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The 6 Least Cost-Effective Home Renovations

Many things can make your home more appealing to buyers, such as a manicured lawn, a nice bathroom floor, or a new coat of paint. Another, more expensive way to make your house easier to sell is a home renovation.

Home renovations like a kitchen remodel, a finished basement, the addition of hardwood floors, the installation of large windows, or the building of a deck or patio can add value to your home, thus allowing you to recoup renovation costs and then some, and can be the difference between a sold home and one still on the market.

However, not all home renovations are made equal. Choose a high-dollar or high-end renovation or one that features a high degree of customization and not only will you not recoup your renovation costs upon resale, but you may even have a harder time attempting to sell your home later on down the line.

Want to avoid this unpleasant scenario? Then read on and find out what are the 6 worst home fixes for the money, from least to most expensive.

1. Backup Power Generator

The typical heavy-duty backup power generator runs around $14,718, though it’s possible to lower this number if you opt for a less-expensive model or a less-thorough installation. Expect to only recover about 48.5% of the total cost of the generator at resale. What’s worse, some buyers may be turned off by its presence.

2. Bathroom Addition

The cost of a bathroom addition can vary widely — from as low as $21,695 to as high as $40,710 — depending on whether you go cheap or top-of-the-line with materials. Regardless of which route you take, you’ll still probably recover only 53 cents for every dollar you spend, simply because very few buyers will think an extra bathroom is worth the additional $20,000 to $40,000 at resale. If you seriously want an additional bathroom, try to seek out a professional who can add one for very little cash.

3. Home Office Remodel

Splurging on a home office packed with tons of built-in storage and high-tech wiring usually runs about $28,888. What kind of return on investment will you see? Only about 45.8%. Still really want an office away from the office? Then make sure that 1) the space can be easily turned back into a bedroom or living area (something either you or the future buyer can do), and 2) you call the room something else while selling the home — study, den, hobby room, et cetera — so buyers can think of the space as multifunctional, not just as a work area.

4. Sunroom Addition

You might think that a sunroom would be a relatively inexpensive proposition, but it’s not — most run around $75,224. Plus, you’ll only get about 48.6% of the costs back at resale. However, this doesn’t mean that adding a sunroom is always a bad idea. If your home lacks a secondary common room, then a sunroom may be a good investment. The best thing you can do is to think hard about this decision before taking on this expensive venture.

5. Upscale Garage Addition

What does an “upscale garage addition” look like? It’s a a top-of-the-line detached two-car garage with windows for light, built-ins for storage, and a durable floor that’s easy to clean — and it runs about $90,053. At resale, you’ll probably only get back about 53.6% of what you put into it. Plus, who really buys a home simply because it has an insanely nice garage? Answer: not many at all.

6. Upscale Master Bedroom Addition

Easily the most expensive home renovation you can do, an upscale master bedroom that adds square footage, uses high-end materials, and is decked out with 5-star amenities like a fully-stocked kitchenette and attached spa bathroom will make your bank account about $232,062 lighter. This room may be really appealing to future owners, but don’t expect them to foot the bill — at resale, you’ll only receive about 52.7% of your costs back.

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