If you’re considering selling your home at some point soon, you might want to start thinking about improvements you can make that will raise the overall property value. This is seriously a buyer’s market right now, and anyone looking for a home can find dozens similar to yours in neighborhoods that are just as nice if they dedicate themselves to looking. You’ve got to make sure your home puts its best foot forward, and that means tackling some of those projects you’ve been eyeing for the past couple of years. But not all home improvements are equally valuable. Some of them might seem like a good idea, until you realize that they’re really just a pricey, unnecessary step. Here are five home improvements that are a waste of time and money.
The first wasteful home improvement on everybody’s list is installing an in-ground pool. How is this possible? It’s hard to imagine that a beautiful escape from the heat of summer could ever be considered a money waster. But in-ground pools are incredibly expensive. Depending on the size and the construction requirements of your property you could be looking at a spend of up to $50,000 before all is said and done. On top of that you’ll have to put an additional $2,000 a year into maintaining that pool, and perhaps even more into regular repairs and resurfacing costs. Most homebuyers don’t want to take on that sort of responsibility, and will look elsewhere. You simply won’t make that money back.
If the kids have gone off to college and you’re considering ripping down a couple of walls to turn two of those upstairs bedrooms into a master suite, think again. There’s certainly something attractive to a house with a posh bedroom, its own bathroom and a luxurious dressing room. But you could end up spending as much as six figures on an addition like this. Why? Master suites require luxury, and will only appeal to a certain type of buyer. You’ll have to appoint it well, and yet a $100,000 master suite addition might only increase your home’s value by around $60,000. That’s just not good business.
Another addition you might want to avoid is installing a new bathroom. This is one of the more attractive home improvements, especially if you’ve got a growing family and not enough bathrooms to comfortably handle the traffic. An additional bathroom might seem like the most amazing thing in the world to you, and the $40,000 you’d spend on average doesn’t even sound that bad. But a buyer won’t see that extra bathroom as that big a deal. It’s basically bringing your property up to the same level as all of the others they’ve been seeing. And once you use that new bathroom it drops in value by as much as 50%.
If you’re an entrepreneur you might want to take that extra room on the first floor that collects dust and turn it into your office. It’s a great idea, as long as you don’t spend too much money constructing a fancy home office. Some people end up spending tens of thousands of dollars hooking that space up with hardwood floors or carpeting, full broadband connectivity and enough electrical outlets to handle a heavy workload. In order to make that investment back you’ll have to find a buyer who actually wants a home office. And waiting around for that could cost you even more on top of your renovation expenses.
Finally, make sure you skip the sunroom, no matter how enticing the idea may seem. You’re far better off putting your money into home weatherization if you want to hang on to that investment. A sunroom is only useful when it’s nice out, and depending on where you are in the country that could only be a small percentage of the time. You’re actually reducing the usefulness of your home, while spending thousands that may not be needed.