Remodeling projects don’t pay off as well at resale time as they used to, according to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors and Hanley Wood, a media company geared toward the construction industry. What’s more, most Chicago projects reap a smaller payback than the national average. “You have a lot of competition from new-construction homes that are in short sale or foreclosure,” says Genie Birch, the president of the Chicago Association of Realtors and a Koenig & Strey GMAC broker associate. “They have the granite fixtures and the heated flooring—all the bells and whistles.” But while an upgraded existing home may cost a bit more, it has the “advantage of an accelerated [sale] time,” Birch notes. “Buyers don’t have to deal with waiting for the bank’s approval,” as they would with a deal involving a foreclosure or short sale. Find the full report at


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