If you want to make your home more valuable, you can be pretty sure that improvements to the kitchen and bathrooms are going to help, within reason. If you spend way too much money though, you are never going to get your money back.
People who go too far in renovations in their house can end up actually turning away potential buyers. Unless you live in a very ritzy neighborhood, you do not want to put in really expensive showers and really expensive marble. (Tip: try a reasonably priced company like Accent Building Products) The problem is that you are probably going to be dealing with a person who does not value that super pricey stuff as you do and is never going to foot the extra dough for it. So even if they do make an offer on your house, they are not going to give you credit for your super duper bathroom. Money down the toilet. The best idea to upgrade the bathroom is to be aware of what other bathrooms in your neighborhood have, and upgrade to meet them but do not go much further than that or it is money wasted.
Next, the average person is turned off by a swimming pool. For many people it is just another thing that has to be maintained. You are never going to see the 20k you put into that pool pay off and it may turn off buyers. The only time we think it is a good idea is if you live in a warm climate in FL or AZ where you can use a pool 75% of the year or more. Then it can make sense.
Another renovation to be careful with is the home office. It certainly is a nice idea as more people are working at home, but you do not want to go crazy with it. If you do make a home office, keep it simple and make sure that it is easy to make it a bedroom for someone else.
Do not get tempted with really fancy home designs during your renovations. You do not want to make anything too far outside the mainstream or you will turn off the average person.
Another thing to remember is that if you need roof work, great, but keep it simple. If you think your are going to get a better price if you put a ton of dough into fancy clay pieces or tiles, you are wasting your money, my friend. People on average just don’t want the roof to fall in, or leak. That’s as far as they think about the roof.
Generally you should make home upgrades that are not outlandishly expensive unless you have money to waste. You will never get your money back when you come to sell it. This is really true today in the slower economy. People are not looking to buy more home than they can afford. Credit is tighter, down payments are higher and people are more allergic to high cost and high risk. So keep it simple.