Many homeowners believe the money they spend on home improvements will always make their property worth more. There are plenty of projects that will do exactly that, enhancing your enjoyment of your home and making it more valuable. However, there are renovations and remodels that can work against you when you’re ready to sell and may actually make your home less desirable.
Outbuilding the Neighborhood
Building an addition to your home could make it more appealing, but avoid turning your house into the most expensive one on the block. If your addition is a large, expensive project, such as adding multiple bedrooms and a bathroom, the cost could price you too far above the neighborhood’s average homes. Potential buyers looking for a $200,000 home will likely look in $200,000 neighborhoods. Your $375,000 house will be overlooked by buyers in your price range and ignored by the others. You’ll find the money you spent on your addition difficult to recoup.
Installing Luxury Room Renovations
- High-End Kitchens – Gutting the kitchen and installing a high-end remodel is a very expensive project. Many people save up for their dream kitchen though, and pay five or six figures to get it. The addition to your home’s resale value will always be less than the price of the kitchen upgrade. Instead of a completely new kitchen, replace the parts that are worn or outdated and choose mid-priced appliances instead of the most pricey ones.
- Bathrooms – Bathrooms renovations can be a great way to add value to your home. Just try to choose upgrades that will appeal to a wide variety of tastes. Fireplaces, waterfall showers, or deep soaker tubs probably shouldn’t be on your list. Whirlpool baths are not as popular as they have been in the past. If you have a tub in another bathroom in the house, consider a large walk-in shower for the master.
- Sunroom – The Remodeling website’s statistics show that adding a sunroom to your house gives very little return on your investment. It is another high dollar remodel and has the most appeal only in areas with warm weather year round. A sunroom has far less value in the Midwest and Northern states and, unless it is heated, it doesn’t count when calculating your home’s square footage.
Overdoing the “Personal Touch”
There are a lot of decorating choices that help make a home reflect your personality. Just be aware that some of these changes might need to be neutralized before you put your home on the market. Too much wallpaper or brilliantly colored paint can make buyers move on to the next home on their list. Painting wooden trim any color other than white won’t appeal to the majority of buyers. Lavish light fixtures are another possible turn-off. So are rooms with themes, such as a jungle family room or a fairy tale bedroom. If you can’t live without any of these things, go ahead and invest in them during your years in the home. But, plan to make changes when you are ready to sell and do not expect to get your money back for the expense.
Making Unwise Flooring Choices
Buyers used to want carpeting throughout a home, but current trends favor hard floors. Installing hardwood floors can increase the value of your home. Save the carpet for bedrooms, maybe, but don’t put it in other areas. Also, most people are looking for quality hardwood floors that will look beautiful for decades. They think most laminate flooring looks cheap, so it can bring down your home’s value. Choice of tiles for a floor should be thoughtfully considered, too. Something that is funky-fun to you can send potential buyers right out the door. Think “mainstream” when you choose the tile.
Reducing the Number of Bedrooms and Closets
More bedrooms are better than fewer for most buyers. If you want to combine two smaller bedrooms into one master suite, it could change the comparable value of your home with the rest of the neighborhood. If everyone else has three bedrooms and you now have only two, that’s a problem. Watch out, too, for redoing a small bedroom into a large walk-in closet. People with families want the bedrooms.
Building Additions You Love, But Many Potential Buyers Do Not
- Swimming pool – This may be fun for your family, but many people see it as a hassle and a safety hazard. A pool requires regular maintenance, upkeep, and higher insurance premiums. Further, it isn’t uncommon for the buyer to put a contingency in the contract that the current owners remove the pool before the sale in complete. Putting in a pool can be very expensive, but it adds little to your home value.
- Hot tub – These have many of the same issues as pools, including upkeep, cleaning and liability. Many people just don’t want to bother with them. Also, hot tubs and swimming pools may have value in Sun Belt states, but far less in northern areas.
- Home theaters – Again, home theaters are not to everyone’s taste. Some potential buyers might see it as a waste of space and electricity. Converting it back to an empty room is expensive, especially with built in electronics.
- Built-in fishtank – An aquarium might be your favorite accessory for its beauty and entertainment value. However, a built-in tank makes it an obligation to new owners and many buyers don’t want that responsibility. An aquarium may look great to you up front, but it is costly to take care of and becomes an eyesore if not properly maintained. Installation is a big expense and so is its removal.
The bottom line is to use common sense when deciding how to remodel. If you plan to live in your home for many years, the renovations listed here are less of a problem. If you know you will be there for a shorter term, think carefully before taking the plunge. If you really want it, try to keep your changes more mainstream and be prepared for the possibility of making more changes when you decide to sell.