10 Home Improvements That Don't Pay Off

Master Suite Addition
> Cost: $115,810
> Resale value: $74,224
> Return: 64.1%

Add a 24-by-16-foot master bedroom suite over a crawl space. Include walk-in closet/dressing area, whirlpool tub in ceramic tile platform, separate three-by-four-foot ceramic tile shower, and double-bowl vanity with solid-surface countertop. Bedroom floor is carpet; bathroom floor is ceramic tile. Painted walls, ceiling and trim. General and spot lighting, exhaust fan; electrical wiring to code.

Deck Addition (Composite Material)
> Cost: $16,798
> Resale value: $10,819
> Return: 64.4%

Add a 16-by-20-foot deck using pressure-treated joists supported by four-by-four posts anchored to concrete piers. Install composite deck material in a simple linear pattern. Include a built-in bench and planter of the same decking material. Include stairs, assuming three steps to grade. Provide a complete railing using a matching system made of the same composite as the decking material.

Major Kitchen Remodel
> Cost: $59,999
> Resale value: $38,938
> Return: 64.9%

Update an outmoded 200-square-foot kitchen with a functional layout of 30 linear feet of semi-custom wood cabinets, including a three-by-five-foot island, laminate countertops and standard double-tub stainless-steel sink with standard single-lever faucet. Include energy-efficient wall oven, cooktop, ventilation system, built-in microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal and custom lighting. Add new resilient flooring. Finish with painted walls, trim and ceiling.

Now we’ll list the five “upscale” projects that offer the least return. A reminder: upscale work is more expansive and complicated than the baseline midrange projects.

Master Bathroom Addition
> Cost: $79,380
> Resale value: $45,006
> Return: 56.7%

Add a new 100-square-foot master bathroom to existing master bedroom over a crawl space. Include 42-by-42-inch neo-angle shower with ceramic tile walls with accent strip, recessed shower caddy, body-spray fixtures and frameless glass enclosure. Include a customized whirlpool tub; stone countertop with two sinks; two mirrored medicine cabinets with lighting; a compartmentalized commode area with one-piece toilet; and a humidistat-controlled exhaust fan. Use all color fixtures. Use larger matching ceramic tiles on the floor, laid on the diagonal with ceramic tile base molding. Add general and spot lighting including waterproof shower fixture. Cabinetry shall include a custom drawer base and wall cabinets for a built-in look. Extend HVAC system and include electric in-floor heating and heated towel bars.

Master Suite Addition
> Cost: $245,474
> Resale value: $140,448
> Return: 57.2%

Add a 32-by-20-foot master bedroom suite over a crawl space.

Bedroom: Add a spacious sleeping area with lounging/sitting area adjacent to large master bathroom. Include custom bookcases and built-in storage with millwork details; high-end gas fireplace with stone hearth and custom mantle; and large walk-in closet/dressing area with natural light, mirrors and linen storage. Add French doors to exterior.

Bathroom: Include a large walk-in shower with dual-shower system, stone shower walls and floor and custom frameless glass enclosure. Add corner-design whirlpool tub bordered on two sides by windows and built into granite or marble platform with custom cabinet front. Include two sinks in separate custom vanities with stone countertops and large mirrors. Create partitioned area for luxury one-piece toilet.

General: Add five-foot-long hospitality center with bar sink, undercounter refrigerator, custom cabinetry, granite or marble countertop and microwave. Include soundproofing, in-floor heating, custom wall finishes and hardware, general and spot lighting, and lighting controls.