5 Home Upgrades That Won’t Add Enough Value

5 Home Upgrades That Won’t Add Enough Value

Myth: All upgrades will add net value to your home.

Fact: You’ll never recoup the full cost of many types of upgrades.

You should upgrade your own home for the sake of your own enjoyment, but that doesn’t mean you’ll profit from the upgrades when selling.

If you’re looking to increase your value (above the cost of the upgrade itself), you should know that some upgrades don’t necessarily seem valuable to potential buyers.

5 of the most common upgrades that add less value to your home than the cost of the labor and materials:

1)  Putting in a pool.

Pools can be hit-or-miss in regards to value.   There may be some return but often not enough to pay for the pool itself.

A Pool can be a turnoff to some buyers.  Buyers with small children may be concerned over safety.  Buyers looking for a low maintenance yard won’t want to deal with the upkeep of a pool.  Buyers on a tight budget won’t want the expenses that are incumbent with pool ownership.

Conversely, if you’re in a warm climate where people are inclined to use a pool year-round, the response from buyers may be more favorable, but this still doesn’t mean you’ll see a profit.

Also keep in mind the money you will put into maintenance while you own the pool.  The maintenance money in addition to the installation costs makes likelihood of recouping the money low.

2)  Custom Design Decisions

Renovations that are too personalized , unless you plan on staying the your home for many years to come can be a negative for resale.  Your idea of a dream kitchen may not be everyone’s idea of a dream kitchen.

Some items may help recoup the cost, for example adding a back splash where there is none.  However, the specific type of backsplash might not matter as much to buyers as you think it will.  Items you may think of as an ‘upgrade’ like slate instead of ceramic tile, are not likely to raise an eyebrow among buyers.  Or choosing a countertop that has a beveled edge that’s complex and ornate may turn off buyers whose tastes aren’t as fancy or might be overlooked by buyers who don’t have an eye for detail.

Upgrading with custom features may wind up costing you because some buyers will factor in the cost they’ll need to spend to change the house to suit their own personal tastes.

If you’re going to upgrade your kitchen (for the sake of selling) stick with neutral design decisions.

3)  Room Conversions

Changing the features of your home or altering them to something unusual may harm your resale value.  Buyers will be looking for certain basic staples such as three bedrooms or two baths or a garage.

Every bedroom, for instance, is coveted space that can bump your listing up into the next bracket.  You may not need the extra room and would prefer to knock down a wall to create a giant walk-in closet, but most buyers aren’t going to share your interests and would prefer the extra bedroom for guests or children.

4)  Incremental Square Footage Gains

Sizeable square footage gains can be a boon in buyers minds.  For example, finishing your basement for it becomes additional living space.  But tiny changes may not give you a return proportional to their cost.

For instance, building a small sunroom is a nice touch, but not likely to increase your home value drastically.  A second family room is cute, but if you already have a living room and family room, buyers may not clamor to pay extra for the additional family room.

Added square footage that doesn’t flow well with the floor plan can also back fire.

5)  Over-Improving

When your upgrades go overboard for the neighborhood you’ll alienate buyers in 2 ways.  Buyers who are drawn to the neighborhood won’t be able to afford your home and buyers who can afford your home will prefer a different neighborhood.  No one wants to buy a mansion on a block full of split levels.

Keep the base level of your neighborhood in mind.  Tour some Open Houses in your neighborhood and see how their kitchens look before you invest a fortune in granite counters and high-end fixtures.  It pays to be a little nicer than the homes around you, but being vastly more luxurious does not.

Overall, if you want to upgrade for the sake of your own enjoyment, go for it!!!  But keep in mind that you may not more-than-recoup the cost of the improvement in the form of additional home value.

Excerpts from Trulia’s Blog / Life at Home By Paula Pant

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