No. 4: Moderate master suite addition
In the same category as kitchen and bathroom remodels, a moderate master suite addition can add to resale value, Gaylord says.
"You're going to put in double sinks, you're going to put in plenty of closet space, you're going to have a sitting area," and all those things can make the home easier to sell and likely move the price needle upward, too, he says.
If that master suite addition is on the main level, that's a huge plus for baby boomer buyers, Combs says.
Typically, a more modest addition (in the Remodeling report, this one is 384 square feet instead of the upscale version's 640 square feet, with tile instead of marble and stone, and without either a kitchenette or fireplace) can be a smarter move at resale.
In the Remodeling report, the moderate master suite additions return almost 68 percent at resale versus 56 percent for the upscale versions.
"Oddly enough, you'll probably make back more of your money if you keep it inexpensive," Holmes says. "When it comes down to budget, the only way to save without doing it wrong is to go with simple finishes," he says. "It's fairly easy to upgrade cosmetics later, if you want."