Best Remodeling Investments

Michael Pickle, with Downstairs Done Right highlights the best investments to make when considering home improvements and how to get back most of what you spend.


Remodeling Online Magazine conducts a Cost vs. Value Report and here is the list of results from the 2007 report. The left hand column is the Salt Lake City averages adjusted from the national averages on the right.

The top 5 are, from fifth to first: Add a Wood Deck 86%, Finish Basement 84%, Minor Kitchen Remodel 83%, Bathroom Remodel 82%, Replace Windows 81%. I would also like to mention the major kitchen remodel 78.3%($50k+). This means that homeowners recuperate 80 to 86 cents for every dollar spent on a remodeling when they sell their homes, or after selling their home the improvements only cost them 14 to 19 cents for every dollar spent on the top 5. In total two-thirds of this year’s projects return between 65% and 80% at resale. That means homeowners are still paying just 20 cents to 35 cents on the dollar for more space, better space, different space.
Three of the most cost-effective projects would be: the basement remodel, minor kitchen remodel and bathroom remodel.

If you take the price you paid for a home that you recently bought (in the past couple/few years) and divide the purchase price by the square footage you get your price per foot. For example; a 220k home that is 2200 sq. ft. was purchased for about 100 dollars per sq. ft. ($220,000/2200=$100). In comparison the cost of a basement finish ranges from $22.00 to $36.00, with most fitting in the 24 dollar range. Talk about value!

Kitchens have instant benefits. The kitchen is the most used room in the house. It is more than a place to prepare food. It is a gathering place. Advancements in granite and solid surface countertops and improvements in the effectiveness and technology of new appliances have seen great strides.

And remodeling a bathroom can also see big dividends. With a relatively simple remodel, a home can be equipped with low flow faucets that function better, a new jetted tub, and other fixtures that are easier to clean.
Downstairs Done Right does all these projects and more.

And there are strong benefits to hiring a general contractor, like Downstairs Done Right instead of doing it your self:

*Getting the subcontractors to perform in a timely fashion

*pre screened contractors which the general is usually familiar with

* one person to contact instead of 15, in depth knowledge of the processes involved (the project will be done to industry standards)

*better warranty service from the subcontractors, the general carries insurance in case something goes wrong

*limiting the home owners liability
And you normally do not save the 10-15% that the contractor usually makes. You will almost always get charged at least that much more from the subcontractors because they see the job as a one time deal, not as with a general contractor giving them repeated business. The only time this works is if you do it yourself and if you are not a professional you usually won’t get a professionally finished project.


Downstairs Done Right prides itself on guaranteed pricing, guaranteed completion date, and one year warranty. For those who want to do some of the work themselves, they can have the option of “stage deals”.

They break the process up into three stages; 1) Up to 4 way (rough framing, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical done). 2) Insulation, drywall, finish carpentry, and paint. 3) Flooring, cabinetry, and finishes (grills and registers, electrical outlets and lights, mirrors,) hardware.

For more information on Downstairs Done Right, or to contact them, visit their website,

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