No. 4: Upscale garage addition
This is not your dad's oil-stained garage.
Instead, the $82,311 Remodeling Magazine estimate for this one includes building (from foundation to roof) a large, detached two-car garage that's heated, cooled and completely finished inside -- down to the molding around windows and doors. It is organized floor to ceiling with built-in shelves, cupboards and workbench areas, Alfano says. This upscale garage is also fitted out with high-end lighting, and the floor is treated with a stain-resistant epoxy. Return: about 58 percent.
"It's a high-end project," Alfano says. This type of renovation appeals to women as much or more than men, he says. With places to store all the items that tend to clutter a garage, often "it's for wives who want their garages back," he says.
Smaller project, bigger return
A moderate garage addition -- the same size, also detached and professionally built, but unfinished inside, with an automatic door and modest overhead fluorescent lighting -- would run roughly $49,911 and return just over 69 percent at resale, the study concluded.
High cost or low cost, in areas where homes don't have basements or attics, garage storage can be "really important" at resale time, says Phipps.