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The Worst Home Fixes for the Money

With spring just around the corner, you find yourself watching home improvement shows in the evening, dreaming of the different ways to spend your home equity line of credit. After all, you’ll recoup what you’ve spent when you sell your house. Right? Don’t kid yourself. While prices and returns on home improvements vary regionally, there are certain projects that should be avoided.

One of the worst home fixes for the money is the standard home office renovation. Truth be told, the real office-away-from-the-office is around the corner at Starbucks. Homeowners who completed home office renovations with built-in storage, high-tech wiring, paint, furniture and draperies spent a national average of $28,889. How much of that can they expect to recoup? A mere 45.8% at resale. A better bet is creating something that can easily be converted back into a den or bedroom for the next buyer. It’s better to call a space a multipurpose room, hobby room, study or bedroom rather than office. Invoking images of actual work or the office at home are an instant turn off to many buyers.

Bath Remodeling @ Great Falls, VAWith all the talk of Armageddon on TV these days, many homeowners are having heavy-duty backup power generators installed, spending an average of $14,719. How much will they recoup at resale? Only 48.5%. This is because not every potential buyer shares such a grim vision of the future. Backup generators have their merit and going with a slightly less expensive model with a less complicated installation will cut costs significantly.

Another expensive temptation is adding a sunroom or three-season room. Such a renovation is not for the faint of heart with a national average price tag of $75,225. If your home is small and expanding the footprint will provide another common area, a sunroom might be the answer. But in too many cases homeowners can only expect to recoup 48.6% or what they spend when they sell their home.

Are you dreaming of a deluxe master-suite complete with a spa bathroom and kitchenette? This was a trend seen in vacation homes that traveled home with many homeowners. Unfortunately, five-star-hotel dreams come with a hefty price tag, with the average cost for this project priced at $232,062. While potential home buyers may appreciate such luxury accommodations, sellers can only expect to recoup 52.7% of their investment. If you dream of this home improvement project, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. And with this expensive project, the coffee wouldn’t be the only thing keeping you awake at night.
Do you wish for an extra bathroom? One with synthetic stone or plastic laminate surfaces? Hope you have $21,690 saved. And if you prefer upscale finishes like premium marble or fine tile, you can expect to spend around $41,700. Bathrooms aren’t worth the additional $20,000 to $40,000 in the buyer’s mind which is why sellers usually only recoup 53 cents on the dollar for bathroom additions.

Why clean out the garage when you could have a new one built from scratch? And have organizational built-ins and that easy to clean floor installed so we can park collector cars in there too. What does a detached two-car garage with all the trimmings go for? Around $90,000. And how much will you recoup when you sell your home? Expect to recover 53.6% of what you spent. Why so little? Because there’s a very small target audience who wants an upscale garage.

When it comes to getting the most for your home when it comes time to sell, avoid these home fixes and save your money.