No bang for your buck: 6 worst home upgrades

Ginger Dean

December 16, 2014

By: Ginger Dean, Home Finance Specialist

In: Finance and Legal

People say that a home is an investment. If you bought the home at a reasonable price, the value steadily increases over time, and have put money you put into the home for upgrades worth their resale value, then yes, your home is a great investment.

But to tell you the truth, not every dollar you put into the house is equal. If you want to spend money on home upgrades, the changes have to bring value to your home and enhance its functionality, not just make it look pretty.

With that in mind, these six home upgrades may not be worth the cost:

Home office remodel. A home office remodel is an aesthetic upgrade. It looks nice and benefits you, but it doesn't change the function of the room. At the end of the day the home office could also be used as a spare bedroom. According to ABC News the average cost of a home office remodel is $28,888 and homeowners can expect to recoup about 45 percent at resale.

Sunroom addition. Adding an addition onto a home is a big project and it can be costly because it includes major renovations such as changing the foundation and structure. Not all potential buyers need or want a sunroom, so adding one can limit your potential buyer market. ABC News says that the average cost to add a sunroom is $75,224 and homeowners can expect to recoup approximately 48 percent upon sale.

Luxury garage. Most of us think of our garage as a place to park our cars, but some of us want more. Upgrading your garage to a luxury space with organizational built-in shelves, windows, and an easy-to-clean floor can be very costly. Upgrading costs approximately $90,053 and homeowners will recover approximately 50 percent of the cost when they sell.

Master suite remodel and upgrade. If you're like me, you spend a lot of time relaxing in your bedroom and you want it to be comfortable. However, before you buy that new Jacuzzi tub, install custom made blinds, and add a fireplace, think about your return on investment. According to Bankrate.com, the average cost of a master suite remodel is $224,989 and homeowners can expect to receive approximately 56 percent return upon resale.

Bathroom addition. As mentioned above, adding an addition to any home can be very expensive because of the structural changes. In the case of a bathroom it also requires extra electrical and plumbing work to be done. The average cost of a bathroom addition is $38,186 and homeowners should expect a 60 percent return at resale. (This can change if your home only has one bathroom to begin with, though. In that case, adding a second could make sense.)

Upscale bathroom addition. If you thought adding a regular bathroom was expensive think about adding a little luxury and watch the price skyrocket. The return on investment at sale is the same at 60% but your monetary investment jumps to almost double the cost ($72,538 ) if you want to add upscale renovations such as a stand in shower as well as a tub.

Avoid upgrades with a low rate of return to get the best bang for your buck. Upgrades such as hardwood floors, mid-range kitchen updates, and changes to the landscape to increase curb appeal are all better bets for your money.


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