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Home Improvement | What Offers Most Bang for Your Buck?

Posted at 10/27/2017 12:05 PM by Pat O'Connor

Think pink when it comes to your next home improvement.

And we are not talking about color palette.

Contrary to popular opinion, home improvements are not always about kitchens, new master suites and bathroom remodels. Sometimes the most cost effective and best return for your money improvements are hidden away and about as glamorous as Main Street at 3 a.m.

According the 2017 Remodeling Magazine, one of the the best home improvements you can make and get the most return for your money is fiberglass attic insulation. Yes, those rolls of salmon-colored batting that keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Not exactly the object you want to show off you your next house guests but you’ll love the energy savings as well as the return when you sell your home.

In 2017, attic insulation ranks in the top 5 in cost recouped in Denver. For a mid-range project, cost for insulation at $1,354 will resell for $1,088, a cost recoup of 80.4%, according to Remodeling. Their description of the job was “air sealing a 35x30 attic floor to stop leakage and apply fiberglass loose fill insulation, placing it on top of existing insulation (if present) and reaching R-30 value.”

Not only was this upgrade a top performer in Denver, nationwide this is one of the best price performers in home upgrades. Insulation provides over a 100% return across the country and is the least expensive to install.

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But in in the end, flash still does have appeal and pays off in the long run. Topping the list of most cost effective improvements in Denver is a minor kitchen remodel. Remodeling defines a minor remodel as “refacing (not replacing) cabinets and adding new hardware, replacing appliances with energy efficient models, eliminating laminate countertops with modern surfaces, adding a new sink and updating flooring.” Although addressing the kitchen lighting falls in the “major” kitchen remodel, it’s pointless to add the above items if you can’t can’t see and use them effectively! Proper lighting is often overlooked and can add enormous appeal to any room.

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Coming in at #2 may surprise you -- adding a manufactured stone veneer to the outside of your home. In Denver, there is an 87.8% return for your money on this upgrade. By removing a 300 square foot section of siding from the bottom third of the street facing facade and replacing it with stone veneer will cost around $7,800 and have a resale value of $6,475.

Rounding out the top 5 of best home improvements are a wood deck addition (cost of $10,869 for 16x20 foot addition) and a two-story addition that would include a bedroom, bathroom and family room, and new HVAC system and electrical to accommodate the additional space ($174,953).

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Deck additions are especially popular in Denver due to the abundant sunshine and how much residents enjoy their time outside. Many original homes have small decks, and expanding or reconfiguring them to take advantage of views or enable outdoor entertaining is a no-brainer. Whether you’re considering pressure treated wood, redwood, tropical exotic or composites for your deck, make sure you consider the maintenance involved and how the material will stand up to the Colorado climate.

Finally, there is a reason people add on or top the roof on their homes. Although it’s a pricey and mind-numbing operation (I lived through one), the benefits are enormous. Remodeling indicates the addition of a family room, bedroom and bathroom (average cost $174,953) will have a resale value of $134,188, a recoup of 76.7%, fourth on the list of best improvements.

Posted by Pat O'Connor

Pat O’Connor has dual citizenship in both Wisconsin and Colorado, having been born and raised in Wisconsin Dells, but later adopted by the Centennial State. A graduate of the University of Colorado (B.S. Journalism, 1980), O’Connor began her career as a sportswriter at the Boulder Daily Camera under the tutelage of the venerable Dan Creedon. Her experience also includes stints in public relations at Aspen Highlands Ski Area, the Colorado Trial Lawyers and the Colorado Division of Wildlife. When she isn’t piecing together sentences, the self-proclaimed “Cheesehead” enjoys hanging out with her three kids and assortment of family pets, running, playing golf, hiking 14ers, horseback riding and skiing. As a mother to two (at one time three) competitive swimmers, her favorite fragrance is eau de chlorine. During football season, she can be found cheering for the Buffs on Saturdays and screaming when the Packers score on Sundays. She loves talking sports and giving recommendations on cheese curds.

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Topics: Home Improvement