Adding value to your home is always a good idea. But if that’s the only goal, certain renovations and additions aren’t worth the effort.
For instance, you certainly might enjoy a new hot tub on the back porch — but don’t expect it to be a good return on investment when you decide to sell. (“A hot tub is a bad return on investment now and forever,” MSN Real Estate declares.)
Remodeling Magazine has released its annual Cost vs. Value Report, looking at which home improvements are worth making in 2014. Here’s how it works, according to the mag…
This site compares average cost for 35 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 101 U.S. cities.
Pretty handy, and it paints a fairly rosy picture — every single project is ranked as a better value than last year, and most retain more than 60 percent of their value.
But what about the ones that don’t? We decided to turn the study on its head and take a look at the five remodeling jobs on the list that give the poorest return on your investment — and that’s assuming the job was done well.
1. Home office remodel
Converting a bedroom into an office is risky. While many people do at least some work from home, it’s not necessarily a must-have space. Room for your kids, on the other hand, is. So you’re better off with a spare bedroom.
- Projected job cost: $28,000
- Resale value: $13,697
- Cost recouped: 48.9 percent
2. Sunroom addition
Unless you live in a perpetually sunny part of the United States, it probably doesn’t pay to build a sunroom. Cloudy and rainy environments can make it less enjoyable. And because sunrooms are usually ringed by windows, that can make both heating and cooling more expensive.
- Projected job cost: $73,546
- Resale value: $38,011
- Cost recouped: 51.7 percent
3. Master suite addition
Remodeling Magazine describes this as an upscale addition with “custom bookcases and built-in storage with millwork details; high-end gas fireplace with stone hearth and custom mantle; and large walk-in closet/dressing area with natural light, mirrors, and linen storage” — not to mention French doors, a walk-in shower and hot tub, custom cabinets, soundproofing, and a host of other indulgent features. That costs more than many average homes and even a year’s stay at a fancy resort, according to Bankrate.com. Even a much simpler and cheaper version will still cost a lot for a part of the house few people will ever see.
- Projected job cost: $224,989
- Resale value: $125,920
- Cost recouped: 56 percent
4. Upscale garage addition
Remodeling Magazine has a cheaper version of this remodel that has a nearly 70 percent return on investment. This one’s worse for adding $30,000 worth of extra trim and finish, custom shelving, lightning, and moisture-resistant drywall. It just goes to show that adding extras doesn’t always mean getting extra back.
- Projected job cost: $82,311
- Resale value: $48,065
- Cost recouped: 58.4 percent
5. Bathroom addition
Bathroom additions are nice, but they’re a tough sell if you plan on putting your house up for sale in the near future. This is a highly personal space, and one better left for new homeowners to remodel, Legacy Remodeling president Jeff Moeslein told Yahoo Homes.
- Projected job cost: $38,186
- Resale value: $22,940
- Cost recouped: 60.1 percent
The bottom line
Some prices on these jobs may seem a bit high to you. That could be because they’re national averages — you can drill down to at least your region, and possibly your city, on the Remodeling Magazine website. Here are prices for Miami, for instance.
And prices do change. Four of the projects on the list above were a better-than-70-percent return on investment in 2005, and may be again in the coming years. (The exception is the upscale garage addition, for which 2005 isn’t listed.)
But even if you get the job done for far cheaper than Remodeling Magazine estimates, you’ll still never recoup all the money. In other words, hopefully you’re interested in a remodel for more than investment reasons — otherwise, there are better places to stash your cash.