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Home improvements and renovations are meant to add to your comfort and convenience. They should also increase the value of your investment. Poor planning and questionable choices decrease the value and saleability of most homes.

20 Upgrades That Hurt Home Value

Unless you live in your forever home, don’t make renovations too personal. Your tastes are not necessarily those of a potential buyer’s. Anything that shrinks the customer pool or invites lower offers is a poor upgrade investment.

Worst Home Improvements That Devalue Your Home

Landscaping and Trees

Cluttered badly planned landscaping or trees that shed huge amounts of leaves can be bad curb appeal choices. Buyers usually consider the amount of upkeep required and may be turned off by the idea of raking leaves, clipping hedges, and watering gardens. Or having to pay someone to do the work.


Roof Solar Panels

Adding solar panels to a roof is a bit of a contentious issue. The idea of saving energy costs appeals to some buyers but the cost of maintenance and replacement will turn off others. You will likely never recover the full cost of the panels and installation when selling your home.


Eliminating a Bedroom

Knocking out a wall between bedrooms to create one large bedroom or enlarging a master bedroom lowers the value of your home. It eliminates prospective buyers looking for enough separate bedrooms for their entire family.


Eliminating Closets

Storage space is an important component of any house. Closets are even more important to homes without basements or garages. Eliminating closets may also eliminate potential buyers.


Carpeting

Wood flooring–real hardwood or laminate–is the preferred type of flooring. Many homes have wall-to-wall carpet laid over hardwood. It is expensive to remove the carpet and refinish the original floor. Or to remove the carpet and install new laminate. Area rugs are less expensive and easy to remove. They are very attractive when done right.


Paint Colors

Bright red, pink, or green walls might appeal to you or your daughter. Potential buyers see the time and cost of repainting with more neutral colors.


Wallpaper and Texture

Once applied, wallpaper and texture on walls and ceilings are difficult to remove. An entire bedroom wallpapered in a Barbie motif does not attract many people without children or with teenage sons.

Textured ceilings and walls were popular decades ago. They appear dated and potential buyers may suspect you are covering something up. Removing texture often involves replacing drywall. Buyers reduce the offering price accordingly.


Home Office

In today’s work-from-home environment, converting a bedroom into a home office is an attractive idea. A true home office conversion can cost over $3000.00 for electrical upgrades, extra soundproofing (insulation and door), shelves, and flooring (carpet removal). Return on investment at sale time is approximately 46%. Buyers looking for a certain number of bedrooms will likely not make an offer.


Outdoor Storage Shed

Storage sheds reduce the amount of open backyard area. Over 50% of buyers will buy a smaller home if it has more open yard space. Sheds are not a positive selling feature and may reduce the offer.


Swimming Pool

Expensive to install. Costly upkeep and maintenance. Unusable for months in colder climates. Swimming pools increase the value of a home by less than 7%. Many buyers do not want the hassle and cost of maintaining one–especially if they don’t have kids or won’t use it. Swimming pools reduce outdoor area even more than storage sheds.


Hot Tubs

Built-in hot tubs take up space–in the house or in the yard. They are expensive and require maintenance. Not everyone likes them or uses them. They are costly to remove and buyers will factor that cost into their offer.


Converting Garage Into Exercise Room Or In-Law Suite

Most people buying houses with a garage want the garage for vehicle parking and/or a storage area. If the modifications are easy and inexpensive to remove, potential buyers may still be interested. If not, they just move along to other options.


Additions

Building an addition to a house is costly–well over $200.00 per square foot. They require permits and inspections. Buyers and home inspectors want documentation to make sure they are safe and won’t have to be repaired or removed. Additions are often overbuilt for the neighborhood.


Sunroom Addition

Sunrooms are attractive and pleasant spaces when added to most homes. They are expensive–up to $100,000.00. The return on investment when the home is sold is less than half of the cost. In colder climates, a 3-season sunroom is rarely used more than half the year.


High-End Kitchens

The kitchen is one of the main selling features of any home but spending a lot of money on upscale appliances and countertops only returns about 50% – 60% of your investment. The house may sell quicker but unless you get years of use from your upgrades, they are a money loser. Stick with decent middle-of-the-road kitchen renovations.


Luxury Bathroom Upgrades

You might like a luxury bathroom with plenty of bells and whistles like an oversized whirlpool tub, a giant walk-in shower, and a high-end vanity, sink, and taps. Your potential buyers may see difficult to clean, difficult to access, and expensive replacement. Like high-end kitchens, luxury bathrooms rarely return much more than 50% of the investment.


Adding a Bathroom

Adding an extra bathroom is another poor return on investment–less than 60%. Bathrooms are expensive to build–plumbing, electrical, ventilation, framing, fixtures, etc. Buyers may like the idea of an extra bathroom or ensuite, but many resent the loss of floor area in another room.

High-End Light Fixtures

Fancy light fixtures and wall sconces become dated after a decade or so. You may love a chandelier. Prospective buyers? Maybe not so much. They may plan to replace them, figure out the cost, and offer less for the house.


DIY Disasters

Know what you don’t know. DIY renovations cost much less than contractor renovations–initially. Substandard workmanship costs money on sale day. Only do your own renovations if you truly have the ability.

Most buyers pay for a home inspection before closing the deal. Work that does not meet building codes, is dangerous, or shoddy usually ends without a sale or drastically lower offers.


Match Upgrades To Your Neighborhood

Upgrade your house to the standards of your neighborhood. Expecting an offer of $450,000.00 for a house in a $250,000.00 neighborhood is a bad plan. Your upgrades may make it worth that much in a different location. Buyers consider the value of surrounding homes when making buying decisions.

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