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Home Improvement Guide 2007
First things first
Before launching into any home improvement project you should carefully consider your motivations and goals.
First things first
Top 10 remodeling projects for resale

Expecting to plant a "For Sale" sign in the front yard any time soon? Whether the target date for listing your home on the market is a few months or a few years away -- or whether you simply like to make decisions with an eye toward the future -- you may well be wondering how putting some money into the house now will pay off later.

Thanks to research from Remodeling magazine, homeowners can take some of the guesswork out of project decision-making. The publication's "Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report 2006," which offers national averages as well as regional and city breakdowns of 25 common home improvement projects and their effects on resale value, shows that exterior siding replacement, wood window replacement and minor kitchen and bathroom remodels are tops in the national average of job cost recouped.

Here's the lowdown on the top 10 home improvement projects by resale value from this 19th annual report, which is based on e-mail surveys returned from 2,188 members of the National Association of Realtors. In calculating costs, the report authors considered complete cost-to-construct figures (including labor, material, subtrade contractors and gross profit).

Reports for each of the 60 cities surveyed, as well as a complete printed report, are available for purchase and immediate download from Remodeling magazine

Here are the top 10:

Survey Results
Here's the lowdown on the top 10 home improvement projects by resale value.
Top 10 remodeling projects
1.Replace siding -- fiber cement.
2.Replace siding -- vinyl
3.Mid-range window replacement (wood)
4.Minor kitchen remodel
5.Bathroom remodel
6.Upscale window replacement -- vinyl
7.Mid-range window replacement -- vinyl
8.Two-story addition
9.Siding replacement -- foam-backed vinyl
10.Upscale window replacement -- wood

1. Replace siding -- fiber cement.
National averages reveal that 88 percent of a job costing $13,149 can be recouped with this type of project (based on replacing 1,250 square feet of existing siding with new fiber cement siding, factory pre-primed and pre-painted, including trim).

Homeowners in the following 14 cities could expect to recoup 100 percent or more of job cost.

14 cities that can expect to recoup costs:
Birmingham, Ala.New Orleans
Knoxville, Tenn.Albany, N.Y.
New YorkProvidence, R.I.
Los AngelesSacramento, Calif.
San FranciscoSeattle
Jacksonville, Fla.Miami

In the experience of home building and remodeling expert James Carey, who, with his brother Morris, has a weekly radio program and newspaper column called "On the House," people like this type of siding because it's the best and most up-to-date. "Fiber cement siding lasts forever and so does the paint that goes on to it," he says.

-- Posted: April 4, 2007
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