is repair or replacement more cost and time efficient?
Illustration: Nick Dewar

What Should You Do When Something Breaks?

Given today's slumping real estate market—and the fact that one-third of American houses are now more than 45 years old and need TLC—new studies show you'll reap better financial returns by investing in midrange repair and replacement projects than by ponying up for the high-end cosmetic upgrades favored before the downturn. Factor in fixes that boost your home's energy efficiency and you'll recoup even more. But first, you need to weigh the short-term cost against the long-term benefits. Here, This Old House does the math on 10 common concerns.
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