home improvements

Thanks to Capital One for sponsoring this post.

When it comes to home improvement projects, my favorites are the ones that add true bottom line value to a home.

After all, your house is probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make. As a real estate blogger and journalist, I want to see homeowners increase the value of their property in big ways and in every way possible. That’s true whether they’re planning to sell and looking to increase their asking price, or simply wanting to enjoy their home more while they’re in it.

Some of the smartest home improvements I’ve seen over the years are big and sexy (think glorious new master suite with an extraordinary, spa-like bathroom retreat), but some are more “behind the scenes” and add value to the house in less obvious ways.

I’d love to tell you all about them…

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garage doors

Steel carriage garage door. Photo: NTX Garage Doors

This is the second installment of a new occasional column called Getting Real About Renovations. We’re looking at renovation realities for all sorts of projects, from hardwood floors and open floorplans, to master suite additions and kitchen upgrades. We’ll give you the unadulterated truth about options, costs, effort, Realtor opinion, and estimated ROI for these projects. You can read the last one about hardwood floors here.

Generally speaking, homeowners remodel to upgrade worn-out surfaces, finishes, and materials; to add features and improve livability; because it is time for a change; and because they’re selling.

Garage door replacements may not sound like a big deal, but in fact, they are one of the easiest ways to quickly boost a home’s curb appeal if the garage faces the street (a front-facing garage door can be almost 20 percent of your home’s front facade). They are also ranked among the top five most profitable projects nationwide, and in Dallas, according to the 2016 Cost vs. Value Report by the National Association of Realtors and Remodeling magazine.

Midrange garage door replacements recoup 100.7 percent ($1,544) of the total project cost in Dallas. Upscale garage door replacements are quickly gaining, too — in 2015, they increased 19 percentage points year-over-year to recoup 82.2 percent ($2,550) of the total project cost.

“I think we often forget to consider that a garage door is not only a functional feature but can be a design feature as well,” said Robin Moss Norcross with Nathan Grace Real Estate. “A garage door update, especially if front facing, can certainly continue the exterior design scheme.”

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Remodeling Impact Report

The new Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors looks at renovation “joy scores,” as well as reasons for doing remodeling jobs and which ones Realtors say get the biggest ROI. Photo: Ebby Halliday Realtors

Americans are crazy about renovations. Entire entertainment mediums are dedicated to our love of home improvement, like DIY Network and HGTV Magazine.

In the first ten months of October 2015 alone, Americans spent $326.1 billion on remodeling their homes. The big goals were to upgrade worn-out surfaces, finishes, and materials; add features and improve livability; and just because it was time for a change.

That’s according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors, the 2015 Remodeling Impact Report. It examined reasons homeowners tackle renovations, as well calculating a “joy score” from each project. The report also details Realtors’ opinions of home renos, how they add value to a property, and what projects are most likely to attract a buyer.

This report is the first of its kind from NAR, surveying Realtors, consumers, and members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

“Realtors know that certain home upgrades and remodels can be beneficial to get more buyer eyes on a property, potentially bring in more offers or gain more equity from a home,” said NAR President Tom Salomone. “But remodeling projects are just as valuable to homeowners who simply want to get more joy out of their dwellings. Regardless of the situation, Realtors know what remodeling projects bring the biggest bang for the buck and what projects are most likely to improve a homeowner’s impression of their current place.”

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