5 Home Renovations That Could Hurt Your Home's Value

By Dan Rafter on 19 February 2016 0 comments

Planning a big home renovation? Sure, you want to enjoy that new family room or home office. But before taking on a costly remodeling project, you need to consider how the improvements you are planning could hurt your home's resale value.

It's true, certain home improvements will actually make it more difficult to sell your home. And when it's more challenging to move your home, you'll most likely have to reduce your asking price.

Of course, if you don't plan on selling for years, you might not care about resale value. But if you don't see yourself living in your home for 10 or 15 more years, think carefully before adding that in-ground swimming pool or creating the ultimate home office.

Don't Expect to Make Your Money Back

Each year, Remodeling Magazine and the National Association of Realtors publishes their Remodeling Costs vs. Value Report, which looks at 36 midrange or upscale home improvement projects. The report estimates the percentage of their dollars that homeowners who make these improvements can expect to recover when they sell their homes.

Here's the sad truth: You probably won't recover all the money you've spent on any home improvement project — unless you are replacing your front door.

The 2015 Remodeling Costs vs. Value Report says that homeowners who replaced their front door tended to earn back 101.8% of their costs. Coming in second? Homeowners who added a manufactured stone veneer to their homes earned back 92.2% of their costs, while garage door replacement projects ranked third, returning 88.5% of the money owners spent on them.

But what are some of the worst improvements owners can make?

1. Pools

Let's start with swimming pools. You might think that an in-ground swimming pool is a great addition to your home — and you might get plenty of enjoyment out of it. But many buyers won't purchase a home with a swimming pool. Pools require a ton of upkeep. And they're potentially dangerous, scaring away many buyers with younger children.

If you must have a pool, it makes more sense to purchase a traditional above-ground model. Then you can remove it when it's time to sell.

2. A Permanent Home Office

If you work from home, having a permanent home office will make life easier. But this space could hurt your sales price when it's time to move.

Most buyers would prefer an extra bedroom instead of a home office. Yes, more people are working at least part of the time from home. But many more still do not. A home office fitted with permanent shelving units and built-in cabinets might turn off buyers looking instead for an extra bedroom for their children.

3. Turning That Garage Into a Bedroom

You might want more space for your growing family, and turning a garage into an extra bedroom might seem like an affordable way to do it, especially if you have a large driveway for your cars. But resist the temptation.

Many buyers demand a garage when purchasing a home. If you can't offer them one, you might drastically reduce the number of potential buyers for your residence, forcing you to reduce your asking price.

4. Too Much Landscaping

A garden overflowing with flowers, bushes, ponds, and fountains might be a relaxing oasis, but buyers might instead see long spring and summer afternoons spent weeding and trimming. An overly landscaped backyard requires a lot of upkeep, and many buyers don't want to spend their weekends in the dirt.

5. Too Much Color

Those bright red walls add excitement to your bedroom, while the golden yellow walls of your kitchen are soothing. But here's the unfortunate news: Most buyers would prefer your home's walls to be a neutral white. That blander color scheme makes it easier for buyers to picture their own family, with their own tastes, in your home.

So while painting various rooms in your home doesn't cost a ton of money, the bright walls could turn off many potential buyers, costing you, perhaps, a lucrative sale. Before listing your home, mute those bright colors.

Have you harmed your home's value with any of these — or other — improvements?

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