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By Steve McLindenm

RISMEDIA, August 29, 2007— (–Siding replacement continues to pay back as much or more per remodeling dollar spent in a home’s resale value than any other major improvement. So, yes, it is obviously one of the most important elements in a prospective home-buyer’s view. The bad news is that on average, you will be getting back less than 90% of the money you spend on the project, according to the latest Cost vs. Value Report by RemodelingOnline.

Just a few years ago, cost-value reports showed that returns for an upscale siding replacement were a desirable 103.6%. The latest report, however, based on interviews with nearly 2,200 Realtors in 2006, shows an average 88% return on resale value for an upscale siding replacement using fiber cement and 83% using foam-backed vinyl. For a midrange job using vinyl siding, average payback is 87.2%.

These estimates were all based on the replacement of 1,250 square feet of existing siding. RemodelingOnline attributes the lower payback to the softness in the housing market and a more efficient calculation of all the labor, materials and subcontracting involved in such jobs.

Does this mean you shouldn’t add siding? Not necessarily. Since you plan to sell soon, curb appeal is of the utmost importance right now. That means the condition of the house’s exterior (your current siding or lack of it), along with your home’s landscaping and entryway should be optimal and inviting. In other words, if the exterior is in bad shape, you may still have to side it to sell it, even if it means getting back only $8,700 on a $10,000 investment. Such are the economics of the current buyer’s market.

I’d urge you to reconsider your choice of siding materials, however. Most solid-wood siding, while perhaps not significantly more expensive than other top-of-the-line siding products, must still be stained or painted, and that staining/painting can add thousands of dollars to the final job cost. In the case of the cedar you mentioned, the siding may age to four different shades on four different sides of the house over the years if not treated. Even when stained, cedar is known for fading in the sun after several years, although heavier-bodied stains offer greater UV protection to help thwart this.

Still, if you are planning to sell soon, why take a chance with wood and a buyer who may be scared off by potential fading problems?