At some point, everyone will make improvements to their home, whether it’s a DIY project or an extensive upgrade. Not all renovations are created equally, howeve r—there are plenty of home improvements that don’t add resale value to your house.
If you’re planning to sell your home in the future, here are 11 different home improvements that won’t add significant value — and a few upgrades that will.
While considering new flooring, avoid automatically opting for wall-to-wall carpeting. Many buyers seek hardwood floors, making extensive carpeting less appealing. Investing in new carpets might not align with potential buyers’ preferences.
Homes with substantial hardwood flooring often command higher appraisals than those with an even mix of hardwood and carpets. Consider installing hardwood or a hardwood alternative like tile in areas that need new flooring. If you choose carpets, opt for neutral, cost-effective options.
Large-scale replacements like roofs and HVAC systems should address specific issues rather than being proactive projects. “The expectation is that these systems are in good working order, so there really is no ROI on these systems, but it can improve the ability to sell,” says Victoria Fitch, Associate General Manager at Orchard.
However, these endeavors can be costly and time-intensive. If these components aren’t malfunctioning, there’s little reason to upgrade them to the latest models. While having a new roof and HVAC system can be attractive to buyers, you’ll rarely recoup as much as you invested into the remodel.→
Modernizing bathrooms might lead you to consider transitioning from shower-tub combos to standalone showers. While stylish, this transformation might not translate to increased home value. If you prefer a standing shower, consider adding a separate bathtub, too—it’s a “best of both worlds” solution that will ensure your bathroom still appeals to buyers later on.
Converting a garage into a living space can be tempting for extra square footage, but it might not align with the preferences of potential buyers. Many buyers prioritize having a functional garage for parking and storage. A missing garage could limit the home’s attractiveness, particularly for families who need the space.
→ Read more about how much value a garage adds to a house
While a home addition’s extra square footage can enhance livability, overextending the size of your home beyond the norm in your neighborhood might not yield a proportional increase in value. Buyers who are looking in a specific price range might be put off by a home that’s larger and more expensive than surrounding properties.
Basement and attic renovations can provide extra usable space, which makes this an appealing option for homeowners. However, the return on investment might not be substantial, as these areas might not be as central to a home’s functionality as the main living spaces. Additionally, these renovations might not align with every buyer’s intended use for these areas.
Solar panels offer eco-friendly benefits and reduced energy costs. However, the upfront cost of installation might not be fully recouped when selling. Buyers may not assign significant value to solar panels or may prefer to install their own systems with the latest technology. While solar panels can create ROI for homeowners who plan to amortize that investment over a longer period of time, that ROI doesn’t translate into higher property values.
Custom luxury upgrades like high-end kitchens and bathrooms can indeed enhance a home’s aesthetic appeal. For example, a custom wine cellar can be a unique and sophisticated addition that’s appealing to wine enthusiasts. However, not all buyers are passionate about wine or willing to dedicate space to a cellar. The investment in building a wine cellar might not translate into a significant increase in resale value for the broader market.
Similarly, specialized, high-end kitchen appliances can elevate a kitchen’s aesthetics and functionality, but their impact on resale value might not be proportionate to their cost. The same goes for adding a hot tub. Due to their personalized nature, buyers often do not appreciate or are willing to pay a premium for these features. The cost of these upgrades might not be justified by the relatively modest increase in resale value.
Home decor trends can change quickly, and while you might love hip colors and bold patterns, potential buyers might not share your taste. Quirky wallpaper could make it harder for buyers to visualize their own furnishings and decor in the space. Removing or replacing wallpaper can also be time-consuming and costly, potentially discouraging buyers. Similarly, unique taste in paint colors might not resonate with all potential buyers. Bright, bold, or highly personalized paint choices might distract buyers from the home’s underlying features. Neutral colors are generally more appealing to a broader range of buyers and can help them envision their own decor.
While new windows can improve energy efficiency and curb appeal, their high cost might not translate directly into a higher resale price. Energy savings can be difficult to quantify for potential buyers, and other factors often play a more significant role in their decision-making. Here's an in depth guide to residential energy credits and whether or not windows qualify.
Swimming pools are considered by many to be a luxury feature, and they can be expensive to install and maintain. In some regions, pools might only be usable for a limited portion of the year due to climate. Potential buyers might view a pool as a maintenance and safety concern, which could impact their willingness to pay a premium.
So which home improvements have the best return on your investment? Consider these renovations.
While some of the improvements listed above might align with your personal preferences, it’s important to consider the broader appeal and market trends to make informed decisions about how to enhance your home’s value. Home improvements that don’t add value can be worth it if you plan to stay in the home for the foreseeable future. But if you intend to move in the future, look for renovations that will net a higher ROI.
Ultimately, the decision to pursue any home improvement project should be balanced with the potential return on investment and the preferences of potential buyers in your local real estate market. You should also consider whether you’ll need to take out a home equity loan or dip into your savings to fund these projects, which can increase your overall costs. Choose your renovations judiciously, and you’re bound to enjoy a nicer home and a higher resale value.
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