Angie's List: Tips if you're looking into home remodel project

Thinking about a remodeling project for your home? There are several things to consider, because you may spend a lot of money, but it may not be money well spent.

What can you expect to spend on a typical remodeling project like a new bathroom or kitchen?

On average, Angie's List members estimate the cost to equal five percent of their home's value.

For example, that's $10,000 if your home is worth $200,000

Some spend less, some spend a lot more. Whatever you spend, just make sure you get the most bang for your buck.

Remodeling projects are expensive and can end up taking more time and cause more personal life disruption than any homeowner expects.

If you're going to invest in projects designed to improve your home's value, it makes sense to know what remodeling projects will give you the most return for your money - and which ones could actually detract from your home's attractiveness.

“If you're thinking about doing a remodeling job, the rooms that provide the best return on your investment include the kitchen and the bathroom. if you're thinking about exterior work siding on your house as well as windows can provide up to 80 percent return on your investment,” Angie Hicks from Angie’s List said.

While some projects may sound good, you could end up taking a bath.

"The projects that usually provide the lowest return are swimming pools, unless everyone in your neighborhood has one. Also adding a third bay to an attached garage can be an expensive project and you may not get as much bang for your buck. Then home offices, actually dedicating an office in your house that couldn't also be used as a bedroom, a lot of times doesn't get the best return,” Hicks said.

The struggling economy has a lot of people putting off remodeling projects.

With low interest rates and contractors competing for what business is out there it's possible to get a good deal.

That may be enough to get some folks to tackle some nagging issues they have with their home.

"We're doing much more needs based remodeling as opposed to wants and desires. So people are doing a lot of maintenance. We're doing a large number of smaller projects today than compared to three or four years ago,” remodeling company owner Geoff Horen said.

When you are thinking about your project you need to think about how long you are going to live in your house and really what your family needs as well as what the neighbors have.

A lot of times homeowners will want to add a bathroom when they have two already. If the neighbors' houses already have two, they may be investing in something that may not have a great return.

A kitchen remodel will generally give you an 85 percent return on your investment. A four season room could cost $20,000 more and your return on investment is generally about 60 percent.

5 Remodeling Projects with the HIGHEST return on investment

1. The Kitchen: Whether it's a major overhaul or a simple makeover, putting a fresh face on your kitchen is your best investment. A major update could cost more than $20,000, but you can expect at least an 85 percent return.

2. The Bath: An outdated bathroom can quickly spoil a sale, and it won't be a pleasant space for you, either. Current trends of large showers instead of space-hogging garden tubs may serve you well, as will attention to classic features rather than unusual color schemes. A major update could cost less than $20,000, but yield an 84 percent return.

3. Decks: A new deck can cost a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on size and materials used. Before you build, look at other homes in your area and build accordingly. If the deck is in good shape, your return could be more than 80 percent.

4. Siding: If your home's façade is siding and it's not in good shape, replacing or repairing the siding can bring instant freshness. You'll likely spend at least $10,000, but you should get at least 80 percent back.

5. Window replacement: The energy efficiency of new windows is a clear benefit to switching out older windows, but in some cases, it's a safety feature, too. Costs depend on the number of windows you're replacing, of course, and the type. Expect a return on your investment of at least 80 percent.

5 Remodeling Projects with the LOWEST return on investment

1. Pool: Unless your home is the only home on the block without a swimming pool, you'll rarely get back even half of the money you pay to build one, and you can scare prospective buyers off because many don't want the responsibility or liability of a pool. In-ground pools are expensive and can range from less than $20,000 to more than $60,000, depending on how expansive your design and materials.

2. Home Office Remodel: If you work at home, you'll want a pleasant home office, but don't get too carried away with it. Remodeling could set you back more than $20,000 and you'll be lucky to get half that money back. It's better to have a room that can clearly be used as a bedroom, playroom or other space without a lot of redecorating. Expect a return of 57 percent.

Sun Room or Four Season Room Addition: These rooms can set you back more than $50,000 and they're often beautiful bonus rooms. If you'll enjoy the room and use it, it's worth the investment. The return on investment is generally less than 60 percent, though.

2. Master Suite: Who doesn't want an expansive private retreat even within their own home? Master suites are expensive, though - some can run into six figures - and the return is generally in the 60 percent range.

3. The Garage: Adding that third bay to your garage may make sense when your kids start driving, but it can be expensive - especially if it's attached to your house. You may get as much as 60 percent of your investment back, but you may scare off buyers who don't anticipate needing that much garage space.

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