10 Home Improvements You're Wasting Time and Money On
An outdoor kitchen
Installing steel grills and gourmet pizza ovens outside in a fenced-in area in Arizona or California adds to your square footage and optimizes great year-round weather. In Traverse City, Mich., it does neither. If your outdoor kitchen is considered an actual kitchen, the return on a major remodel -- in this case, 65.7% -- would be roughly the same. While such things as range hoods and portable heaters make outdoor kitchens year-round propositions in markets as seasonally chilly as Nantucket and Northern Michigan, it's never quite as comfortable and can cut your returns in half if residents start to shiver during a February pig roast.
A master suite addition
So you have a little extra space on your property and always wondered what it would be like to have a full bathroom and walk-in closet all to yourself. Here's the answer: Not as great as you'd think.
Remodeling magazine's Cost Vs. Value report cedes that homeowners will get their 24-by-16-foot master bedroom with walk-in closet/dressing area, whirlpool tub in ceramic tile platform, separate 3-by-4-foot ceramic tile shower, and double-sink vanity with solid-surface countertop. Those homeowners should just be prepared to sink more than $106,000 into a project that will add $63,000 to the price of their home at best. It's a 59.2% return on their investment that's actually a worse deal than remodeling the kitchen, refinishing the basement (66.8% return) or putting a bedroom in the attic (72.5%).
Did you lose shingles in a nasty storm? Did the neighbor's kid make your roof a roman candle target once school let out? Did a 747 lose an engine and send it crashing through your sewing room?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, don't go tearing the roof off the joint. There's a reason your parents and great-grandparents before judged their roof's value in years and not dollars: Because it's something you want to replace as infrequently as possible.
Remodeling puts the average cost of replacement around $21,000. That's less than the cost of replacing leak damage, calling exterminators to get the rodents out or watching your heating bill spike. If your roof is in less-than-dire straits, though, that replacement will recoup only about $12,000 of its cost once the house is sold. Sometimes a roof replacement can't be helped, but if you're planning one just because you don't like the look of it, you may as well just shingle it with singles.