If you add on to your house today and decide to sell tomorrow, can you get out the money you put in? Some of it, probably; all of it, probably not.
Roger Kirkham, a member of the Remodelers Council of the Building Industry Assn.'s Southern California branch, estimated that some improvements can get back 75% of the cost, while others, such as swimming pools, can get back 50% at most.
"Remodeling shouldn't be looked at as, 'Can I get 100% of my money back?' " said Kirkham, who is president of Pacific Construction and Interiors in Irvine. "You should look at the improvements in your life style, in convenience and at how many years you are going to stay in the home."
Kirkham estimated the recapture value of the following improvements:
Kitchen remodel, with new cabinets, appliances and counters, 75%.
Full bath, 75%.
Additional room, 15 by 25 feet, 65 to 70%.
Swimming pool, 50%.
Kirkham and other contractors said it is difficult to be precise in determining how much of the cost of a remodeling project an owner can recover because home values have been rising so fast in Orange County.