I came across this good article in Remodeling Online which looks at the cost recovery of remodeling projects.

The big takeaway is that most do not yield a positive ROI when you exclude the enhanced quality of life the owner/resident benefits from after the remodel is done and before the property is sold.  An excerpt of the Top 3 ROI remodeling projects are below — notice the ROI is less than 5% not including cost of capital and inconvenience factor.  For the whole list of other remodel efforts, check it out here.

Project Job Cost Value at sale % Cost Recovered 2005 Rank 2004 Rank 2003 Rank
Siding Replacement – Upscale $10,393 $10,771 103.6% 1 n/a n/a
Bathroom Remodel – Mid-Range $10,499 $10,727 102.2% 2 5 6
Minor Kitch. Remod – Mid-Range $14,913 $14,691 98.5% 3 2 n/a


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