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Mon, July 22

Ask the contractor: Which upgrades boost a home's resale value most?

With the economy improving, homebuyers are on the move. Last week we received several calls about home improvement projects to boost a home's resale value. "Should we remodel to make our home more appealing to potential buyers?" was the most often asked question. How to spend your money to make the greatest impact on a home's value is the bazillion-dollar question.

In talking with Peter and John Benson of Evergreen Homes, they say, "Many home-remodeling projects are a great way to add value to a home, but not all improvements are sheathed for value-added guarantees." Malcolm Barrett Jr. of Lindquist Realtors said that "solid surface countertops such as granite and quartz, new cabinets, new fixtures and new flooring are great upgrades, and these items absolutely help sell a property quicker and for more money." But, as far as the bang for the buck, nothing helps sell as home faster than new fresh paint and flooring and a home that is clean clean clean, decluttered decluttered decluttered, and well-staged.

Before you spend the bucks, you should do some homework on what type of payback you can expect for various home improvement projects. Our local Prescott Area Association of Realtors representative says that buyers want assurance that major components of the home are in prime working order such as HVAC units, water filtration devices, hot water heaters, and solar systems, etc. These items may not add beauty to a home, but they sure do add piece of mind. So be sure to tackle items that can affect a home's structure or mechanical performance before you install that new whirlpool tub in the bathroom.

The kitchen used to be the buyer's focal point; however, that has changed recently, and it's a bathroom remodel that can add significant value to a home. If you cannot afford a remodel, a facelift with new paint, fixtures and new flooring will go a long way. Bath remodels can recoup in excess of 50 percent of the cost.

"Kitchen improvements will certainly add value," added Kristy Board of Board By Board Builders. Painting should be the first consideration, followed by flooring, cabinets, and upgrade in fixtures, sink, adding knobs, glass doors and lighting.

Curb appeal is another value option, especially if you are adding a patio and outdoor living area. Curb appeal is what calls potential buyers to your home and a clean well maintained yard with fresh plants and flowering beds can add value. Adding a nice deck to the patio can certainly recoup in excess of 75 percent.

The savings on utility bills and the high cost of energy is an item to consider when remodeling with energy-efficient improvements, and these improvements will add value to the resale of your home. New insulation, windows and solar - all of these items can recoup at least 60 percent of their cost.

Remember, just because you spend $20,000 does not mean that your home is worth $20,000 more.

It is also important to remember that the longer you hold on to your home after your have remodeled, the value of the improvements will diminish. This is due in part to designs changing and newer improvements and products coming into the marketplace. Can you remember the excitement over avocado green appliances, turquoise toilets and shag carpet?

Basic improvements may not be exciting and may not add beauty, but remember if your roof is leaking you have an issue.


As a community reminder, Yavapai County has free slash drop-off now through June 20.

Take your slash to any county transfer station: Black Canyon City, Camp Verde, Congress, Mayer, Paulden, Seligman and Skull Valley. This free slash drop-off program will assist residents in developing defensible space around their homes and could fuel fires. Keeping fuels managed is absolutely necessary. Only brush, branches, grass, leaves, and yard trimmings will be accepted. All slash must be removed from plastic bags. No lumber, stumps, roots, cactus, metal or garbage will be accepted. Thank you, Yavapai County, for this terrific program.

Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. Call YCCA for information on hiring a contractor at 778-0040. Submit questions to or through


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