Improvements

Lower-cost home improvements, such as exterior paint and updated or new windows, may provide a higher return on investment in a cool market than an expensive new kitchen or bathroom, according to a recent “Remodeling” magazine survey of real estate professionals. Nationally, major home projects today return 70 cents on the dollar, down from as high as 90 cents during the housing boom and from 80 cents in 1994. That year, a kitchen remodel fetched a 93 percent return; today, the same remodel would cost about $6,000 more and return only about 83 percent of that cost. New windows, updated energy systems and landscaping are seen as more practical upgrades in the current real estate market and also help a home show better.

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