The 5 Best Home Improvements Projects in Southern California

It's should be no surprise that costs have gone up, but important to know is that the 9-year trend shows a downward cost-value ratio. But still, the Pacific Region in the 2011-2012 Cost vs. Value Report states, "In Pacific Region markets, the high cost of remodeling is more than offset by high values at resale, giving it the highest average cost-value ratio (71.3%) in the country."  And, overall, the report puts the top 10 projects nationwide as giving a value between 69-78%. 
Remodeling Magazine: Regional Comparison
Sellers, at this point, please take note that 1) because you put in a $40,000 bathroom remodel doesn't mean the value of your house went up $40,000, and 2) taking care of deferred maintenance projects, unless a large remodel/upgrade is the replacement, does not add a higher price tag to your home.

And, keep in mind that a low-cost re-do of $3000-$4000 can often be enough to prepare a property for sale, i.e., low-cost kitchen fix-up, vs. spending $19,000+.

Nationally, siding, window and door replacement projects were in the top 10, because certain costs have actually decreased, and also because they are under $19,000. Garage door replacement is now 6th in popularity (it was 13th in the past), and is 15% cheaper than a few years ago. Vinyl siding and vinyl window replacements are also in the top 10.  With remodel projects, adding an attic master bedroom/bath continues to rank in the top 10.  With single-story houses that were originally a two-bedroom/one bath, going up to add more living space has gotten high marks.

For the Pacific Region including California, the following are the top 5 value projects:
  1. Minor kitchen remodel stands out at retaining 91% of its value ( replace: cabinet fronts with new raised-panel wood doors and drawers, including new hardware;  wall oven and cooktop with new energy-efficient models; laminate countertops; install midpriced sink and faucet. Repaint trim, add wall covering, and remove and replace resilient flooring).
  2. Garage Door replacement -88%
  3. Entry Door replacement - 85%
  4. Deck addition - 81%
  5. Window replacement - 81%
Places to look  for contractor sources may be at local tile and kitchen shops, local area classified ads, online directories, and of course, referrals from friends.

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