Styles come and go. Design trends fade, then re-emerge. Technology innovates and iterates.
When you’re a homeowner, improvements, renovations, remodels, and additions enable you to keep your house up-to-date and functional. You may also generally assume that such tinkering will enhance the value upon resale. But this isn’t always the case.
Caution: Eight Home Improvement Projects That Might Depress Value
Certain home improvement projects command a pretty high return on investment. According to the 2019 Cost vs. Value Report, well-executed projects such as garage door replacements, minor kitchen remodels, wood deck additions, new siding, and bathroom remodels all command a fairly significant ROI.
But sometimes, a renovation comes back to bite. When you consider potential home improvement projects, you should avoid anything that may require lots of maintenance, is too niche-specific, or limits functionality.
Though a job may work for your family or fit your lifestyle, it could alienate prospective buyers, lower demand, and thereby diminish the value. Every specific real estate market has its distinctions, but here are eight home improvement projects that could hurt your home’s value.
There is such a thing as doing too much to a house or property and “over-improving” the existing structure. For example, let’s say you live in a neighborhood that’s filled with homes valued under $200,000.
Some nice upgrades may improve your residence to become the nicest house on the block, but you aren’t necessarily going to be able to sell your property for $300,000 (even if the upgrades might justify the price on paper).
There’s such a thing as pricing yourself out of a neighborhood. That can be a huge mistake. You might not want to lay expensive hardwood flooring throughout your home if all the comparable properties have carpet and laminate.
Don’t add two bedrooms to your existing four if the rest of the homes in the neighborhood mostly have just three. Upgrade from laminate to granite perhaps, not quartz or marble, when most of the kitchens are basic. Practice discipline and stay with the crowd, or you might be unpleasantly surprised by the consequences.
2. Swimming Pool Addition
On first thought, adding a swimming pool to your backyard may sound great. You can picture yourself lying on a float, sipping a cold drink, and soaking up the rays on a hot summer day.
But this may be only part of the story. Pool ownership rarely aligns with one’s expectations. An inground pool demands maintenance, cleaning, and care.
Pools are also known to leak, require new parts, and descend into disrepair. Many prospective buyers won’t even consider a property that includes a pool, or will factor in the cost to backfill it!
3. Garage Conversion
Don’t care about parking your vehicle in your garage? You may be tempted to convert the garage into an extra bedroom, office, or play area for the kids.
If this is what you want to do, go ahead! But be aware that some buyers will expect to have a garage when they purchase a home. Getting rid of yours could lower your resale value.
4. Bedroom Conversion
If you have two small bedrooms that share a wall, you might consider removing it and creating one larger space. But this could actually prove to be a poor financial move.
The number of bedrooms in a home is a key selling point, so you could knock off tens of thousands of dollars in value by removing one of these spaces.
5. Sunroom Addition
“A sunroom can be a great space to enjoy the outdoors away from the elements, but according to Remodeling, a sunroom addition is one of the worst home renovations when it comes to return on investment,” Autumn Rose writes for MSN. “In 2015, the national average mid-range sunroom addition cost $75,726 and only had a resale value of $36,704.”
By all means, add the sunroom if you believe you’ll enjoy it … but don’t make the addition as an investment. You could be disappointed by the result.
6. Trendy Material Upgrades
Home design trends surface each year. The downside is, they often disappear as quickly as they emerged.
It’s fine to stay up to date with the latest designs, but you shouldn’t get too trendy with material upgrades if you plan to sell within the next three to five years. You may have to remodel again in the interim, or risk taking a hit on the value of your home.
7. Bathtub Removal
“I’ve documented plenty of renovations where replacing a bathtub with a walk-in shower dramatically opened up a smaller bathroom. But some buyers, particularly those with families, still really want a tub,” home design blogger Nancy Mitchell writes.
“The advice I’ve seen is that removing a tub from one bathroom is fine as long as there’s at least one other bathroom in the house that has one. And having a tub may not be as important in markets (like Manhattan) where a majority of buyers don’t have kids.”
If you have built-in tub and want more space, you may be able to remove the existing item and install a smaller, stand-alone tub. This will give you the appearance of more space while retaining both the tub and shower.
8. Excessive 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,” personal finance writer Dan Rafter asserts. “An overly landscaped backyard requires a lot of upkeep, and many buyers don’t want to spend their weekends in the dirt.”
The best rule of thumb is to clean up any messes or overgrowth and landscape within reason. Some simple flowers, greener, and well-mulched beds should be enough to boost curb appeal without overwhelming potential buyers.
Speak With Green Residential
At Green Residential, we have a pretty good feel for the pulse of the Houston real estate market. We work closely with buyers, sellers, investors, and landlords to maximize and protect their investments.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to sell your home — and what you can do to increase the value — please reach out! We’d be happy to walk with you to accomplish all your personal goals and financial objectives.