The Worst ROI Home Renovations You Can Make

How to get your house ready to sell is not always obvious. When it comes to home renovations, not every investment you make is destined to pay off. The less time you intend to spend in your home, the less financial sense those customized renovations make – and some may even decrease your home’s value.

Tips for Selling Your Home

Sure, a sunroom, swimming pool, and wine cellar may be your idea of paradise, but what if your buyer prefers to curl up with a good book and cocoa instead of sipping chardonnay poolside? Here are a few ways that costly home renovations can miss the mark when it comes time to recoup your expenses during the sale of your home. Not every home “improvement” will yield a positive ROI (return on investment).

Swim At Your Own Risk

A home with a pool is one buyer’s dream, and another’s potential maintenance nightmare or safety hazard. In steamy climates, where pools are de rigueur, a pool is less likely to drag down your sale price, but in areas where pools are the exception, not the rule, think carefully before adding one to your property, particularly if resale value is more important to you than the joy of hosting weekend pool parties.

To Each Their Own

Though more people than ever are working from home, a dedicated home office with built-in bookshelves and the like will only appeal to certain buyers. In the same vein, a temperature-controlled wine cellar with cigar humidor; an onsite yoga studio or gym; or built-in tropical fish aquarium may have brought you, the homeowner, great pleasure — but don’t expect these custom features to pay off when it comes time to sell. Sunrooms, upscale master suites and garage expansions are three more losing propositions when it comes time to recoup the money you spent.

Don’t Go Overboard

There is such thing as too much of a good thing. Going to the max with ROI-returning investments can only go so far in increasing the value of your home against neighborhood comps (comparable properties). No matter how glam the kitchen and bathrooms, how pristine the additions, there is always a limit as to what the market will bear. Determine your home’s current value and only make as many improvements as will bring you toward the top of your area’s selling prices. Conversely, if your home is located in a hot market, you may be able to save money by foregoing renovations altogether – leaving it to your many prospective buyers to update the space as they see fit.

Save It For The Spa

Between the steam shower and whirlpool tub, that super-luxe bathroom renovation can really add up. Keep things simple and keep costs down for a better ROI rate. Alternatively, if your home is on the older side and features only a single bathroom, consider adding a second bathroom to bring it up to the level of more modern listings. While not a cheap proposition, it may help bring your listing up to speed.

Don’t Get Taken To The Cleaners

Wall-to-wall carpeting just doesn’t have the appeal it used to. An unforgiving magnet for stains, smells, and other signs of wear, even a deep cleaning can’t always return this material to its former glory. Also working against carpeting in the selling process is differing personal preferences in color and texture. Opt instead for hardwood or tile floors to appeal more broadly to potential buyers.

Esoteric design schemes, acquired-taste amenities, and other renovations that may have been close to your heart can be far from what a buyer would prefer. If you’re not planning to stay in a house for the long-haul, carefully consider additions and improvements that might have a negative impact on your selling price.