Thursday , 30 March 2017
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Remodeling Industry Veteran Mark Zokle Discusses Projects that Pay Off

Mark Zokle

Some home upgrades maintain value in the long-term. Others don’t provide much return on investment. In this interview, Mark Zokle, a marketing and sales expert with over two decades of experience in home repair and remodeling, discusses where to spend and what to spare.

Information Nation: Good afternoon, and welcome. We thank you for talking with us today.

Mark Zokle: Not a problem. I’m happy to do it.

Information Nation: With spring right around the corner, home improvements are on the rise. What would you say are the most common projects many homeowners consider for this time of year?

Mark Zokle: People generally look at sprucing up their entryways in the spring and summer, when they are outside looking at their homes more often.

Information Nation: Is a new front door a good investment, in your opinion?

Mark Zokle: Absolutely! A new door – or even painting the old one – yields on average over 96% ROI.

Information Nation: Really? What about other outside-visible elements?

Mark Zokle: Windows are another smart renovation, at least when the old windows are not functional, as for an example when they are painted shut.

Information Nation: Ok, so outdoor remodels are hot. What about inside?

Mark Zokle: The two best projects are the kitchen and bathroom.

Information Nation: That makes sense.

Mark Zokle: But for either to recapture costs, they have to be done the right way.

Information Nation: How’s that? 

Mark Zokle: The homeowner must take into consideration the property itself, how old it is and where it’s located. He or she likely won’t see a reasonable return on a $90k kitchen when the home is only valued at $150K, for example.

Information Nation: And what about in the bathroom?

Mark Zokle: A good rule of thumb is not to spend more than 12% of the home’s value on a bathroom upgrade.

Information Nation: On a $200k house, that’s still at least $20k. That’s one pricey improvement.

Mark Zokle: It doesn’t have to be quite that expensive. For example, Bath Planet offers custom-built replacement tubs, wall surrounds, and fixtures for a fraction of that.

Information Nation: Add a coat of paint and some new towels and you’ve got yourself a new bathroom!

Mark Zokle: Exactly. It’s all in how well the remodel is executed.

Information Nation: How about adding on a new bathroom?

Mark Zokle: That’s not always a bad idea, but it’s usually better to reclaim existing space than to add on.

Information Nation: It’s probably a lot more affordable that way, too…

Mark Zokle: Yes, that’s true.

Information Nation: Are there any unseen upgrades that might add value to my home?

Mark Zokle: New insulation in an older home or improved plumbing are great selling points.

Information Nation: What about replacing major appliances?

Mark Zokle: If you’re looking to sell, it may be a better idea to forgo those moveable improvements since you and your buyer may not have the same tastes.

Information Nation: What’s your thought on indoor-outdoor spaces?

Mark Zokle: That depends on the climate of the area and the overall housing market. You won’t see a huge return on, say, a Florida room in Alaska.

Information Nation: Ok, we get your point there!

Mark Zokle: I’ll add, however, that homeowners that plan to stay put should follow their hearts and remember that the value of the improvement is primarily defined by the joy and use they will get out of them.

Information Nation: That’s a great way to put it. Thank you again for chatting today, we are sure you’ve given our readers something to think about.

Mark Zokle: I hope so. It has been my pleasure!

10 comments

  1. I’m glad I came across this interview with Mark Zokle. I have been trying to figure out what to do with my rental property now that it’s fall and the weather is cooperating. Mark Zokle has encouraged me to start by painting the front door and putting a little elbow grease in the kitchen and bath.

    • All wonderful places to start. Feel free to get in touch with Bath Planet (one of our BCI companies) for a hassle-free quote on that bathroom!

  2. As a real estate professional, I have to agree with Mark Zokle that the kitchen and bathroom are two of the best rooms in the house to tackle if you’re trying to make money. Right now is a buyers’ market and buyers want convenience. 12% in the bathroom (as Mark Zokle suggested) is more than enough to upgrade without spending so much that you’re going to lose money.

    • People spend more time in their bathrooms than they really think about. Between bathing and getting ready, it’s not uncommon for people to spend an hour or more in the bathroom every day. So I agree, convenience is key.

  3. I have a question for Mark Zokle: I have a small two bedroom, one bath home. Do you think I should add a bathroom or try to renovate the one that I have? It is a larger bathroom with a bathtub and separate walk-in shower.

    • That really depends on your needs and budget. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to add on to your home. If your bathroom is functional but perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing as you would like, I would renovate first. If it’s a problem of having too many people in a small home, an addition may be your best bet.

  4. I never considered improved plumbing or new insulation until Mark Zokle mentioned it here. Those are both awesome ideas and I think would be great selling points for the house I am about to list. Thanks, Mark Zokle.

    • There are so many things that people don’t think about that hold great value. New hardware on cabinets, washable paint, tilt-in windows… These are all things that make living in a home – and especially an older one – a more enjoyable experience. Good luck with selling your house.

  5. Mark Zokle makes a great point about regional home improvements. I live in Wisconsin and in an area where summers are very short. It would not be fruitful for me to focus on my outdoor area. Instead, I think I’ll do as Mark Zokle suggested and focus on the inside, where my family will get the most out of our home.

    • So many people get caught up in what everyone else has that they forget that they are the ones living in their homes. I am so glad to hear that you plan to use your time and money wisely to improve the spaces that matter to you.