Home improvements are typically made to improve the functionality and look of a home, but renovations also can increase the value of a home. Certain changes to a home can make it more attractive to prospective buyers, while other renovations may make a home less appealing. For example, a complete overhaul of an outdated kitchen is often a smart financial move, while installing a pool or hot tub may not be worth the cost to homeowners. Separating the good from the bad renovations makes smart financial sense, and homeowners looking to improve their homes’ resale values may want to avoid the following projects.
• Bedroom and garage conversions: Changing a room’s traditional function often turns off buyers. For example, turning a garage into a home gym might seem like a great idea for you, but it may not be so appealing to prospective buyers. Buyers can certainly reconvert the space, but they would consider the costs of such a conversion when making their offers on the home.
• Stylized colors on trims and rooms: Painting over unappealing colors is a project many homeowners can handle. However, some may be discouraged by a home that has too many bright colors or textures on the walls and trims.
Buyers often want homes that are move-in ready, meaning they can get settled in before undertaking large projects. A living room painted in purple or zebra print may not fit the design scheme of many buyers. Dark colors do not easily disappear, and taping off and painting trimwork or changing it entirely can be equally time-consuming. Stick with neutral colors when selling a home, even if this means giving rooms a new coat of paint before putting your house on the market.
• Outdoor hot tubs and indoor spa tubs: Many people find soaking in a bubbling brew of hot water quite inviting. But buyers often do not want to inherit a used hot tub. Although hot tubs are cleaned and maintained with sanitizing chemicals, some people may view them as unsanitary. Removing a hot tub can be labor-intensive. And much like a pool, a hot tub may not be appealing to buyers with young children.
• Removing closets: Closet space is often high on buyers’ priority lists. Turning closet space into an office or removing a closet to make a room bigger may be fine for those who are staying put. But these modifications can be a turn-off to prospective buyers.
• Too many features: In an effort to “keep up with the Joneses,” some homeowners will over-improve their home to the point that it outshines all others on the street. There is a case for having nice things, but homeowners may struggle to sell a home that is disproportionate to other homes in the area. Practice moderation when making improvements to attract more buyers.
These suggestions are merely guidelines and should not replace the advice of a reputable real estate agent when marketing a home. Housing features and what buyers are interested in vary across the country. Some items may be desireable in specific areas but undesireable elsewhere. Making informed choices before renovating can help homeowners recoup the largest share of their investments.