10 most valuable home improvements

Finishing a basement

Like converting an attic space into a bedroom, finishing a basement has the advantage of utilizing a space that is already part of your home’s footprint, so you eliminate structural costs.

Finishing a basement costs $62,834 and adds $48,777 in value, 77.6% of the cost.

While most unfinished basements are used for storage and laundry, Darren Vollmer of Madison, Wisc.-based TrimCraft Builders sees clients finishing their basements to add entertainment space as well as bathrooms and bedrooms.

A home theater is his favorite, because most TV screens benefit from the lack of natural light, a trademark of many basements.

"It’s surprising with an old house what you can get done," he says, adding that floor joists can be moved to provide more headroom. Also, like an attic renovation, refinishing a basement often requires properly insulating the space to provide the necessary warmth in the winter while still remaining cool in the summer.

Source: Remodeling 2014 Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvalue.com).