Top 5 Best and Worst Home Improvements to Make in Florida

If you’re like most people, a lot of the work you do on your home is meant for you to enjoy--at least for a little while. But you also want to make sure you get some of that money back when it’s time to sell or refinance. So which improvements are also smart investments in Florida?

Stay away from...

Home offices: Having your own kid/pet/clutter-free space to telecommute from seems like a no brainer, right? But what happens when your potential buyers both work outside the home and your office oasis means their kids will have to share a room (and probably end up killing each other in the process)? Suddenly you’re wishing you’d just set up a desk in your guest room and called it a day. On average, you’re only going to get 50 percent back on your investment in the South Atlantic. That’s 2 percent higher than the national average.  

Sunrooms: They’re hard to heat and cool, require additional wiring, and aren’t very versatile. If you’re thinking sunrooms, trying focusing on a deck instead. You’ll get a lot of the same benefits without the hassle. If you can’t live without the sunroom, you can expect to only get about a 53 percent return, two percent higher than the national average.

Master suite additions: Your master suite might be your oasis. Walk-in closets, dressing areas, whirlpool tubs with a separate shower. But a potential buyer might not expect to spend quite as much time there. To them, it’s not worth the $100,000 investment it took to make. You’ll only recoup 68 percent of that cost. That’s about on par with the 67 percent national average.

Back up power generation: Sure it’s nice knowing you’re never going to be without power, but for most people that security isn’t worth the thousands of dollars in cost. At a 65 percent return, you can expect to do even worse on this one than the 67 percent national average.

Bathroom additions: There’s a lot that goes into adding a bathroom. Not only do you have to add plumbing, wiring, and heating and cooling, you also have to buy all the bathroom fixtures. At the end of the day you’re only going to get back about 62 percent of your investment. Still, that’s better than the 60 percent national average.

Consider adding...

A steel front door: This upgrade probably isn’t at the top of your list. But nationwide, it has one of the best returns your investment. Why? A steel door is more energy efficient and a whole heck of a lot harder to break down than a wood door. You can expect a 101 percent return on this, five percent more than the national average.

A wood deck: Nothing says summer like backyard barbeques, afternoon cocktails, and relaxing on your favorite chaise lounge. A deck can seem like an additional (and indispensable) room in your house. So it’s no brainer that this addition gives homeowners in the South Atlantic an 89 percent return on their investment. That’s slightly above the 87 percent national average.

A new garage door: The main reason this upgrade is on the list is cosmetic. A garage door takes up a huge amount of space on the front of the house. So having an up-to-date, door in good condition makes an immediate impression. Not to mention you’ll get an 89 percent return in the South Atlantic, 6 percent more than the national average.

An attic bedroom: Not only are you adding livable space to your house, an attic bedroom will offer guests (or moody teenagers) more privacy than a room on the main floor. Your guests will be happy and so will you with an 88 percent return. The national average is 84 percent. This one’s expensive, so you might want to think about a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) to help pay for it.  

New windows: Newer windows are usually more energy efficient, which saves you money on your utility bill. So it makes sense that you can expect an 84 percent return on this, higher than the 79 percent national average.

Make sure your improvements make sense in neighborhood. If all the other houses in your neighborhood are small, ranch-style homes, does your three story behemoth really fit in?