Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Final Tally

Thinking about remodeling, but don’t know which projects will give you the most bang for your buck? Check out the results of the latest “Cost vs. Value” report by Remodeling magazine.

One surprising — but fairly easy —change is to replace the garage door, which on average costs $1,291. According to the report, more than 80 percent of the cost is recouped during a resale. Other renovations and remodels worth their price tag include a steel entry door replacement (102.1 percent cost recouped), a minor kitchen remodel (72.8 percent cost recouped) and replacing wooden windows (72.4 percent cost recouped).

For upscale projects, replacing fibercement siding reaps 80 percent of the initial cost, while replacing vinyl windows recoups just more than 70 percent of the initial cost. Big renovations you might think are worth it, but aren’t: master suite additions (52.7 percent of cost recouped), an additional bathroom (53 percent cost recouped) and a home office remodel (45.8 percent cost recouped).

The data from the past seven years show a downward trend in the overall cost-to-value ratio, which began with eroding home prices and a rise in construction costs, but is now largely due to a drop in resale values.

So what’s the bottom line? The report suggests that in terms of remodeling, it’s most profitable to concentrate on the exterior of the home than the interior.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Holiday Tidy-ings

The holidays are filled with traditions, but there’s one you’d probably rather skip: the holiday cleanup. Consider these tips to make the daunting holiday purge seem as fleeting as the season.

Wondering what to do with all those leftover holiday catalogs? Rip ’em up and use the shredded pages to pack away delicate ornaments and other holiday decorations safely and securely. If the tissue paper from all those gifts is too wrinkled to reuse, line boxes with it to keep your most precious items intact until next year.

Use clear plastic cases to store decorations, while the backsides of old greeting cards make good labels to identify what’s in each box.

And what about storing all those extension cords and strings of lights? Wrap them around a gift wrap or paper towel roll to prevent tangling; bag and label with their corresponding extension cords so you know exactly what light goes where.

Do the same for garlands. Consider you avoid stuffing boxes with unrelated holiday knick-knacks. And last, invest in a tree bag to keep pine needles from spilling onto your living room rug or foyer floor. Before taking the tree out of its stand, remove excess water with a turkey baster to ensure that the floor stays dry.