Which Interior Home Projects Offer The Best Return On Investment?

Aside from waiting for home prices to rise and interest rates to fall, there may be no better way to increase the value of your house than investing in a few home improvement projects. The question is, which projects will provide the best return on investment (ROI).

A landscape makeover or a fresh coat of paint on the exterior can make your home more attractive and increase its curb appeal, however, it will not increase its value with much significance. So the big question is, which home improvement projects will radically boost the value of your home?

The first question you have to ask is how long will you remain in your home after the improvement is complete. If the answer is between one and five years, you may want to keep the improvements simple, clean, bright and organized, as this typically gets the most attention from home buyers. Go too extravagant or too custom to your taste and the project may not provide the return you were looking for.

If you are planning on staying in your home for more than five years, you may want to consider projects that add comfort and convenience to fit your family’s lifestyle. Although it is always good to keep the future sale of your home in mind, when planning a home improvement for the long term, part of the ROI is the enjoyment of the newly renovated space.

So which home improvement projects should you invest in, and which projects should you avoid? Below are some helpful tips.

Remodeling your kitchen, especially one that is 20 years or older, can be considered the best investment. A kitchen is the heart of a home and the most used communal space. According to HGTV, you can expect to recoup somewhere between 60%-100% of your investment when you sell your home. The variance depends on the features you choose, how much you spend on the remodel and whether your priority is to create a dream kitchen for yourself or a kitchen that appeals to potential buyers and conforms to the style of your home.

For example, a quaint Arts and Crafts style home built in early 1900's should not be renovated with an over-sized modern kitchen. The style, size, and quality of the kitchen should fit in with the rest of the house.

When it comes to how much you should spend on a kitchen remodel, prices can run the gamut, from $10,000 to $75,000, or more. Get the biggest bang for your buck on a kitchen remodel by looking at function over flare. While you may love your $10,000 commercial stove, and top-of-the-line backsplash, these costly additions don’t pay off when you list your home for sale. If you plan on moving within five years, invest in quality, serviceable appliances that appeal to the mass. In general, too much customization in a home can turn buyers away.

Renovating or increasing the size of a bathroom can increase the value of your home as well, however, may not have as big of an impact on your home’s value as other projects. The ROI depends largely on the style, furnishings and fixtures, and the overall cost of the bathroom remodel.

However, adding a second bathroom to a home with only one, can provide a greater ROI. Just keep in mind that projects that include renovations to electrical, plumbing or building structure, do require an Architect and the filing of building permits.

Adding more square footage to your home with a new room can be an incredibly expensive project. Although you can recoup some of your investment, anywhere from 50%-83%, this project’s costs can quickly spin wildly out of control. Projects that start off with a $20,000 budget can quickly turn into $30,000 or more when homeowners and contractors run into unexpected problems.

To save money, reinvent the existing space in your home. Finish a basement, or convert the attic to a bedroom. However, before you demolish walls and rafters, try to think about the ways that you, and potential buyers, can use the space.

Unfinished basements are a good start as they can be used as a family room, guest bedroom, a home office, gym or game room. Many people also turn this space into a small apartment for an aging relative or a tenant, however, like adding a room, would require review by an Architect to identify whether it is permissible and in line with your home’s zoning regulations.

If large enough and access is easy, attic spaces often work well for craft rooms and game rooms, especially if they have high ceilings. This bonus space not only offers you and your family extra room now, it also can increase your home’s appeal to potential buyers.

When considering home improvement projects like these, consider hiring a contractor. Make sure you get at least three quotes, with the details of the project, from the contractors you interview. Thoroughly check references for the contractors before you agree to a contract or work order, and watch out for home improvement repair scams. Visit www.hicofsi.org to ensure you hire a local contractor that you can trust.

Stay on par with your neighborhood, as too many high-end renovations or an addition to your home can make yours the most expensive home on the block. You can recoup a fair amount of money on a kitchen remodel, but expensive, fancy gourmet kitchens won’t help you attract that perfect buyer.

Of course, if you have a high-end home in an upscale neighborhood, then upgrading your kitchen to “gourmet” status may increase its value, since buyers expect to see a gourmet kitchen in a high-end home. But even in a high-end home, you may not recoup your entire investment in an expensive kitchen remodel when you sell your home.

While you want to improve your property and increase the value, you also want to be cautious that you do not over-improve your property. You don’t want to spend an amount of money on a renovation where you will not see a return on your investment. For example, putting high-end Viking appliances in a home in a middle-class neighborhood would be an over-improvement.

Before you renovate, do some research on your area to find out how much the property will be worth after the renovations, also known as the After-Repair-Value or ARV.

The ARV is the market value of the property after all necessary repairs have been completed to bring it up to marketable condition. Market value is the selling price the property could be expected to achieve in its current condition.

