Top five exterior remodeling projects

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A new roof will not only protect your home for decades, but will provide a 109 percent return on investment when it’s time to sell.

■ Matt McPherson / Columnist

The recent boom in real estate is causing many homeowners to remodel rather than move. Many exterior projects can add significant value to the home, which allows the homeowners to refinance the boost in equity. Here are five of the most common exterior renovation projects and how appealing they are to home buyers when it’s time to sell.

1. New roofing can make a home shine when viewed from the street. A new composite or concrete tile roof tells the new buyer the home has been well maintained and upgraded. In addition, a new roof gives a certain peace of mind that it will be protected from the elements for decades to come. New roofing has the greatest cost-to-value ratio of all the exterior projects. For example a cost estimate of $7,500 for a new roof will result in 109 percent value recovered during refinance or resale.

2. Fiber-cement siding is a new building material used in exterior covers for both commercial and residential applications. Fiber cement is a composite material made of cellulose fibers, sand and cement. It comes in many different styles and can come stained or pre-painted. This new type of siding has multiple benefits because it is resistant to termites, it’s fireproof and impact proof, and it doesn’t rot. A typical cost estimate would run around $18,000 which will result in about an 83 percent value recovery once refinanced or resold.

3. New garage doors create a tremendous increase in curb appeal and seem to be the most cost-effective exterior investment. The garage door industry has made huge technological advances in the past three decades, evolving from heavy wood doors with springs to light, energy-efficient aluminum doors available in hundreds of styles and colors. An average cost estimate for a new garage door calculates to a $2,300 investment with an 87 percent value recovery.

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Replacing energy inefficient windows with double or triple pane windows can save energy, and has about a 79 percent return on investment at selling time.

4. New vinyl windows have become extremely popular in green states like California that still offer tax incentives and lending programs geared toward energy efficient housing. Dual and triple pane windows have become the norm in new construction and are proven to significantly reduce energy costs. Lenders love anything that reduces monthly expenses, because that helps ensure payment on the mortgage. Programs that offer tax incentives such as HERO are still available, but not as popular as they were a couple years ago. A cost estimate on all new vinyl windows comes in at less than $10,000 with a 79 percent value recovery.

5. New steel front doors are extremely popular right now due to security, efficiency, and curb appeal. When potential buyers are viewing your property and come up to a steel door, it gives a sense of prestige and security. Over the years they have become lighter and affordable as more and more companies are offering this alternative to the standard wood or vinyl door. A new steel door will run you around $2,000 but can offer a 75 percent return on value.

These are just a few of the many exterior remodeling projects that can add significant value to your home when considering resale or refinance. Some local home improvement stores such as True Value Hardware and Valle Vista Home Center have very helpful staff and have been able to walk many of my clients through the process of upgrading and remodeling; they also won’t pressure a sale like many of the big box stores.

Matt McPherson is a licensed real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Associated Brokers, BRE # 01362837. Reach him at 951-315-7914 or

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