Why it’s a great time for home improvements

For the past 30 or so years, the editors of Remodeling Magazine have compiled data from across the country to create estimates of what home remodeling projects cost in various markets—in our case, Greater Boston—and what the immediate recouped value of that remodel will be. The data is presented in their Cost versus Value Report.

Like most report readers, we skipped right to the last page to see both the estimated cost of a remodel and how much of the cost will be recouped immediately. We like to share this report with prospective customers before we provide an estimate, so they can see what average renovations cost in the Boston area and beyond. 

A couple of trends are notable in the Greater Boston area. As is expected for quick ROI, high visibility improvements with “curbside appeal” have topped the list for the past few years including garage door and entry door replacements as well as new siding. One number that seems off to us is HVAC conversion/electrification, with an estimated cost of about $20,000, according to the report. A whole house HVAC system is considerably more than this, but state rebates, tax incentives, zero interest loans, and energy savings bring the effective cost down. So while the report is very helpful to get an estimated cost for home improvements or for investors looking to buy and flip a home, in our opinion it misses the mark when it comes to evaluating the value of many popular home remodeling investments.

It is safe to say that if you are looking to flip a house, steveworks is not for you. For each project, we are focused on value rather than a quick ROI. Our strengths lie in using energy efficient building technologies, improving air quality, and incorporating universal design principles to create a more comfortable, healthy, and functional space that can provide value over time and meet your family’s changing needs. For this green home remodeling project in Newton, we did a whole-house building envelope remodel. A new roof, new siding with an air barrier and rain screen, and new double-hung windows made for a tight home. We converted to heat pumps, which are 2.5 to 3 times more efficient than fossil fuels, significantly decreasing the house’s carbon footprint. These days, factory-painted siding comes with a warranty of 15 to 30 years (depending on the paint finish), and MassSave offers generous rebates on heat pumps. So this remodel will hold its value for years.

Will it cost less to renovate your home this year?

Not likely. While the price of materials has come down from its pandemic high, labor costs continue to rise with ongoing staffing shortages. For instance, major kitchen remodels in the 2023 report are estimated at $80,832–$169,019; in the 2024 report, they are estimated at $81,745–$167,699. It is similar with kitchen remodels, which had an estimated cost of $26,820–$81,080 in last year’s report and $26,453–$81,140 in this year’s.

Costs have stabilized and there are often generous incentives for electrifying your home and using energy efficient home improvements and building technologies. This, coupled with the lack of housing stock in our area, has many homeowners considering an addition, ADU, or attic-space conversion. We think it’s a great time to consider adding value to your current home by making it more functional, healthy, and energy efficient.