Top Louisville Remodeling Projects for Return on Investment

Even while signs of a real estate recovery are rising up across the nation, we’re still a ways off from the high watermark of 2005 when Louisville saw 33% more homes sold than were sold last year. That’s quite a drop!

Photo of couple sitting on front porch in front of new front door
Updating your Louisville home’s front door is consistently the best home improvement project you can undertake. In years past, it even garnered more than a 100% return on investment.

When homeowners are not moving into new homes, they are updating their current homes. According to the Remodeling Futures Program at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, home remodeling projects are expected to rise 5.9% in 2012. That is a number that makes the Home Depot and Lowe’s of the world quite happy.

Recently, I’ve found myself flooded with questions from past clients about which home improvement projects garner the biggest bang for your buck. The industry mantra, All Real Estate Is Local, reminds us to dismiss National numbers whenever local data is available.

Let’s see which Louisville home improvement projects have the biggest return for their homeowners when compared to the National averages.

Top 5 Midrange Home Improvement Projects for Louisville

ProjectJob CostResale ValueLouisville
Cost Recouped
Cost Recouped
Attic Bedroom$44,982$37,70883.8%72.5%
Entry Door Replacement (steel)$1,131$82673.0%73.0%
Minor Kitchen Remodel$18,951$13,79772.8%72.1%
Basement Remodel$57,001$40,08570.3%66.8%
Siding Replacement (vinyl)$10,682$7,36368.9%69.5%
Source: Remodeling 2011-12 Cost vs. Value Report (

There’s a huge opportunity for Louisville homeowners who have an unfinished attic that is a candidate for true living space, as we see the local gain of 83.8% outmatches the National average by almost 11%!

The returns for the other projects are fairly similar.

Louisville loses ground on projects like Garage Door Replacement (71.9% National gain vs. 63.7% Louisville gain) and Deck Additions (70.1% National gain vs. 63.7% Louisville gain).

When looking at upscale projects, local return on investment trails the National averages on most projects. But if you are already considering any of the following projects you have the green light for “Go!”

Top 5 Upscale Home Improvement Projects for Louisville

  1. Siding Replacement (fiber-cement) – Cost Recouped: 79.7%
  2. Siding Replacement (foam-backed vinyl)) – Cost Recouped: 69.3%
  3. Window Replacement (vinyl) – Cost Recouped: 63.0%
  4. Garage Door Replacement – Cost Recouped: 62.5%
  5. Window Replacement (wood) – Cost Recouped: 57.9%

Keep in mind these are the top five home improvement projects. There are many others. As you can surmise, the remaining projects all fall under the 57% return.

Looking at returns over time, all but two of the projects have lower numbers for 2011-12. Those two that beat the previous year are the Attic Bedroom (Midrange) and Garage Door Replacement (Upscale).

Rule #1 about home remodeling projects

If I share nothing else in a piece about home remodels you must hear this. Get everything in writing!

It doesn’t matter if the contractor is your best friend, your wife’s Dad, or the President of the PTA, get the project thoroughly outlined and spec’d with prices and dates.

Don’t be “the guy” who ends up on one of those reality shows lamenting the horror that is your Louisville home remodel.