Jeff Troost, President Troost Bros. Inc. Home Renovations

(718) 667-3131 www.troostbros.com www.facebook.com/troostbros

How can I update my bathroom for less?

A bathroom is one of the most used rooms in your home, but can be the least thought of when it comes to updating or decorating.  We spend big bucks updating kitchens and living areas, but when it comes to the bathroom, it sometimes seems easier to just shut the door. 

Because of its size, transforming your bathroom can be easier than you think.  Half the battle of making your bathroom more inviting, is making sure it smells good and doesn't have mold growing around all the crevices.  A good bathroom cleaner and some elbow grease will fix that problem.  

Whether you are looking to just update your small space, or you're looking for a total renovation, here are some simple and affordable ideas to help make your bathroom one of the rooms you invite your friends to see, rather than avoid it.

Brighten up the room – remove old, dark wallpaper, or update the paint color. Consider using bright colors, or even whites to lighten the atmosphere in the room. Then, consider adding some bold accessories to liven the room. Exchange your old shower curtain with a new colorful one to provide a bold statement. Install a new toilet seat, flush handle, towel bar and toilet paper holder to provide a new bathroom feel.

Take the modern approach – updating your bathroom with a LED light fixture can provide you with energy savings, as well as a new sleek look. Use a dimmer switch, with a dimmable bulb to add a romantic feel to your bathroom. Add a dramatic mirror, or glass and chrome accent shelves to finish off the look.  

Add decorative wall treatments – wainscoting or decorative paneling on part of the walls, or textured painting can provide a custom look for your bathroom. Use wood trim to accent mirrors, fixtures, or windows to provide a warm, natural feeling.

Re-do your vanity – the vanity can very well be the biggest expense when it comes to a bathroom renovation. If your countertop is in relatively good condition, and the cabinets are not warped or broken, consider refinishing it. A little sanding, some paint and new hardware can provide your bathroom with a completely different look, and will provide you with the least expensive option. 

Update your storage – purchasing new and improved under cabinet storage bins, can provide you with a place for everything you need. Add pullout shelves that provide access to the back of your cabinets. This will provide the maximum use of your space, while allowing you to see everything that you shoved underneath. Use small acrylic or valet trays, or pouches to organize small items or cosmetics. This will keep the clutter off your countertops.

Use a simple bracket and shelf system to add floating shelves on the walls. This will provide space for decorative displays or to place hand towels, or small baskets for storage. The results will provide a stylish and functional space for all your bathroom needs.

Make some simple changes – remove any items from the bathroom that have not been used in a while. Added clutter can make your bathroom appear smaller. Replace an old bathroom mat or rug with a new one, or add a painting or picture on the wall. A few simple inexpensive purchases can make all the difference.

Consider re-caulking around your tub or shower where it has faded or been torn away. Deep clean the grout around your tiles. Dirty, faded or chipped grout can easily be fixed by re-grouting the tile with the same, or different color. However, this may require the assistance of a professional.  

Replace your countertop – vanities will often remain in good shape, but a damaged countertop can adversely affect the way your bathroom appears. For an affordable option, consider a marble or granite remnant for a luxurious look that costs less.

Add some vintage charm – flea markets, salvage yards, antique auctions, and internet sites are great suppliers of vintage tubs, sinks, countertops, flooring, benches and accent pieces. If you are looking for a complete bathroom renovation, it doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg for the materials.

If you are looking to renovate your bathroom to include the replacement of toilets, faucets, and shower heads, enlist the services of a professional. A bathroom renovation may require a professional tile installation company, a licensed plumber, and possibly a licensed electrician. In some cases, and if you plan to rework the location of your fixtures, you may need to consult with an architect and file your project with the NYC Department of Buildings.

As with any home renovation where a contractor is utilized, it is important to make sure you hire a licensed and insured, reputable contractor that provides you with good references.

Jeff Troost, President    Troost Bros. Inc. Home Renovations

(718) 667-3131    www.troostbros.com    www.facebook.com/troostbros

Ask the Expert: Are there any home improvements that can save money on my utility bills?

By Lana Seidman - NARI-HIC of Staten Island, Inc. 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Paying high electric, gas and water bills are part of living in New York City.  Although the cost for comfort is sometimes difficult to swallow, the need to have air conditioning in the summer, hot water on demand, heat in the winter, and flowing water are necessities that cannot be avoided.

There are a few simple steps you can take to save energy and be more efficient.  Not only will your efforts lower the cost to run your home, they will also reduce your carbon footprint. 

Firstly, search for air leaks aroundthe perimeter of your home.   Check around your windows and exterior doors to make sure no heat escapes during  the winter, causing your heat to stay on longer and you to consume more gas.  

