October 4, 2022

House T.M.

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5 Home Renovations With the Worst Payoff

3 min read
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Home renovations can be a real chore — not to mention expensive. If it’s a change that will improve a home you plan to stay in for a long time, go ahead and take on the challenge.

But sometimes, homeowners can be fooled into thinking an update will greatly improve their home’s resale value. And that’s not always the case.

Remodeling magazine’s 2022 Cost vs. Value Report looks at how well 22 remodeling projects retain their value at resale in 150 U.S. markets. In some cases, you’ll barely recoup half the renovation cost when it comes time to sell.

The following are the home renovations with the absolute worst payoff, starting with the project in the No. 5 spot.

5. Midrange master suite addition

Attic bedroom
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National average cost: $175,473

Average cost recouped: 53.4%

The study doesn’t just look at remodels, but at additions as well, meaning adding a completely new section to a house. The addition of a midrange master suite can cost more than $175,000 and recoups just over half that when the time comes to sell. But before you sell, you’d be enjoying a pretty luxe new bedroom. The Remodeling magazine estimate assumes you’ve added a walk-in closet, dressing area and bathroom with double-bowl vanity, freestanding soaker tub and a separate ceramic tile shower.

4. Upscale major kitchen remodel

Women in a kitchen
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National average cost: $158,015

Average cost recouped: 52.5%

If you love to cook or entertain in your kitchen, you may want to splurge on an upscale remodel — but note that it will cost more than $158,000. While you might not be doing it for resale value, you’ll certainly enjoy the perks, which include high-end appliances, custom cabinets, stone countertops and new lighting.

3. Midrange bathroom addition

Bathroom
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National average cost: $63,986

Average cost recouped: 51.8%

One more bathroom may not recoup its costs entirely, but you’ll obviously find it helpful, especially if you have a large family or plenty of visitors. A midrange bathroom addition includes adding a 6-by-8-foot space — much smaller than an upscale version, but more practical and less pricey.

2. Upscale bathroom addition

Spacious bathroom
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National average cost: $114,773

Average cost recouped: 51.5%

If you can spend more than $100,000 adding a bathroom, you’re certainly living well, and maybe you won’t mind that you’ll only recoup about 50% of what you put into it. But you may never want to leave this new 100-square-foot bathroom, which includes a shower, soaker tub, two medicine cabinets, stone countertop with two sinks, heated floors and more.

1. Upscale master suite addition

Bedroom
sirtravelalot / Shutterstock.com

National average cost: $356,945

Average cost recouped: 46.3%

Drum roll, please … the home renovation with the absolute worst payoff, according to the report, is an upscale master suite addition. But to be fair, this is a monster project, including a large sleeping area, master bath, custom bookcases, high-end gas fireplace, walk-in closet, hospitality counter with bar sink, fridge and microwave, soundproofing and in-floor heating. We’re betting those who have more than $350,000 to spend on a master suite like this aren’t going to need to recoup a lot when they go to sell.

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