5 Renovations That Do not Enhance Your Resale Worth


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The first major home renovation my husband and I ever did was insulate the walls of a 1921 Craftsman bungalow we shared in Columbus, Ohio. This project made the house much more comfortable in winter and summer, as the existing insulation was the most cost-effective option in the 1920s – and thus completely inadequate for maintaining warmth in winter or coolness in summer.

Unfortunately, despite the undeniable improvement in our comfort levels, we’ve found that our new insulation doesn’t add to our resale value. Even though we put nearly $ 5,000 in labor and materials into this renovation, we didn’t see that money and effort in our selling price when we had to move a few years later.

Not all renovations increase your resale value. That doesn’t necessarily mean doing without working on your home if you don’t see value in selling it. For example, I would definitely re-isolate this house knowing the money will only improve my comfort.

But there are some home renovation projects that you just can’t expect to see the return on your investment. Knowing this, it is worth considering how long you plan to live in your home and whether you are just renovating to add value to your home before committing to any of these home improvement projects.

1. Invisible improvements

The insulation of our bungalow was an invisible improvement that needed to be made, but nothing seemed to change the house. Unlike more “sexier” improvements like upgrading a kitchen or bathroom, or even adding a new roof, invisible improvements do not change the look of the house. These are things like rearranging the yard to prevent water from entering the basement, updating the HVAC system, adding bricks and chimneys, and replacing gutters.

While these improvements often need to be made to protect your home, the downside is that you may not recoup the cost of these improvements when it is time to sell. It can be helpful to view these renovation costs as a way to protect the current value of your home rather than a way to increase your future resale value.

2. swimming pool

While homeowners in Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, and Southern California find that a swimming pool is a big selling point for their homes, nationwide it won’t. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to install a pool is over $ 27,000. This excludes annual maintenance costs, which range from $ 500 to $ 4,000. It is these maintenance costs, as well as the work that homeowners either do themselves or must outsource to keep their pool sparkling clean, that will put off many potential buyers. Add in the additional insurance requirements that homeowners with pools must get and it should be clear why many potential buyers would rather not invest in a home with a pool.

For this reason, you should only cover the cost of installing a pool if you really want to use it yourself and are likely to stay in your home for at least five years. Otherwise, it may make more sense to invest in membership in your local pool.

3. Bathroom and kitchen upgrades

Remodeling your bathroom and / or kitchen is a great way to add value to your home, right? Yes and no. While replacing dingy tiles and updating old appliances will definitely help your home shine for potential buyers, there is such a thing as overdoing your bathroom or kitchen upgrades.

Especially if you add granite countertops, custom cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, and ceramic tile to your kitchen and bathroom, but the rest of the house is still an ordinary suburban home, potential buyers will see the home as a place to work – rather than a home that feels ready to move into. The over-improvement of the bathroom and kitchen could lead buyers to think that it is not worth trying to match the rest of the home. (See Also: 9 Home Improvers You Should Always Negotiate)

4. Built-in high-end electronics

We all may dream of living in a George Jetson house – which has all of the electronic needs you have built in – but such a renovation can hurt your resale value.

There are mutliple reasons for this. First, while your personal movie theater (with a state-of-the-art remotely controlled projector) is exactly what you want your home to be, a potential buyer might just see one room that needs to be ripped out and remodeled ASAP As technology advances at breakneck speed, your state-of-the-art electronics will soon look as outdated as carpets and gold fridges.

If you need or want high-end electronics built into your home, make sure you install them for your own pleasure and convenience as a buyer is unlikely to appreciate them too.

5. Extravagant landscaping

Improving your landscaping requires a gentle touch. On the one hand, landscaping is often touted as an important aspect of curb appeal, and it is certainly a great way to attract potential buyers if your yard and yard looks attractive and inviting.

On the other hand, lavish landscaping can put off buyers. Those with black thumbs might look at your huge flowering garden with sculpted shrubs and pond and decide that they are not up to the challenge of maintaining it, and those who enjoy gardening may not like your vision and want to start over.

If you are rebuilding the Versailles Gardens to make your house feel like home, then there is nothing wrong with investing in this type of renovation. But make sure that you are doing this type of job for yourself, and not because you hope to get the money you spent back when you’re ready to sell. (See Also: 14 Ways To Make Your Garden Look Awesome For Under $ 100)

Renovating for the right reasons

While many experts focus on resale value as a crucial factor in a home improvement project, it is important to remember that you now live in your home. Deciding which home renovation to work on based on what someone else might like is insane.

When upgrading your home, consider your own comfort levels, living plans, and potential resale value. They are all important.

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