Over dinner last night the topic of what the best return on investment renovations were and I went with the generally accepted addition of a full bathroom as the highest return. After scouring the internet, I found this great site  that listed their opinions – I’m inclined to believe, if not the absolute numbers, that their relative place on the list is probably accurate. Tops is the addition of a full 2nd bathroom, average cost of $12k, and a payback of 100%. The worse is to finish the basement, which my friend correctly identified, at a cost of approximately $8k and an average 15% return.
This is the table, with some items removed (which I thought you couldn’t accurately quantify, like landscaping is so broad), from the site:
|Home Improvement||Avg. Cost||Return %|
|Finish a Basement||$8,000||15%|
|Build a Swimming Pool||$10,000||25%|
|Add a Garage||$15,000||40%|
|Add a Fireplace||$3,000||75%|
|Add a Deck||$6,000||80%|
|Kitchen Remodel Major||$30,000||80%|
|Kitchen Remodel Minor||$8,000||90%|
|Add 2nd Full Bathroom||$12,000||100%|
The article they have written is very good, I suggest you read it, because it puts some substance behind the numbers and the article makes good sense. Ultimately though, they say that you shouldn’t go by ROI as your reasons for the improvements. If you will enjoy it aesthetically or it will bring happiness to you personally if you have the improvement done, then you should value that more than its ability to increase your home’s value.