There are lots of problems with this list from the “2014 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report,” in Remodeling magazine.
Nevertheless, it’s clear that you will NOT recoup the full cost of a major remodeling project.
If you’re going to do a major project, do it years before you plan sell so you can personally enjoy the improvements. You will recoup some of the cost of the project when you sell, which is great, but rarely the entire cost.
If you’re thinking or selling your home soon you should absolutely stay away from expensive remodeling projects. They’re money losers.
Things that generally pay off are 1) Paint and 2) Flooring, especially replacing worn carpeting. And of course, cleaning, maintenance and repair.
I think a home staging consultation really pays off as well.
Light landscaping improvements can sometimes really improve curb appeal and pay off, but it’s gotta be cheap.
Of course, flippers know which larger projects are likely to pay off but they’re also pros at keeping their costs down and knowing what is attractive to the average buyer.
What Not to Do
You know that major project you’ve been wanting to do to the house for years? Don’t do it just before you sell!
What to Do
If you don’t plan to sell for several years, do that big project now so you can enjoy it between now and when you eventually do sell.
And you can feel good knowing that you will recoup a lot of the costs of the improvements when you eventually do sell.