Are you thinking about remodeling your drab kitchen? � Be warned: Remodeling projects will not always fill your pockets with cash when your home sells. In fact, you might not recoup the entire cost of the project. � Experts warn against dumping thousands of dollars into a renovation before researching the project.
"Know what other homes in your neighborhood are selling for," said Michelle Jennings Wiebe, founder and president of Studio M Interior Design in Tampa. "You want your home to be in a similar range. If you spend $100,000 on a kitchen remodel, and other similar comparable homes have $20,000 kitchens, then you will not recoup your investment. "
While the Great Recession forced many homeowners to delay selling their homes, kitchen remodels jumped 36 percent in the third quarter of 2011, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association.
The biggest issues that homeowners face with renovations are the problems that arise during demolition. Budgets should include money for unexpected expenses.
"I would recommend adding at least a 20 percent contingency to any budget," Wiebe said.
She offered these recommendations when tackling renovations:
� Hire a highly recommended general contractor with at least three references with past jobs comparable to your remodel job.
� If you are doing the work yourself, make sure you know what you are doing. It's common for homeowners to hire designers and contractors after attempting a renovation.
� For homes in a designated historical area, spend the extra money to keep historical elements, such as windows, doors, casings and any other unique architectural details. Take the time to research what was appropriate for the time era of your home.
The Internet is filled with remodeling guides where homeowners can estimate the cost of their renovation.
The Realtor Magazine and the National Association of Realtor's Houselogic.com determined that optimizing space in houses will draw buyers but also give homeowners the most bang for their buck.
The "2011-2012 Cost vs. Value Report" analyzed the estimated costs and expected resale return on 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects in 80 markets. Although kitchen and baths projects are some of the most popular projects, they didn't bring the highest returns for homeowners.
A $13,461 siding replacement recouped $10,493 — the highest return with 78 percent — during a sale. Replacing an entry door brought the second highest return, 73 percent, the report said.
Experts say features such as lighting, additional storage, wood floors and spruced-up doorways won't be outdated in a few years.
Mark Puente can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.