It may surprise you, but some of the most spectacular home renovations are valueless in the eyes of buyers. What you might consider luxury, another might see as a waste of time, money, and space.
One of homeowners’ biggest home renovation mistakes is adding unnecessary features to their homes. Others make undesirable changes, turning off prospective buyers from putting in an offer. Whether you plan to live in your house a bit longer or plan to list it soon, you should protect your home’s value by avoiding these 10 renovations.
1. Connecting Rooms
You may dream of a lavish primary bedroom but connecting two rooms for one larger one significantly reduces your home’s value. Potential buyers with children will want enough bedrooms for everyone to have their own, even if they are smaller.
Nowadays, families need extra bedrooms to accommodate parents and grandparents, too. Generations United says 1 in 4 Americans live in multigenerational households — a jump from 7% to 26% from 2011 to 2021.
You may have dabbled in home improvements, but anything more than a touch-up of paint or caulk is best left to the pros. Small mistakes can lead to disastrous effects that can be costly and dangerous. For example, even the slightest millimeter off using a fastener can result in uneven load distribution. Eventually, the pieces might loosen and come apart. At worst, it could cause injury.
DIY projects are certainly more budget-friendly than calling a professional, but prospective buyers will notice subpar work. These mistakes could lead to a decreased home value and expensive repairs.
Stepping down on soft, warm carpeting in the wintertime might feel nice under your feet, but homebuyers would much rather see wood flooring, particularly in the common living areas.
Carpets contain more than 91,000 colony-forming units — about 30.2 times more germs than refrigerator handles and 5.7 times more germs than toilet seats.
You can expect only a 25% to 40% return on investment (ROI) by replacing carpeting with more carpeting. Conversely, hardwood floors have a 70% to 80% ROI in the current market.
A swimming pool has one of the worst ROIs unless you live in a warmer climate or upscale neighborhood. Potential buyers have little enthusiasm for maintenance and operational costs.
Filtration may run about $725 to $1,525 without installation costs. Of course, you might also spend between $230 and $1,600 for upkeep and chemical treatments. Even if you decide not to maintain it yourself, you will need to pay someone to do it for you.
Homebuyers look for a well-kept home with easy, low-cost maintenance — especially younger, cost-conscious buyers. A swimming pool is less likely to deliver.
Converting your garage into extra living space may or may not increase your home value. The additional space is invaluable for some current homeowners and potential buyers, especially if another person is moving in.
However, many agree an attached garage is more valuable in urban areas. City dwellers park their cars in garages to avoid having to find street parking. Additionally, 85% of homeowners deem garages essential or desirable for storage.
Patterned floor tiles and backsplashes are a playful way to incorporate your design tastes. For instance, you can add Mediterranean flair behind the stovetop or lay an intriguing farmhouse pattern on your bathroom floor. However, the less personalization, the better.
Not every prospective buyer walking through your home will share your design preferences or vision. All they might foresee is the cost to demo and replace the upgrades you made, bringing down your home’s value.
Consider using a traditional white subway tile backsplash or something neutral in the bathroom. These plainer styles will always stay in style, regardless of market trends.
According to a 2023 Neighbor.com survey, 25% of people need or want more space in their homes. Perhaps more surprisingly, 1 in 4 homeowners outgrow their square footage in two years.
Eliminating storage throughout the house will reduce your home’s value. Avoid getting rid of closet space for whatever reason. Instead, optimizing closet space for better storage or converting a closet to a pantry is best.
You might view built-in aquariums as a luxury item in your home, or you may just like fish. Either way, a built-in aquarium is not a home upgrade you should consider.
Most potential buyers are uninterested in built-in aquariums for the upkeep and maintenance costs. It is also expensive to have it removed from the home. If you must have fish, opt for a standalone fish tank, which you can easily assemble and disassemble.
Adding a sunroom to your home might seem like a value-boosting luxury, but it has less ROI than you would think. The only way to potentially make back your money is to turn the space into a four-season room, which costs more.
A four-season sunroom is most expensive at $25,000 to $85,000, depending on its size, insulation, heating, and cooling. However, this type of sunroom adds square footage since it is usable year-round.
About 57% of homeowners will own smart home technology by 2025. Nowadays, smart televisions, thermostats, speakers, lighting, alarm systems and at-home personal assistants are staples in most households.
A McKinsey study also reports a whopping 50 billion devices will connect to the Internet of Things by 2025, amounting to another 79.4 zettabytes of information annually.
Technology is advancing quickly — perhaps too quickly for home integration. Home devices will likely become outdated shortly after you install them into your home. Therefore, it is best to avoid investing in built-in home automation. Instead, focus on integrating energy-efficient appliances and features to accrue savings.
Some home improvements are nice to have. However, if you are considering moving soon, you will want to upgrade your home with buyers in mind. Weigh the project costs against the potential ROI to decide if it is worth doing.
About the Author: Evelyn Long is a writer and the editor-in-chief of Renovated. Her work has been published by the National Association of Realtors, McKissock, and other online publications.