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Renovate with caution: These add-ons might not be worth the investment

Smart-home products and renovations tend to vary widely in terms of cost. A smart bulb can cost about $20, while more expensive renovations — namely those which require a company to install tech throughout a home — check in at several thousand dollars.

Before long, a growing number of homeowners may opt for investments in smart features, especially those capable of reducing monthly expenses. If you want an idea of how mainstream smart-home products are becoming, just look at Ikea’s lineup.

But is it worth it to install smart-home renovations throughout your house? It might depend on whether you’re hoping to make your life easier or get a return on that investment. Transforming your home to suit your needs, tastes, and hobbies is fine, but you probably don’t want to look at these changes as investments. While some features may help increase the resale potential of a home by reducing expenses or adding a “wow” factor, others probably don’t justify the money. To help, we’ve compiled a few home renovations that might not pay off.

Overly smart kitchen

Remodeling a kitchen can consist of refinishing cabinets, adding backsplash, painting walls, and buying a few bar stools for the countertop. Or it can be a major endeavor when you decide to replace everything down to the studs.

As of 2017, a major kitchen remodel costs roughly $62,158 to complete (on average) and at resale time, the average recuperation of such costs is around $40,560. This means homeowners typically get about 65 percent of their money back, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2017 Cost vs. Value Report. A minor remodel costs an average of $20,830 to complete, with homeowners recouping roughly $16,700 of those costs, meaning a minor remodel recuperates more of its cost — about 80 percent — at resale.

If you fill a kitchen with the latest tech during a remodel, you might end up over-remodeling to the point where it’s impossible to recuperate the initial investment. If you purchase all the latest smart appliances, for instance, you’re looking at a cost of around $4,000 for a refrigerator, $4,000 for an oven, and another $1,000 for a dishwasher. You’ll still need a range hood, a wine cooler, and small appliances, before even adding the cost of the essentials — cabinets, flooring, labor, etc.

At the moment, you probably don’t need a dishwasher that reorders its own detergent. In some ways, buying connected appliances makes sense when it comes to future-proofing. Manufacturers can deliver updates that add helpful or fun new features. Just keep in mind that your Samsung oven isn’t going to make small talk with your Whirlpool dishwasher. That might not be a big deal right now, but imagine how cool it would be if your oven knew it had a heavily soiled lasagna pan after tonight’s dinner, and the dishwasher could adjust its settings accordingly.

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