Originally Published: July 12, 2012 10 p.m.
Many homeowners have remodeling work done for feel-good purposes, such as adding "personal spaces."
Homeowners also can hire remodeling contractors to do work to increase the value of their homes in case they eventually want to sell the houses.
Perhaps the highest value for resale purposes is improving kitchens and bathrooms, said Christie Board, owner of Board by Board in Prescott with her husband, Robert.
"It's kind of like getting to live on your savings account because you get to live in it and enjoy it," she said. "And then if you sell it, if it is done correctly, you can get 70 or 80 percent of it back."
Board said appliance packages, such as new stoves and dishwashers, account for a high amount of the costs for upgrading a kitchen, which could cost $50,000 or more.
Kitchens and bathrooms might need an update if they are poorly laid out or dysfunctional because they are old, said Doug Thompson, owner of Thompson's Remodeling Specialists in Prescott.
Kitchens in homes dating to the 1960s - and older - might have outdated electrical capabilities, he said.
"It may not have the ability for putting in a microwave (oven) without maybe (installing) a new electrical circuit," Thompson said.
That means the kitchen needs new wiring, he said.
He said installing new cabinets, such as lazy susans, in kitchens can increase values in homes because the new cabinets are easier to use.
Thompson said bathrooms might need new fixtures such as sinks.
"In bathrooms today, we are finding that a lot of people are removing bathtubs and putting in showers," he said. "It is a matter of people not using bathtubs."
Bathtubs also can pose safety hazards for elderly people who can trip over them, Thompson said. "I think it increases functionality more than it does anything else," Thompson said.
Homeowners also can increase the value of their homes by updating their entrances, said Jeanne Wellins, design coordinator for Prescott Builders of AZ LLC. She suggested new covered entrances that include a door, columns and stonework.
"And that adds value as well because it really dresses up the home and gives an updated curb appeal," Wellins said. "Your entrance to your home is your personal statement."
Wellins also suggested remodeling work in backyards to add value. She mentioned one recent project that entailed building a ramada, and installing a fountain and pergola (a lattice area where vines can grow).
Other remodeling work might make people feel better about their homes but will not make a return on their investments if they decided to sell the homes.
An example is home entertainment centers or other personal spaces, Board said. She explained a home entertainment center might not add value because a potential buyer could think, "We don't spend that much time watching movies."
Board said a garage for recreational vehicles might not add value either, despite costing as much as $70,000 to build.
"Not everyone in the world would want a super-huge garage," she said.
She said getting rid of a bedroom to create personal space for a spa or workout room might not bring additional value in the long run because a potential buyer might prefer a bedroom.
A room addition might not "get you a good return on your money," Thompson said. He questioned whether people want to pay more for the added space unless it improves the function of a home.
However, Thompson said, "If you update a room or replace a front door or window, the windows will increase the energy efficiency, and people are looking for that today."