Should you invest a good sum of money in your home if housing prices in your area are flat or declining? When home prices are escalating, adding more money to an asset that's increasing rapidly in value is a no-brainer. But given current market conditions, it's more important to consider the financial ramification of a renovation before giving your contractor the green light. First, find out how much the anticipated project will cost. Then add 10 to 20 percent for cost overruns. The next step is to figure out how much your home would be worth after you complete the improvements. The market value of renovations varies from one area to the next. According to Remodeling magazine's Cost Versus Value Index for 2006, a mid-range basement renovation -- in terms of cost and finishes -- returned on average approximately 80 percent of the cost when the home was sold. For comparative purposes, the basement renovation used in the Remodeling report consisted of a 20-by-30-foot enterta...
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