When I remodeled my house, I knew what I wanted: a bigger kitchen with room for two refrigerators, more family space and another bedroom. But there are dreams and then there's reality. My husband and I began wondering not only how much we could afford, but how much was wise to spend. So we called our real-estate agent and explained our plans, with hopes she could help us set a budget.-Fortunately, she was able to tell us how much more she could sell our home for with our new dream addition. So that became our budget. It was actually a fairly easy way to think about our return on investment (ROI). However, many homeowners mistakenly think the cost vs. value ratio hovers at one to one, and whatever they invest into the project will be instantly reflected in increased value. Not so fast. Even the most valuable remodeling projects don’t completely recoup the cost, according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual cost vs. value report. The project with the highest return on investment — installing a steel door — only recoups 97% of its cost. That wasn’t always the case. In 2009, steel doors had an ROI of 125%. But in 2011, it fell to 73%.