Most homeowners, especially before listing a house, think that making home improvements will make their place more valuable -- and get a high selling point. A mistake. Not all upgrades ensure good return on investment or ROI when a house goes on the market.
So, if you’re planning a home renovation specifically with high resale value in mind, it’s important to do your research before investing in any elaborate home upgrade.
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Let this article guide you through some home improvements that will not increase your home’s value at the time of a sale.
Building a swimming pool or a mini spa
Don’t be fooled by the TV commercials showing kids splashing around in a swimming pool or wine-sipping adults relaxing in a Jacuzzi -- urging you to add such a feature to your house.
Selling a house with a swimming pool (or spa) can in fact pose problems. Many buyers shy away from purchasing a house with a pool as it involves a lot of upkeep. They are difficult to maintain. Moreover, they can be a safety hazard -- especially for a family with small children and pets.
Designing your home’s layout according to trends
Following home design trends blindly will not add long-term value. A home upgrade that looks good to you may not attract potential buyers.
For example, creating a large master suite by combining two neighboring bedrooms. The fact that you’re cutting down on the number of bedrooms, can be quite detrimental from a sale point of view. Buyers are generally looking for a certain number of bedrooms so it's always better to have more rooms than less.
Upgrading your utilities
Owning state-of-the-art utilities is of course desirable but paying thousands of dollars to upgrade them is unlikely to bring you more money in return.
For instance, installing new plumbing, replacing the rain gutters, or upgrading the electrical panel will not markup the price tag. However, their absence will definitely make you lose money during selling time.
Such types of improvements are generally considered home maintenance -- standard upgrades that are a part of owning a house.
Installing new HVAC system or roof
Although home buyers appreciate a house with a new furnace or a sleek HVAC system, they will never pay extra money for it. The same goes for a new roof. If you’ve had a roof replacement because the old roof was damaged, you can’t expect to get paid more. It’s a maintenance issue that you should in any case take care of.
Getting extensive outdoor landscaping
Extensive front yard or backyard landscaping won't bring you big bucks at the time of a resale. So, before installing that dreamy waterfall cascading down into a Koi pond, an intricate garden pathway, or a fairy tale gazebo -- know that you will not recoup the investment.
Your landscaping choices should be your personal preference -- something you enjoy, not for monetary returns.
Remodeling your basement
Unless you add a bedroom (or two) with a basement kitchen, remodeling your basement won’t necessarily pay you more than what your property is worth. It may perhaps help to seal the deal faster but will not add to your ROI.
Building a deck
A deck, although a great addition to any house, is not a good selling point. It’s a feature that homeowners would want to customize according to their preferences. They may not like the design you chose or the quality of its work.
Therefore, specially constructing a deck before a sale is a near-futile exercise. However, do remember to stain or reseal your existing deck prior to listing your home. You can use a fresh coat of paint if required.
Installing new flooring
Installing a new floor can be quite expensive depending on the flooring material you use. While a hardwood flooring looks exotic, do not rush to install one in a hurry to get brownie points.
If you already have a wooden floor, simply get it sanded and coated. You can deep-clean the other types of floor. Replace any cracked tile positively.
Getting rid of your only bathtub
Home buyers love large, luxurious bathrooms -- preferably with a shower and a bathtub. Therefore, getting rid of bathtubs in all your bathrooms can turn away potential buyers. Consider keeping one tub at least as most families with small children prefer to buy a house with a bathtub.
Adding solar panels
While installing solar panels is an excellent endeavour for the environment, they do nothing for your property's selling price. And, if you’re still in the process of financing the expensive solar panel installation, you’ll have to pay off the balance at closing before selling your home.
Making decor changes
Decor trends change even before you can say MISSISSIPPI! What is in vogue today will look dated when you’re actually ready to sell.
Moreover, cosmetic renovation choices can be quite personal. For instance, you may love your pristine all-white kitchen, but a young, adventurous couple who plans to buy your home may not. Or, your exquisite light fixtures may be a bit too much for them!
Unless your decor is really high-end — designed by a professional interior designer — don't expect much from it. And, DO NOT decorate your home in the latest style just for resale reasons.
Installing wall-to-wall carpeting
Most homeowners anyway prefer to replace the old carpeting in a newly acquired house to match their own taste. So, DO NOT spend money and effort on putting up new carpeting. Instead, plan to get your existing carpet steam-cleaned to remove those stubborn ugly stains before a sale.
Your home isn’t just your personal sanctuary, it’s also an investment for the future. While making some home improvements -- such as attic insulation, kitchen renovation, or bathroom remodeling -- will increase your home’s resale value, keep in mind that not all renovations will actually get you a better ROI.
Your home is worth what it’s worth because of its size, zip code, and quality of construction -- and not necessarily its characteristics. Study your neighborhood demography and make changes accordingly. Consult your real estate agent if you require help.
Do not over-renovate your home lest it seems like a ghastly expensive investment compared to other houses in the area.