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Home Remodeling: What You Get Back In Columbus

As styles and living circumstances change, homeowners have a key question: should we move or remodel?

  Remodeling — Setting a limit

With the Columbus housing market still tight, many in Central Ohio may opt for remodeling. Then the question becomes: how much should we spend? We take a look at which projects get the most return for the money in Columbus.

“It’s exactly what I want,” Mimi Luecke said, as she surveyed her bathroom. “As soon as we get a paint color picked out, we’ll be in business.”

Mimi Luecke, and her husband, Bruce, recently wrapped up remodeling their master bath. They doubled the size of the shower and moved the toilet into a water closet.

“And we lost, happily lost, a giant whirlpool tub that took up about a third of the real estate in the room before,” she said.

Getting your investment back?

If the Lueckes ever decide to sell, it’s doubtful they’ll get back all the money they put into the bath remodel. They may recoup about 60 percent, according to figures from this year’s Cost vs. Value Report put out by the National Association of Realtors and Remodeling Magazine.

In fact, most homeowners never recover all the money they spend on home improvements.

According to the report, the only renovations that come close to completely paying for themselves in the Columbus area are vinyl window replacements and a steel front door.

Remodeling an attic bedroom could bring back 88 percent. But most other remodeling projects generate between 50 and 70 percent returns.

The National Association of Realtors immediate past president Steve Brown said that’s OK. Brown said homeowners shouldn’t focus too much on trying to recover their costs, particularly on higher end items like granite.

“Maybe you’re not going to realize the exact dollar value for the upscale improvement,” Brown said. “But you are going to sell the house faster because it’s going to appeal to the market.”

Marketability is invaluable

“That in itself can mean literally of thousands of dollars. A difference between having your home on the market for one month or having your home on the market for six months and the expense to carry that home for a six month period of time compared to selling it in the first 30 days,” he said. “That’s what a good remodeling [will do]; that’s your best rate of return on investment.”

Brown recommends homeowners remodel sooner in their homeownership, rather than later.

“If you do the remodeling the kitchen right up front, and put in granite countertops and new cabinetry and new appliances, you’re going to get the use and value of those while you live there.”

Twenty-year designer Shannon Weigand, with Eagle Specialty Remodeling recommends, “Do it the way you want.”

“If you’re not going to be selling in the next year or two…don’t look to do it the way you think the next homeowner is because they’re going to come in and tailor it the way they want it.”

Remodeling over the years

Bruce Luecke said that’s what he and Mimi had in mind as they remodeled their home – the kitchen, other bathrooms, baseboards – over the years.

“I wouldn’t say we didn’t not give a lot of thought to what we’d get back, but that wasn’t the main emphasis for us,” he said.

Bruce Luecke said it was about, “More space, we wanted to keep the house up to modern standards. We always have an eye on the future, I think, with selling it. But probably more than anything else…it’s been really more for us.”

In Columbus, homeowners will spend about $17,000 to remodel a bathroom. And that entry door that’s expected to pay for itself? It will cost about $1,200.

This information comes from the cost vs. value report compiled by the National Association of Realtors and Remodeling Magazine.