Small-scale renovation projects continue to provide the best return for homeowners - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Small-scale renovation projects continue to provide the best return for homeowners

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(ARA) - Even as spring approaches, the residential real estate market continues to be rough on American homeowners more than three years after the start of the nationwide housing crisis. Although sales of existing homes are up slightly from 2010 levels, the median home price is still down throughout most of the country, according to the National Association of Realtors. This means that many homeowners are continuing to sit tight and are looking for ways to make their current houses work for them just a little bit longer, until the real estate market improves.

But even when it comes to home renovations, it is important to be smart about how you spend your money, as the value of many large-scale home improvement projects is also questionable in today's economy. Homeowners who made improvements in 2011 picked up only 58 cents in home equity on their remodeling dollar (on average), according to the Cost versus Value report released by Remodeling Magazine. Compared to figures in 2005, when home improvement projects provided a 76 percent cost return, the current data is hardly a motivator to proceed with that long-dreamed total kitchen renovation.

Less expensive home replacement projects are a much better bet in terms of recouping your costs, garnering about 64 percent back in resale value versus the 57 percent that remodeling projects earn back, on average. Some good ideas for relatively low-budget yet fruitful home improvement projects are adding an attractive front entry door, getting energy-efficient windows, installing new siding or, perhaps the most effective and rewarding option, replacing your garage door.

A new garage door is one of the best ways to improve your home with the confidence of receiving a solid return on your investment (ROI) when it's time to sell. Replacing a garage door offers the second-highest ROI at 83.9 percent, out of 35 midrange improvement projects listed on the 24th annual Cost versus Value report. In some cities, like Charleston, W. Va., Honolulu, Providence, R.I., and San Francisco, the ROI is 100 percent. Even upscale garage doors are a smart investment, offering a 69.8 ROI and ranking fourth among the upscale projects listed in this report. There's no doubt that a new garage door is an affordable replacement option that improves your house's curb appeal while also offering higher energy efficiency, safety and security to both you and future homeowners.

Knowing that every dollar you invest in your house needs to be spent wisely to offer the greatest possible return, it's best to make home improvement decisions that you'll be able to enjoy now and that will improve your resale value down the road. Replacing a garage door is the perfect residential project because it's an attractive and cost-effective way to achieve these goals. But with so many styles and materials available on the market, selecting the right garage door for your house can be a bit overwhelming. If you're not sure where to begin, check out the "How to Buy a Garage Door" guide on amarr.com or at www.YouTube.com/amarrgaragedoors. The guide is a helpful tool to get you started, offering great tips on the benefits of different materials and how to match a door with your home's architecture and character.

In a residential real estate market that's anything but certain, it's comforting to know that there are some home improvement investments that continue to be a sure bet. A new garage door not only offers a solid return at resale, but also beauty and functionality that help you to enjoy your home today.

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