Whether you have lived in your home for 15+ years or only three years, surely you’ve gone through a couple of home improvement projects already. Maintaining a property is an expensive and time-consuming accomplishment, and one that will continue for as long as you remain a homeowner. There are certain home improvement projects that are very costly but can really add value to your home if you choose to sell one day. Then there are certain upgrades and projects that can actually take away from the value of your home. Do you know what the best home improvement projects are that can add value to your home? Do you know what the worst renovations attempting to add value to homes are? Below we’ve listed some of the most common projects that will not add value to your home.
- Swimming Pools
An in-ground swimming pool can cost you anywhere from $30,000 to more than $150,000 depending on the type of pool installed and the level of customization you choose. While installing a pool may seem like a great idea, it’s not an investment you should expect to see again if and when you sell your home. A swimming pool is an attractive feature to many buyers, but it’s a “nice-to-have” feature rather than an absolute necessity. If your home already came with a swimming pool, then it’s nothing to worry about, but if you are thinking about building one yourself then you need to remember that you will be adding in the pool for your own personal enjoyment rather than to add value to the home. In an area like Texas where we enjoy hot, humid summers you may be able to recoup at most 30% of your investment, but if you live anywhere else a swimming pool addition may actually decrease the value of your home.
- Extremely High-End Kitchens
Kitchen remodels are actually strongly encouraged as a way to add value to your home, but you have to do it right in order to recoup your investment. While an ultra-high-end stove and top-of-the-line custom painted tiles may look incredible in your kitchen, they won’t pay off when you list your home for sale. If you are considering moving within three to five years and you would like to update your kitchen, it’s smarter to invest in quality, energy-efficient appliances and neutral finishes that will appeal to more people. In general, too much customization in a home will turn away potential buyers. Try to stay on par with the other homes in your neighborhood – if you install too many high-end upgrades then you will own the most expensive home on the block, which doesn’t necessarily translate into the highest sales price.
- Jacuzzi Tubs
A nice, hot relaxing bath with swirling jets may sound very indulgent after a long workday, but it’s not something that a potential buyer will be willing to pay extra for. This is another one of those “nice-to-have” features that a buyer will enjoy, but it’s not a necessity. Additionally, the costs for installing a whirlpool or jacuzzi tub may be prohibitive – many homeowners will install a luxury tub only to discover that they need to invest in a larger hot water tank so that the tub will work properly. Furthermore, a tub will also result in higher energy bills and additional monthly maintenance costs. Think twice before installing a jacuzzi tub in your home – unless it’s a luxury that you are investing in for your own personal enjoyment.
- Luxury Landscaping
Landscaping can really transform the way your house looks, especially to potential buyers who pay attention to curb appeal when they first visit. However, going over the top to create a backyard oasis will not add any extra money to your asking price. Indulging in landscaping that brings you joy is nice and something you should do if you plan to stay in your home for a while as it can improve your quality of life. However, if you are planning to sell your home the cost and expense of landscape design is not something you’ll be able to recoup in a sale. Instead of investing in expensive landscaping you can make small changes to your lawn to add curb appeal to your home. A well-maintained grassy area, subtle updates, trimmed shrubs, bright flowers and charming fixtures will really boost the “wow” factor of the front of a home.
- Upgraded Utilities
If you spent thousands of dollars to install brand new copper plumbing throughout your house, replaced the sewer system or upgraded the electrical wiring it’s not likely that this will translate into a higher asking price if you choose to sell your home. These types of improvements are considered maintenance, and they’re important so that the home stays healthy and updated, but they are not a luxury that will bring in more buyers. If anything, you need to make these investments so that your home will remain competitive once it hits the market. You don’t want to be the only house on the street that still has outdated utilities – just don’t fool yourself into thinking that upgrading the equipment will allow you to mark up the price tag if you choose to sell.
- New Roof or HVAC System
While a buyer will certainly appreciate a home that comes with a new roof or HVAC system, they won’t pay extra for it. Replacing a system or a roof that is faulty or past its life expectancy is considered a maintenance issue, not an upgrade. Besides, if the roof or HVAC system need to be replaced this will come up as an issue during a home inspection and you may end up having to pay for it anyway or risk falling out of escrow and moving on to another buyer.
- Painting Your House
Painting can actually be a very cost-effective improvement that you can make before you sell your home, but it’s important to select the right colors – and maybe consider doing some of the work yourself to save some money. If you paint your home in outrageous colors, you’re more likely to turn away potential buyers. If you paint your home to fix peeling paint or to update the inside so it looks fresher and cleaner, then you are more likely to recoup your investment.
- Outdated Décor Styles
If you are considering selling your home, try to stay away from any renovations that feature outdated décor styles. Simple renovations that are meant to spruce up the home so that it appeals to a bigger pool of buyers are strongly encouraged, but if you spend money to install gold-toned bathroom fixtures, white appliances or new carpet we would strongly advise against it. Décor trends change quite often, and you don’t want to discourage a potential buyer from considering your home if they are turned off by the outdated updates.
- Solar Panels
Solar panels are a very trendy upgrade that brings in great savings and energy efficiency. While many salespeople who sell solar panels will tell you that installing them will increase your home’s value that is not necessarily true. A buyer will not want to shoulder the cost of an upgrade that you made – they may enjoy the convenience, but if the panels weren’t there, they’d probably be ok with paying regular pricing for electricity. Additionally, if you finance the solar panels you probably won’t be able to sell the home without fully paying off the balance at closing – this is not often disclosed.
- New Wall-To-Wall Carpets
While a real estate listing may highlight “new carpeting throughout” as a selling point, a modern homebuyer may actually cringe at the idea of having wall-to-wall carpet throughout the entire property. Carpets are not as popular as they once were, and they are expensive to replace. If you are considering updating the floors in your home, rather than replacing or installing new carpet, consider restoring existing wood floors or even installing new wood or tile throughout for a more profitable investment.
It can be difficult to imagine spending thousands of dollars on a home improvement project that will not be reflected in the value of your property when it comes time to sell. Many homeowners will justify the spend of an upgrade by looking forward to the extra money they can make once they sell. However, not every single improvement or upgrade will bring you a high return on the investment, if any at all. It’s important to distinguish between home improvement projects that you would really enjoy having for yourself, like a jacuzzi tub or backyard oasis, and one that would be an investment to attract paying buyers. It’s also important to realize that certain investments into your property, like upgrading plumbing, a roof or HVAC system, are not improvements that will bring you more cash – they are simply considered general maintenance to keep the home healthy and functioning at a certain standard. If you’re considering selling your Bryan-College Station home check out our tips for sellers, and contact us so we can help you prepare.