Remodeling? You’ll get a lot of joy even out of inexpensive projects

Some home remodeling projects bring more joy than others — and some pay off at resale time. (Getty Images)

Some homeowners renovate to sell. Some renovate because they want to stay.

For those who want to improve their living space, the National Association of Realtors used a “Joy Score” to find out which remodeling projects are most rewarding as part of its 2019 Remodeling Impact Report.

“We surveyed people who have taken on remodeling projects and we said ‘Are you happy? Are you satisfied? One to 10, how happy are you?'” Jessica Lautz, at the National Association of Realtors in D.C., told WTOP.

The big-ticket items, such as kitchens and baths, score perfect 10s, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money to feel better about your home.

“Things like closet renovations — just cleaning out a closet and remodeling it. And also, just a simple interior paint job has a really high Joy Score, and you can just DIY that kind of project,” Lautz said.

Just replacing a front door gets a Joy Score of 9.7.

Homeowners renovating to sell won’t necessarily recover the costs of kitchen and bath renovations. But other less expensive renovations can pay for themselves.

“Refinishing your hardwood floors, or putting in new floors if you have to start from scratch. Replacing the roof. Looking at projects to tackle, you get return for your investment on those,” Lautz said.

The NAR report found that spending $4,700 on new wood flooring will help sellers recover $5,000, or a 106% recovery rate. Spending $7,500 on a roof replacement will help sellers recover $8,000 at sale.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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