Leaks around windows and doors will create the opposite effect during the summer. Hot and humid air that seeps into your cool and comfortable home will keep your air conditioningrunning longer, whereby increasing your electric consumption.

Seal the leaks with spray foam, caulk or weather stripping.  If you have single pane windows, consider looking into options for replacement to a more efficient double pane window. Making the effort to seal up these leaks, combined with checking the insulation in your attic, basement or crawl space to ensure there are no gaps,  will decrease your energy bills.

Secondly, check the ductwork of your central heating and/or air conditioning system. Typically 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through your duct system may be lost due to leaks, holes or a separation in the ductwork.   

Addressing these problems in between seasons, when your unconditioned spaces are most comfortable, is a smart choice.  Frigid temperatures in the winter or hot summer days will make checking these areas uncomfortable and more of a burden.

Resolving these duct leaks will improve the efficiency of your heating and air conditioning system and will improve your family's comfort.  It will also decrease your gas and electric bills.

Start by visually checking the ductwork that is accessible in your attic, garage, crawl spaces or unfinished basement.  Seal and then insulate, if possible, any accessible ducts.  If you notice that some of your ductwork is not secured, you may want to strap it in place to avoid it shifting in the future. If there is ductwork that you suspect is leaking, however, you cannot access, I suggest consulting a licensedand insured HVAC contractor to assist.

Next, try saving water by turning off the faucet while shaving or brushing your teeth. Consider turning off the shower while soaping up. You may even want to consider waiting to turn on your dishwasher or washing machine until there are full loads. Some simple water savings tips can save you about 8 gallons of water a day.

When it comes to water usage, check your faucets, toilets and hoses to ensure there are no drips or leaks.  The average American home wastes more than 10,000 gallons of water per year from easy to fix leaks and wasted use of water.  If your faucet is leaking, check to see if you can repair it with a wrench for a quick fix.  If not, consider replacing your faucet with a new one or call an experienced and licensed plumber. 

To check your toilet for silent leaks, put a few drops of food coloring into your tank and watch for about 10 minutes.  If the water in your bowl turns color before flushing, it may be time for a new rubber flapper.

Lastly, if you have not replaced your shower head over the last 10 years, consider doing so. Newer shower heads offer water saving features without compromising decor or function. This too can save you almost $100 per year.

As with all Home Improvements, if a task seems too big, consult with a licensed and insured professional that can provide you with energy efficiency options, as well as opportunities to improve your most prized possession....your home.   

Scot Troost, Vice President - Troost Bros. Inc. Home Renovations

(718) 667-3131      www.troostbros.com     

All our experts are licensed, bonded and insured members of the Staten Island Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (The Home Improvement Contractors of Staten Island).  Homeowners should always consult with licensed professionals, check a contractor's license through the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (call 311 for information) and insure that their project complies with NYC DOB regulations before embarking on any home improvement project.


Remodeling 50 - Big 50

Remodeling 50 

Big 50

Jeff (left) has an architectural degree and Scott (right), one in fine arts. Together, they have a great eye for good design. They moved into a showroom/office three years ago. It will soon include a house façade, not quite full scale, that showcases a variety of products.  Their community visibility brings in a dozen leads a day, and before the year started, they had sold almost half a million dollars in business. “Remodeling is going to increase within three years, tremendously, because there’s no land lefton Staten Island,” Scot says. – J.F.S.

Jeff (left) has an architectural degree and Scott (right), one in fine arts. Together, they have a great eye for good design. They moved into a showroom/office three years ago. It will soon include a house façade, not quite full scale, that showcases a variety of products.

Their community visibility brings in a dozen leads a day, and before the year started, they had sold almost half a million dollars in business. “Remodeling is going to increase within three years, tremendously, because there’s no land lefton Staten Island,” Scot says. – J.F.S.

The best of the best: That is what the REMODELING editors set out to find each year for the incoming Big50 class. Recipients of this coveted award can’t just be good. They must be excellent – and excellent when measured against their highest-quality competitors. They lead the industry in business acumen and customer service. running exciting and dynamic companies that stand as models for the industry. Read on to meet them.

Jim Cory
Nina Patel
Joseph F. Schuler Jr.

Hayden Alfano
David Zuckerman

Christy Hartman

Sal Alfano

Jeff and Scot Troost
Troost Bros. Home Renovations
Full-service remodeling
8 years in business
2003 volume: $1.5 million
staff: 4 office, 11 field

The Troost brothers are well-known on Staten Island’s north shore, where a half dozen architects refer them such jobs as roof-raising additions. 

Prompted by small lots and lack of affordable land, it’s not uncommon to add four bedrooms atop a former ranch house. 

The Troosts also refinish attics, do siding and roofing, and light commercial work- 100 jobs a year in all, averaging $15,000.

