Milwaukee/NARI Members Suggest Remodeling Ideas for the Best Return on Investment

April 8, 2014

Remodeling key areas of your home can provide the best return on your investment, according to members of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for 52 years. Members say that improvements to the kitchen, bathroom, basement, and the home’s exterior can go along way in adding value to your home.

“Curb appeal is a major factor in driving homes sales,” said Alan Freysinger of Design Group Three, Inc. in Glendale. “Creating an entrance that draws attention is important. You can add amenities like a canopy-covered porch, a bluestone walkway, and a flowering tree or shrubbery to the stoop to draw someone’s eye to your home.

“The kitchen and great room space are other areas that homebuyers pay attention to when touring a house,” said Freysinger. “Large islands are very popular for social gatherings and people look for kitchens that are well designed with a lot of space and storage areas. To create a more open space between the kitchen and the great room may require knocking down walls.

“Stone countertops and wood floors are also highly desirable,” said Freysinger. “Engineered or natural stone tops for countertops are currently reasonably priced. The wood floor choice can depend on the style of cabinetry in the kitchen. Overall, many people prefer a dark stained floor.”

“Now more than ever people are active in the kitchen,” said Tony Rink, CR of Renovators, Ltd. in Elm Grove. “During the holidays and for parties people congregate there. Return on investment is good, because people looking to buy a home want an updated kitchen.

“Some of the remodeling that people desire include changes that improve the design and function of the kitchen and other items that add to its overall aesthetic appeal,” said Rink. “Full extension glide and easy-close drawers make items simpler to access and countertops redone with granite improve the look of the kitchen.”

“For people who decide they want to stay in their homes longer as they get older rather than shop for another house, they look to remodel for what is known as aging in place,” said Freysinger. “They might consider creating a master suite on the main floor, which consists of a bed, bath, and closet area.

“In the bathroom, popular remodels tend to include creating a larger shower area, as well as dual side-by-side his and hers sinks,” said Freysinger. “Large walk-in closets are highly coveted in the master bedroom. If space allows, some homeowners request two defined closet areas.

“Functionally, the bathroom can provide an even better return on investment, especially if you add a bathroom to the home,” according to Rink. “Today, people often expect two full baths and a half bath. Adding a bathroom to the lover level and main level provides tremendous benefit to the home’s value and the best return on investment.”

“The family living center can expand outside in warmer months when family and friends gather on a deck or patio,” said Freysinger. “Enlarging or improving on this outdoor space can add value to your home as well.”

“In the basement, a remodel that offers the best value is when you add living space to the home,” said Rink. “This costs the least amount, but provides the best return on investment. Just installing a home theater will not add much value.

“The kind of basement remodel that attracts home buyers would be to add items that transform the area into a true living space,” said Rink. “This can be accomplished by installing an egress window, constructing new walls, laying down nice floors for an extra bedroom, and adding another bathroom. These are the types of features that set your home apart when you decide to put it on the market.”

The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

The Council’s goals of encouraging ethical conduct, professionalism, and sound business practices in the remodeling industry have led to the remodeling industry’s growth and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry. With over 740 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation’s largest.

For more information or to receive a free copy of an annual membership roster listing all members alphabetically and by category, and the booklet, “Milwaukee/NARI's Remodeling Guide,” call 414- 771-4071 or visit the Council’s website at

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