Surveys Say: Exterior Upgrades Deliver the Most “Bang for the Buck”

Apr 08, 2010

Whether you’re buying, selling or just trying to maintain your home’s value, studies show investing in curb appeal yields the best ROI in the new economy of real estate.

According to Remodeling magazine’s 2009 Cost vs. Value Report, seven of the top 10 value-yielding projects ranked by realtors involve the outside of the home. The magazine conducts the annual survey to determine the return on investment for the most common residential remodeling projects.

The biggest reason is cost: the most popular exterior replacement projects come in at less than $15,000. The project with the biggest return, a mid-range priced entry door replacement, costs less than $1,200. Second, is what you get in return: instant curb appeal and a perceived increase in the value of the property.

“Many buyers judge a house by its exterior,” says Marty DeWald, a real estate veteran with a 20-year track record as a top producer for ReMax Unlimited in Southwest Ohio. “A remodeled kitchen and bath can help sell a home, but curb appeal is what gets buyers through the door. If they don’t like what they see from the street, chances are they won’t waste time going inside.”

In a separate survey conducted by Stratamark Research and Clopay Building Products, real estate agents nationwide said replacing garage doors on a home can increase the asking price by up to four percent. That’s an increase of between $3,500 and $14,000 on a $350,000 home just because of the garage door.

“Garage doors are a major exterior design feature, especially if the garage faces the street,” says DeWald. “Like the entry door project, an upgrade doesn’t necessarily cost a lot but it makes a big first impression, considering 73 percent of Americans now enter their home through their garage.”

Energy efficiency is another tipping point in the real estate market. Homeowners are looking for every opportunity to reduce costs of owning and maintaining a home long-term. That being said, consumers are making smarter choices when it comes to the products they choose to invest in, to make sure they are getting the most “bang for their buck.” 

The extension of the $1,500 energy tax credit through December 31, 2010 is encouraging many homeowners to replace their garage or entry door sooner rather than later. In many cases, the 30% credit provides a “cushion” to help homeowners rationalize spending more to get a better looking door than they might have otherwise.

Despite the decline in housing values, the Cost vs. Value report and other surveys reinforce that homeowners can recoup their investment in smart exterior upgrades that increase curb appeal, perceived home value and energy efficiency. Garage Door replacement can be done in less than a day and the visual gratification is instant.

Upgrade 1
Garage door upgrades are often left to the homeowner to tackle - even on new construction projects.


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Upgrade 2
Realtors increased the list price on this home by nearly 3 percent after the standard garage door was replaced with a steel carriage house garage door, enhancing the home's Craftsman style.


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Upgrade 3
The original white flush panel garage door faded into the façade taking the charm of this cottage home with it. The geometry of the stiles and rails on the new wood garage door helps balance the exterior by providing visual interest on the left side of the entry.


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Use the Garage Door Imagination System to see what your home would look like with a garage door design upgrade.

Wood Carriage-House Style Garage DoorsReserve® Collectionenergy efficiencyCurb AppealClopay Garage Doors


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