Worth It: A new front door. In terms of return on investment, a steel door topped the list of Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report for 2014 — recouping 96.6 percent of the average price. If you don’t want to dump yours just yet, a fresh coat of paint can work wonders, too.
Not Worth It: A home-office remodel. We know what you’re thinking: With so many more people working from home, wouldn’t it be brilliant to rewire the space for electronic equipment, say, and install commercial-grade carpeting? Not really. The magazine gave it the lowest return on investment (48.9 percent), and the guy who oversaw the study says, “Home offices don’t sell houses.”
Worth It: A back-up power generator. It’s the biggest gainer in the study, jumping 28 percent over last year, and plays especially well in areas brutalized by storms.
Not Worth It: Major bathroom work. The problem with this is you can easily spend thousands of dollars putting in a spectacular shower, but in the end, it doesn’t feel the buyers taste. That explains why it made a mortgage website’s list of “6 Worst Home Fixes for the Money” and why you should stick to things like re-grouting the shower.
Worth It: Roofing replacement. There’s a reason this ultimate “curb appeal” enhancer consistently makes Remodeling’s list and is up 11.2 percent over even last year: A roof is the first thing prospective buyers notice even before exiting their cars, and you can kiss that sale good-bye if yours looks like it’s been through hell.
Not Worth It: Major kitchen renovations. Again, the key word is “major,” and again it’s a “taste” issue.