10 Renovations That Won’t Increase the Value of Your Home

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If you’re tempted to jump into the red-hot housing market or simply want to make improvements to your property that will retain value, keep in mind that not all home improvements are created equal. Here’s a list of 10 renovations that you might want to avoid if you’re hoping to get your money back when you sell.

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1. Luxury upgrades

Unless you live in a luxury neighborhood where all the bells and whistles are expected, consider a minor kitchen upgrade rather than a high-end remodel. A high-end kitchen will recoup around 54% of the costs, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2020 Cost vs. Value Report. On the other hand, you’ll get back 77% of your investment if you opt for a less-extensive kitchen remodel.

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2. DIY projects

Duct taping pipes together, laying your own floors, and custom painting walls can all be fine, as long as you possess pro-level skills. If your DIY projects look like DIY projects, though, potential homebuyers are going to wonder why you didn’t bring professionals into the house.

It can be tough to see your house from someone else’s perspective. You’re so accustomed to the way things look that you no longer see the duct tape, crooked paint lines, or flooring that doesn’t quite meet the wall. If you’re planning to sell your home any time in the future, ask a trusted friend to help you identify areas that may need to be touched up by a professional.

3. Garage conversions

Garage conversions are best left to those who plan on staying in their home forever. That’s because, on average, it costs $10,000 to convert a garage into a living space. Yet, according to a National Association of Home Builders survey, 81% of buyers rated garage storage as either “desirable” or “essential.” That means that there are a lot more people looking for a garage than a bonus space.

4. Oversized additions

If adding a large family room or second floor to your home makes it the largest house in the neighborhood, you do yourself no favors. That’s because, according to The Real Estate Appraisal Group, most buyers choose a particular area because it’s in their price range. As a result, they don’t typically want to pay more for the biggest home in the neighborhood. Instead, they can buy a smaller home in their expected price range and bank the money they save.

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5. Swimming pools

Planning to finance a swimming pool installation? Think again. As much as you may enjoy a swimming pool in your backyard, an in-ground pool costs around $42,000 to install but only adds $21,000 to the home’s value. It’s another feature that works best in a “forever” home.

6. Home theaters

As much fun as they are, home theaters are considered a niche upgrade and do not appeal to all home buyers. In fact, a home theater offers a measly 25% to 35% return on investment. A better bet may be to set up a nice family viewing area in the basement or living room.

7. Lavish lighting

Lighting styles change, and what’s “in” one day is dated the next. Just when everyone seems to put the same type of lighting into their kitchen or bath (remember Hollywood lights?), newer, fresher styles show up in home magazines. If you plan on selling, your best bet is to opt for neutral, no-frill lighting. That way, there’s no risk of a houseful of costly — but dated — lighting.

8. Extensive landscaping

When it comes to landscaping, it’s a delicate balance. Naturally, you want well-kept, attractive landscaping that adds to the curb appeal of your home. But, on the other hand, what you don’t want is landscaping so costly and ornate that a homebuyer worries they’ll need to hire a high-end gardener to take care of it all.

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9. Bathroom additions

You may want to think twice about adding a new bath before selling. That’s because an entire bathroom addition provides only 50% to 60% return on investment. A better use of your money might be to remodel an existing bathroom.

10. Sunroom additions

Sunrooms provide a cozy space for tired homeowners to relax at the end of the day, and yet, homebuyers are not interested in paying much more for a home with a sunroom. While the cost of adding a sunroom can exceed $75,000, it adds only $35,000 to the value of a home.

Home may be where the heart is, but it’s also an investment. The best way to make sure your investment shines is to choose upgrades with a potential sale in mind.

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