Written by Jaymi Naciri

Home renovation is a $400 billion business. But that doesn’t mean every renovation is a successful one. So how do you know which ones bring home the ROI and which ones you shouldn’t waste your time – and money – on?

We consult Remodeling magazine’s Cost versus Value Report to find the highest return on investment for home projects. But how about the ones that don’t pay you back?

Here are seven you should be wary of.

1. Mid-Range Bathroom Remodel

“The average cost is $16,634 with an average resale value of $10,668. The cost recouped is 64%,” said WCVB. A high-end bathroom remodel fares even worse, with a $76,429 spend providing a 59.8% ROI.

2. Master Suite Addition

“The average cost is $108,090 and the average resale value is $68,146, putting the cost recouped at 63%,” said WCVB. Where it’s feasible to create an attic bedroom instead, the ROI is significantly better, at 77.2% with $55,696 spent on a midrange project.

3. Family Room Addition

With an average cost of $85,740, a family room addition typically pays back $53,624 for a 62% ROI. Direct those funds toward a deck addition instead, and this desirable amenity will pay you back with an 80.05% ROI and will cost just $10,048 on a midrange project.


4. Garage Addition

You’ve got to really want a garage knowing that “the average midscale job cost is $60,608 with an average resale value of $35,876. The cost recouped is 59%.”

5. Bathroom Addition

Looking to add a bathroom instead of renovating one? This will cost $40,710 but only return 53% or $21,695. Perhaps you might want to reconsider that expensive tub and shower, fancy vanity, and tricked-out toilet, and instead do a couple of easy fixes—painted cabinets, and new lighting and hardware.

6. Sunroom Addition

While the idea of a serene spot to soak in the sun sounds ideal, the ROI is not. The $75,224 spend will only bring you back $36,540, for a 49% ROI.


7. Home Office Remodeling

The only project with a lower ROI than a sunroom is home office remodeling. With an average cost of $28,888, the ROI is only 46% or $13,235. Perhaps working from the couch isn’t so bad after all.