(MoneyWatch) Expecting to recoup most of the money you poured into home improvements when it comes time to sell? Think again.
In fact, some projects can actually reduce the value of your home. And you may be surprised by how innocuous these value-damaging, home improvement projects are. If you want to make smart upgrades to your home, keep in mind that even the projects that offer the best return on investment don't often fully recover the cost within a year of sale.
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According to Remodeling Magazine's latest cost versus value survey, even the projects that offer the biggest bang for the buck -- installing a steel front door, adding a wooden deck and making minor kitchen remodels -- won't add more than 85 percent of the cost of doing the remodel to the value of the home if you sell within the first year of completing the work.
The lesson? Make such improvements for yourself or your family to enjoy. Above all, avoid the five following improvements, especially if you're hoping to sell soon. They simply won't add any value to your home, at least not enough to pay back the cost of the project itself.