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.”
Garage doors are one of the most prominent features on the front of the home, but they are so often overlooked — they get dirty, they get bent, they squeak, and sometimes fall off the tracks, said Realtor Clay Stapp, owner of the Clay Stapp and Co. brokerage.
“A garage door can be replaced and repainted for $1,500, but, for those who want their house to stand out from the neighbors, glass garage doors can be installed for around $5,000 and I think they are worth every penny,” Stapp said. “The glass is typically translucent and the doors look great day and night but especially when they are back-lit — the house feels almost alive as it glows. I am representing a builder who’s most most distinguishing trademark on each house he builds is the glass garage doors. So far, every one has sold for full price. Maybe it’s the Realtor or maybe it’s the garage doors!”
The 2015 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors and National Association of the Remodeling Industry says 61 percent of homeowners have a major sense of accomplishment when they think of the project. They give garage door replacements a 9.5 out of 10 “joy score” for homeowners. So apparently, that rolling piece of metal or wood is pretty important.
“I think it depends on the situation — if you have a buyer who has purchased a very low-end property to renovate and sell, then a new garage door wouldn’t make sense if the old garage door is usable and can have a coat of paint put on it,” said Peggy Walker, an Ebby Halliday Realtor. “However, on higher-end properties, it makes excellent sense. It’s one of the first things a potential buyer sees and an old, shabby garage door can give the perception of deferred maintenance — and in a renovation property, it can make the potential buyer wonder if the renovator is taking shortcuts. It’s all about perception.”
So what’s the bottom line on a new garage door? Every homeowner should make sure it’s squeak- and ding-free at the least. For mid-range and luxury houses, a replacement brings happiness, and if the home is going on the market, makes total financial sense, and may help a home sell faster.