The Nuts and Bolts: September 4, 2013

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Remodeling Magazine’s Top 5 Worst Home Improvements

With all the talk about the “best” home improvement projects, nobody ever seems to focus on the awful ones. I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy learning from someone else’s failures as opposed to my own. Remodeling Magazine has answered the call with a great report on some of the worst home improvement projects you can invest in. Let’s take a look at the top 5!

1. Home Office

The first target on their list is the home office. Once regarded as a standard home improvement for families, it is now considered a poor investment for home owners.

Who productively works from home anymore? Now days we're all movers and shakers, throwing back espressos and making sure they look stylish as they work on their latest screenplay. According to Remodeling Magazine’s report, homeowners spent an average of $28,888 and can expect to recoup about 45.8 percent at resale.

2. Backup power generator

Next up on their list is a backup power generator.

Now I initially disagreed with this assessment. I mean, everyone knows that a backup power generator is the only thing that can save us from a zombie apocalypse. But with it costing $14,719 on average to purchase/install, the zombie option isn’t looking so bad.

Remodeling Magazine estimates the average amount of the price recovered at resale time: 48.5 percent. Not great!

3. Sunroom addition

Ah yes, the classic sunroom. There’s nothing like spending the afternoon enjoying some sweet tea while reading Hemmingway in your relaxing sunroom. Sounds nice right? That is until you realize the national average for a sunroom addition is $75,224.

A plant was all she could afford after this poor investment.

That combined with the fact that homeowners can expect to recoup only 48.6 percent when they sell makes the sunroom the most dangerous home improvement in history. Fact: Sunrooms ruin lives.

4. Upscale master suite addition

As soon as anyone refers to their bedroom as a “master suite” we’re already off to a poor start. But when it comes to an “upscale master suite addition”? Well that just sounds like poor little Tommy just lost his college savings fund. But let’s check out the facts. Let’s say you’re using top quality material with square footage addition to boot. The average cost is about $232,062.

Once making that hefty investment and wondering where you could have vacationed with that money, owners can expected only 52.7 percent at resale. Why? For the simple reason that buyers can simply look for a house that has what they need without the added price tag thrown on by sellers trying to recoup their poor investments.

5. Bathroom Additions

Chances are that at some point (whether it’s due to a growing family or just convenience) you may want to install an additional bathroom. Now if you’re going down that road, you probably want a nicer bathroom than the one you already have – finally getting that big tub or Spanish tile you always wanted. With upscale finishes like these, you can easily spend in the neighborhood of $40,710.

Now that's just money down the toilet.

Not sounding too convenient anymore? Okay, so you cut back on the gorgeous bathroom you had in mind and go for the cheaper material. This ends up making the improvement more in the $20,000 range. Congratulations you just cut your costs in half! Sadly that’s not the only thing that is getting halved – when it comes time to resell, expect only 53 cents for every dollar you spent.

So there you have it, folks. The 5 worst home improvements you can invest in. Be sure to use this information responsibly. This means no snickering while your friend gives you a tour of their latest sunroom addition, or mocking Bill from down the street while he brags about his industrial grade backup power generator.