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ATL's Most, Least Cost-Effective Remodeling Projects?

If there's one theme that seems to link most homeowners, it's a concern for resale value. And why shouldn't it? The average Joe buys and sells a house every five to seven years nowadays; what you do now to your home could very well affect its ability to sell in the future, for better or worse.

This isn't to say every move you make should be guided by the thought of what the next crop of buyers is going to think (it is your place, at least for a while, after all), but there's no sense in making a potentially expensive mistake. While there's no crystal ball for the potential payout a home improvement project may have down road, Remodeling Magazine's annual report of cost vs. value provides some interesting insights into just such a matter.

Let's have a look, shall we?

The Cost Vs. Value report takes a list of home improvement projects and rates their ability to bring you back some moola when it comes time to sell. The overall smorgasbord is divvied up from the national level to city, with projects either falling under a "midrange" or "upscale" umbrella. The picture for 2012 was much better than the previous year, with the percentage cost recouped increasing in every single project category; the best region for improvement values was the Pacific Northwest, but the South came in a close second. But here's what you really need to know:

In Atlanta, the midrange remodeling projects with the top resale value were no small undertakings. First up was siding replacement, with a recoup figure of 79.4%. Converting attic space into a bedroom came in second at 75.4%, followed by "minor" kitchen remodel, defined as replacing cabinet fronts and hardware, some appliances, etc. "Major" kitchen remodel — replacing all the cabinets and appliances — had a cost/value ratio of 70.5%, but was also the most expensive item on the list. A wood deck addition came in fifth, no surprise in our outdoor-loving city.

The cost/value losers for Atlanta had few surprises. The least valuable improvement was a home office, with a 40.7% recoup figure. Seems not everyone loves bringing work into the home. This was followed by sunroom additions, because who wants to bake in a human greenhouse? Entry door replacement also had a paltry return (51.9%), as did installation of a backup generator (52.4%).

Interestingly, the fifth least cost effective improvement was a bathroom addition, which we admit was a little surprising. Maybe not everyone appreciates an extra loo to clean.

— By Curbed Atlanta contributor Jonathan Carnright
·2013 Cost vs. Value Report [Remodeling]