Smart homeowners think about resale value even before they purchase a new home. That’s why you don’t want your home improvement idea to land a spot on this list of worst home renovations.
Homeowners like to make upgrades for a variety of reasons, a simple freshening up, a cosmetic change, or a mechanical upgrade, but in many instances with some consideration toward boosting resale value. However, renovations that don’t build equity are the equivalent of throwing away good money. Don’t make these home renovation mistakes that result in a low return on investment.
Before setting out on a major home improvement project, review your market, and determine what will have the greatest potential to make your property stand out. Your realtor can help you.
- Luxury Bathroom. An upgraded bathroom is always a good idea, but it’s a fine line between an attractive, enhanced bathroom space and something from the Boca Raton Resort or the St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort in the Maldives that looks like you went ahead and added an entire bathroom wing. Your idea of luxury may not appeal to a buyer, so go easy on the waterfall showers, custom cabinetry, room-length skylights, and chandeliers. Remodeling says that bathroom additions only recoup a little more than 50% the expense.
- Swimming Pool. Who doesn’t want to sip a cool drink and relax by their own swimming pool? Lounging in the lap of luxury is the image you’re seeing, right? However, putting in a pool as an investment probably won’t pay off. Pools are extremely expensive to install, and no one thinks about the cost of maintaining one. Plus, buyers with toddlers or a couple about to start a family won’t want that hazard in their backyard, so some prospects will see it as a negative. HouseLogic, a home improvement website, says that a home’s value will increase no more than 7% after installing an in-ground pool, and an above-ground pool can actually decrease a home’s value.
- New roofing. Your house will certainly make a statement and have great curb appeal if you install a roof of cedar shakes, tin, or architectural shingles, but don’t look to add in that expense in your sale price. Most buyers see a roof as a bare necessity, rather than a luxury feature that will motivate them to pay a premium. A solid roof that doesn’t leak is essential, but one made of slate is over the top.
- Sunroom Addition. Unfortunately for us in the Sunshine State, a sunroom addition has one of the poorest returns on investment, according to Remodeling. You expect to eat about half of the expense when you sell. Plus, depending on the materials, size, and features you want in your sunroom, the project can run anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000—one of the most expensive home upgrades.
- Solar Panels. It’s a real eco-friendly upgrade and a plus for some buyers; however, most potential owners won’t see them as a selling point. Solar panels are great for energy savings, but it can take several years for the returns to catch up with the initial price.
- Adding a Home Office. This seems a bit illogical with all of the people around the country working remotely. As one expert explains it, a private office is typically too niche of an addition to earn much cash from a potential buyer. In other words, it’s a customization of your home that may not appeal to the mass market. Expect to turn off some prospective buyers if you sell and know that the return on this investment is typically about 46%.
- Extremely Personalized Décor. Your realtor will tell you that when you sell, aside from staging, depersonalization allows buyers to see themselves in your home. That means opting for neutral enhancements that don’t require a specialized design taste. So skip the Buccaneers man cave unless you’re their Number One Fan, and you plan to watch games here for the next 30 years. If you sell your home with a room painted in Buccaneer red, pewter, and Bay orange, you may be limited the potential buyers to those who are as crazy about the Bucs as you are. And with losing records the past three years, it might be a pretty small group of takers.
- High-End Landscaping. Upscale landscaping, water features, window boxes, and other enhancements outside can dramatically improve a property’s curb appeal. But like the expensive roof, you won’t see a great return on your efforts. An elaborate outdoor dining area with unique shrubs and trees may get a “wow” on a first impression from a buyer, but the thought of regular maintenance and upkeep may then sink in, and that initial enthusiasm may fade.
- Major Kitchen Remodel. Yes, we love our kitchens, but a typical remodel will only fetch 55 to 60% on the investment. Unfortunately, the cost to change your kitchen into a high-end culinary center is at least $50,000. So, before you install the granite or marble counter tops, the fancy custom kitchen cabinets that extend to the ceiling, and the custom lighting, know that you won’t see all that money at the sale.
Before saying, “I’ve always wanted….,” take a breath and think about whether that home improvement really will improve your home when it comes time to sell.
It’s important to remember that renovations should enhance your home, rather than price it out of your local market.
Only spend the money for an item on this list if it’s for your own personal enjoyment—not as an investment – especially if you plan to remain in the home for a long time. Go Bucs!