Galante Home Improvement merges with Troost Bros. Inc. Home Renovations

Butch Galante joining Troost Bros. Inc.

By: Lana Seidman

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Troost Bros. Inc. Home Renovations and Galante Home Improvement, both long time, local Staten Island home improvement contracting companies announced this past summer their merger of businesses, creating a stronger, more competitive and more efficient home renovation company.  

Troost Bros. Inc., established in 1996, with offices located at 470 Clove Road in West Brighton, provides homeowners with complete home renovations, additions and roof raises, in addition to kitchen and bathroom remodeling, decks, attics, window and door replacements, and roofing and siding, all with the highest level of expertise.

Jeff and Scot Troost of Troost Bros. Inc. Home Improvement and Butch Galante, formerly of Galante Home Improvement, at the Headquarters of Troost Bros. Inc. Home Improvement, located at 470 Clove Road, Staten Island..

Jeff and Scot Troost of Troost Bros. Inc. Home Improvement and Butch Galante, formerly of Galante Home Improvement, at the Headquarters of Troost Bros. Inc. Home Improvement, located at 470 Clove Road, Staten Island..

Butch Galante, the sole force behind Galante Home Improvement, Inc., established in 1974, observed and had been part of the development of the Staten Island landscape since opening his doors.  With the overwhelming growth in population during the late 20th century, the need for homeowner services, like, renovations, additions, remodeling and home repairs became abundant. Galante Home Improvement provided these necessary services for Staten Islanders for over 40 years and completed thousands and thousands of remodeling and renovation projects prior to joining Troost Bros. Inc. 

Both Troost Bros. Inc. and Galante Home Improvement share the same business philosophy and therefore, the merger was effortless.  They are both strong advocates for educating consumers on the importance of hiring licensed, insured and reputable contractors.  As they are both avid proponents for providing their clients with full service, professional remodeling and home improvement services, the transition was seamless.

As long time members and active Board Members of NARI-HIC of Staten Island (the Home Improvement Contractors of Staten Island) they fortified their bond, and realized the potential for this merger.  Their knowledge and awareness that homeowners need a contracting firm that is reputable, respectful of a client’s budget, and a client’s timeline, coupled with the desire to create beautiful homes for their client’s, united the two businesses. 

According to Jeff Troost, President of Troost Bros. Inc., this merger provided the opportunity to acquire a wide variety of expertise, qualifications, attributes and skills to the already successful Troost Bros. Inc. family.  The combined company will provide a greater work force and the ability to optimize project performance. 

About Troost Bros. Inc. 

Formed by Scot and Jeff Troost, Troost Bros. Inc. has been on the forefront of Staten Island’s remodeling industry since inception.  Their hard work and dedication to the community and non-profit organizations on Staten Island, has provided them with opportunities for growth and leadership.  Their participation in the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Annual Building Awards program has allowed their business to gain visibility with the local community and amongst their peers.   

Troost Bros. Inc. maintains a perfect rating by the Better Business Bureau and is licensed by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs.  Jeff Troost is the President of NARI-HIC of Staten Island and the company is a member of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.

Feature in Living Staten Island Magazine

Troost Bros. Inc. is a fully licensed and insured remodeling company servicing all of Staten Island for more than 20 years, with expertise in remodeling bathrooms, kitchens, basements, decks, attics, as well as installation of windows/doors, roofing and siding. They are also known for interior alterations and roof raise/additions. Jeff and Scot Troost pride themselves on flawlessly joining new additions to existing homes as though they have always been there, maintaining the style and character of the original footprint.

The process begins at the Troost Bros. first meeting with a homeowner to discuss the project. A detailed proposal is then provided. “No facet of the job is left to the imagination,” reports Jeff Troost. “Everything is outlined and explained”. They have a team of licensed and insured sub-contractors and skilled craftsmen who have been hand-picked to expertly get the job done. All projects aspects are discussed and approved with the homeowner prier to commencing, ensuring the clients are satisfied with their renovation. If changes arise after the start of the job, they are seamlessly incorporated via the expertise of the project manager who communicates on a regular basis with the homeowner.

Born and raised on Staten Island, Jeff and Scot Troost have over 30 years experience under their tool belts. They are able to assist homeowners to identify the finest materials and offer guidance for the best outcome. They are proud to maintain relationships with industry partners and manufacturers that are well trusted.

 Jeff equates his expertise to that of a master chef: “A top chef chooses the finest ingredients and combines them together in order to create a culinary masterpiece with the finest taste and visual appeal.”

“Our decades of working on Staten Island allow us to understand the footprint and backbone of every home we renovate,” he adds. This intimate understanding makes it trouble-free to resolve and interruption they come across and “nail” each and every renovation the brothers complete.