Home improvements that could hurt the sale of your home


Homeowners who are ready to move sometimes think that they need to make some quick improvements to either add value to the home or increase the likelihood that it will sell quickly.

Although it may add perceived value to the current homeowner, prospective buyers are not likely to be impressed with the new renovations and sure aren’t going to pay for your sweat equity and monetary investment.

Here are some projects that you think add value to your home, but don’t.

Adding a pool

Swimming pools are expensive to build and maintain, will add to your insurance premiums and can be a deterrent to families with young children. Sometimes, the buyer will write in a contingency that the pool be filled in or dismantled.

Overbuilding for the neighborhood

Some improvements and additions will not add value if it causes the home to stand out as “too good for the neighborhood.” If the average home in the area is $150,000, potential buyers aren’t likely to pay $225,000 for yours if you’ve added a major addition. The house will seem overpriced even if it is more desirable than the surrounding homes.

Speaking of a new addition

If you need an addition to improve your life in the home, then go ahead with the project. If you’re only doing it to increase the value at the time of the sale, you’ll never recoup the investment. Buyers are unlikely to increase their offer to cover the amount that you paid for the major renovation.

High-end upgrades

Remodeling the kitchen and bathrooms will add to the value of your home and the expense and effort of doing so are worth the investment. However, many prosepective home sellers make the mistake of overdoing it by installing new stainless steel appliances, imported ceramic tiles, or state-of-the-art electronics in the media room.

New carpeting

Removing the carpet and restoring wood floors to like new condition is usually a more profitable investment than putting in wall-to-wall carpeting. It may clash with the new owners’ tastes and furniture. It’s expensive and you’re unlikely to recover your investment.

Green improvements

While making your home more environmentally friendly is a good thing, prospective buyers will not care that you’ve made the improvements unless they find eco-friendly homes as important as you do. You’re better off sinking any investments on green renovations into your new home.

Invisible improvements

Invisible improvements are usually costly and usually expected to be up to snuff by any new owner. (Think plumbing, HVAC.) A buyer is unlikely to pay extra just because you did this type of project.

Upscale landscaping

A lush, green lawn with nice landscaping is one thing; shaped bushes and ornate trellises are another. It’s best to keep it simple with native plants, adding a little color so the new homeowners can see how good the yard can be by adding plants and bushes that fit their tastes.

Driveway expansion

A common mistake made by homeowners is tearing up the front lawn to make room for another automobile. Not only is it expensive, it actually detracts from your home’s aesthetic.

If you’re considering a renovation and plan to stay for several years to enjoy it, that’s one thing. Making home improvements to increase the likelihood that it will increase the value of your home is another. You’re unlikely to recoup your investment and could actually hurt your home’s value to a prospective buyer.

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