have increased about 5% as stated in the Cost vs Value report.  I know lumber and basic other building materials have come down some but materials are typically only about 20-25% of the cost of a remodel job.  I have always been the project manager and have typically had a lead carpenter rather than supervisor concept which eliminates waste in my labor expense.  This is mainly how I have been able to make it.  Everyone who works for me is actually producing, not just supervising.”

If you’d like to read more about what projects give the most bang for the buck and some other tips on how to be efficient when making improvements to your home check out the entire report.

If you are contemplating a project or weighing the idea of moving against a remodel let us know.  We can help you make informed decisions and we always enjoy hearing  what you are working on.
Warm Regards,

Windermere Real Estate