5 Remodeling Projects with the Lowest Paybacks at Resale

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

file000667043960If you want to get the biggest bang for your remodeling buck, replace the entry door to steel, according to the 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, produced by Remodeling Magazine in conjunction with REALTOR® Magazine. The entry door may cost about $1,162 but home owners could potentially recoup 96.6 percent of that at resale, according to the report.

However, not all remodeling projects offer big paybacks at resale. Remodeling Magazine evaluated 35 of the most popular remodeling projects and the potential payback throughout 101 U.S. cities. Check out our prior blog post to view the projects that topped the list: 5 Mid-Range Remodeling Projects That Offer the Biggest Returns. But how about the projects that came in at the bottom of that list of 35 remodeling projects?

While all of these remodeling projects may be nice to have, home owners may not want to expect as big as of returns from their remodeling dollars with the following:

1. Home office remodel

Estimated job cost: $28,000

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 48.9%

2. Sunroom addition

Estimated job cost: $73,546

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 51.7%

3. Bathroom addition

Estimated job cost: $38,186

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 60.1%

4. Backup power generator

Estimated job cost: $11,742

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 67.5%

5. Master suite addition

Estimated job cost: $103,844

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 67.5%

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. I’m in complete agreement with every thing you’ve written in this article. However, if the current owners get some benefit from these improvements it’s probably worth every penny. If they are making these changes in hopes of making some extra money at sale time they will be disappointed. And the cost estimates seem high to me, at least for my area. In Canon City, Fremont County, these costs would be approx 60% less. Having said that my sellers still won’t recop 100% of their costs.
    All food for thought.

  2. Bob jones

    This is completely wrong. The only this that payback at selling is increasing square footage. Remodeling only increases the chances that the home will sell at the local compareables.

  3. I am currently adding hardie plank to my wood frame home. The value of the home will indeed go up, and my insurance will go down. Finding the right upgrade can be very rewarding.

  4. It’s best to consult a professional before going over the budget on upgrades.