How to make improvements work for you and your home

Robert J. Bruss
Inman News Features
Nov. 6, 2004

This enlightening book explains which home improvements are profitable and which might be enjoyable but won't add as much market value as their cost.

This light, easy read is filled with facts - not just opinions of home-renovation experts - that homeowners, home buyers and real-estate agents need to know before embarking on home renovation.

There is advice about what homeowners should do to avoid major improvement mistakes. For example, installing a swimming pool is ill-advised. Not only is it an unprofitable investment, it might hurt resale value because many prospective home buyers, fearing potential danger to children and added maintenance costs, won't even look at a home with a pool. advertisement

One drawback is this book doesn't have a comprehensive list of typical home improvements and their percentage of profitability. Adding a bathroom to a one-bathroom home usually increases its market value by at least the cost of the new bathroom. But renovating a kitchen is unlikely to add more than 75 percent of its cost to the home's market value.

Although I didn't keep a list as I read this book, adding a bathroom, building a deck and remodeling a bathroom appear to add close to 100 percent of their cost to the home's market value. Most other improvements add significantly less, percentagewise.

Lankarge and Nahorney write that the criterion for deciding on whether to make a home improvement should be how much you will enjoy it as a homeowner. However, if you plan to sell your home in a year or so, most of these renovations won't be worth the cost and hassle, especially if you live in the home during remodeling.




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