No. 3: Upscale master suite addition
This isn't your typical master bedroom remodel. It isn't even your typical master bedroom addition.
Instead, picture adding a quarter-million-dollar hotel suite onto your house: a 640-square-foot space with a kitchenette, sitting room, high-end gas fireplace and a spa-quality bathroom -- complete with a stone-and-glass dual-system shower and a jetted corner tub set in marble. The return at resale would be about 56 percent.
By contrast, Remodeling Magazine figures that a more moderate master suite addition -- 384 square feet with more modest materials (and minus the fireplace and kitchenette) -- would cost $103,844 and return just 67.5 percent at resale.
For the upscale version, unless you want to risk "over-remodeling" (building more into your house than the neighborhood home values support), you probably need a house (and neighborhood), where the home prices are no less than $800,000 to $1 million already, Alfano says.
Consider an update instead
Master suites are one of three crucial areas for buyers, along with kitchens and bathrooms, Ramsey says.
Want to get a little more bang for a lot less buck? Keep the existing footprint of your house and update your master bedroom area, he says.
Pay special attention to the closets and bathroom. Double sinks and vanities, nice showers, and new paint and carpet are popular now, Ramsey says.