real estate

5 handy ways to save on home rehab

When's payback time?
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When's payback time?

With rehab projects, resale value is on everyone's mind. But the reality is that the payback on renovations has fallen along with home prices, according to a study by Remodeling Magazine. The study found the average return on an upgrade declined from 87 percent in 2005 to 64 percent in 2009. The study also found that midrange upgrades now bring a better return, percentage-wise, than upscale renovations.

That means be cautious about where you sink money into renovations like a new kitchen, says Duncan. He suggests clients get the single top-grade appliance they really want rather than replacing everything. Most go for super-cool refrigerators. "I have been calling this trend 'personalized upgrades,'" Duncan says. "It's kind of the opposite of keeping up with the Joneses."

And you can't knock the value of a good door. According to Remodeling, a door of around $1,200 brought the greatest return -- an impressive 128.9 percent.




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