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ROI for a paved/concrete driveway

QuestionHow much ROI can I expect if I paved my now gravel and potholed driveway? Is it true that a concrete driveway increases your tax assessment where an asphalt one will not? One paving company giving me a bid told me I didn't need to get any permits, and another one said they rarely get them. Is this something I should insist upon having? —Thank you.

AnswerHow much can you expect on your return on investment (ROI)? It's a good question that may have a complex answer or an answer you don't want to hear. It's possible that you may not see any immediate return on investment but a paved driveway could add value to the home, making it more salable when the time comes. Most individuals asphalt or concrete their driveways to make them more convenient for themselves. While asphalt is less expensive than concrete, this is a personal choice that is normally based on the aesthetics of the home. However, the cost difference between the two is, of course, governed by location, the length of driveway, and how much prep work has to be done before any asphalt or concrete can be applied. I believe to get an honest answer on ROI you should contact a local realtor who knows the market in your neighborhood. As for tax assessment, generally improvements to the property will increase your taxes, but this is something you will need to ask at your local assessor's office.

To protect yourself and your investment, contact your local building department to see if they require a permit. Second, check to see if your state requires a contractor to be licensed and bonded. If not, make sure he/she is bonded, and ask for at least three references so you can see his or her work and talk with these references. Consider looking at my book on hiring contractors—it provides the proper questions to ask references. If your local building department requires a permit, then any contractor who says they rarely get permits or tells you not to get a permit is not the type of contractor you want working for you! If a permit is required by the local building department and one isn't taken out, it may come back to haunt you when you try to sell the property.

The bottom line is—if you plan to stay in this home for a while, then you should do anything you can to your property or home to make it more comfortable. Home improvements done only to make the home more salable down the road may backfire; there's no guarantee there will be any monetary gain from these projects.

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Copyright © 2001 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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