Renovations and improvements can drastically improve your home, but they come in many different forms. Certain home upgrades are worth the investment and others won’t add value when it comes time to sell.
“When renovating, always think about what will appeal to a prospective buyer when the time comes to sell,” explains Wendy Chamberlain, a buyers advocate and avid home fixer with 25 years of real estate experience.
Research your area first to avoid going OTT
Before you dive into all those things you want to fix or renovate in your home, you need to do your due diligence. Don’t overdo it for anyone modernizing or renovating in order to be able to recoup their investment at the time of sale.
Do you avoid improving your home too much? It might sound a little strange, but it could actually cost you your home outside of your suburb or area. It’s always good to do your research before starting any updates.
“First research your area and the quality of the houses. Look at comparable offers and consider the inclusions of your competition,” advises Chamberlain.
“If you’re renovating a property with the primary goal of selling it, consider what updates or areas will yield the best return on every dollar spent.”
These are the home improvements that are a waste of money if you are planning to list your property.
1. Major kitchen updates
Kitchens are tricky — they’re also on our list of ‘home upgrades worth the money’. Updated kitchens add value, but planning a major renovation and “over-renovation” can throw money down the drain.
Kitchens are often the most used area of a home, and when a buyer needs to update parts of a kitchen, they are more likely to change the entire area to suit their personal tastes and needs. If you spend money on a major renovation or add things like top-of-the-line appliances, you could lose buyers who don’t agree with your designs or just don’t care.
“Some key areas may make the home look more modern, but ultimately buyers may not care. Kitchens come to mind,” says Chamberlain. “If the existing kitchen is outdated but functional, you can get away with leaving it as is and focusing your money and efforts on other things.”
She points to a project where a client sold a 25-year-old house with the original mint walls and green laminate benches in the kitchen.
“The client chose to paint the interior walls a brilliant white, but the kitchen was left untouched. It was functional, just outdated. As it turned out, the buyer was an investor who wanted to demolish the kitchen anyway.”
Additionally, Chamberlain explains that trying to fix an item or two in a kitchen can actually work against you by highlighting the problem areas: “If you change one thing, the next one looks dated.”
2. Important bathroom updates
Bathrooms follow the same philosophy as kitchens. An upgraded space adds value, but renovating OTT with marble tiles and other luxe fixtures may seem like a “wow” factor to you, but it often doesn’t deliver the value you would expect.
3. Integrated heating and cooling systems
“Heating and cooling are areas that are unlikely to provide an immediate return on investment,” says Chamberlain.
A simple split system air conditioner will reassure buyers and is affordable, but installing full ducts is a waste of money (up to $20,000 depending on the size of your home).
“Heating and cooling via exhaust air ducts are expensive to install. For your Reno, a cheaper but effective split system heater/cooler might do the job just as well.”
4. Playing around with an existing floor plan
Taking rooms is a big no, a no to resale value, and Chamberlain also cautions against trying to move or remove load-bearing walls.
“You might think that opening up space or moving walls is a great idea, but touching load-bearing walls and reconfiguring a floor plan can get expensive very quickly,” she explains.
“Not to mention the rapidly escalating costs as soon as a plumbing move is due. If possible, stick with the existing room layout and renovate existing rooms and floor plans.”
5. Invisible house maintenance upgrades
If you plan to live in your home for years, there are updates and maintenance that need to be done so that you can live comfortably and safely in your home. However, many of these are things you don’t see – such as B. Plumbing or rewiring.
“Other important things, while important, are often not seen and therefore not necessarily appreciated by buyers. That includes rewiring, re-plumbing, re-routing and the need for a new roof,” says Chamberlain.
“Consider each area carefully before deciding to tackle it as part of your renovation as this investment may not pay off.”
6. Inconsistent design
Adding fancy gold fixtures and marble tile to a bathroom you’re updating sounds great, but if you leave that bathroom and the rest of the house has chrome fixtures and laminate floors, for example, the design is inconsistent and doesn’t add the value you’re hoping .
As Chamberlain explained, changing an element can highlight the areas that aren’t updated. Keep your design consistent to create cohesion throughout the space.
7. Tailored features and luxurious amenities
Once you’ve decided on the design elements you want to incorporate consistently throughout your home, remember the mantra: don’t overdo it.
Installing things like first class flooring, the latest technology, essential Spanish tiles and quirky lighting fixtures may excite some buyers at first glance, but others may not notice all the details that you put your heart and wallet into. This high level of detail and quality often does not pay off.
Much like bright colors, high-end bespoke or custom inclusions like an infrared sauna are often seen as personal. Buyers want to introduce themselves to the space as their own. Adding these before the sale will not increase the value of your property enough to justify the expense.
8. Swimming pools
An updated outdoor space is one of the seven areas worth investing your money in (if not overdoing it), but swimming pools are a different and case-by-case story.
First, you should be in a climate suitable for a pool and there must be enough space for one. If you don’t tick those two boxes, it would be a waste of money.
In some zip codes or for properties at the higher end of the market, pools can be an expected inclusion for a home – in this case, adding a pool will help sell your property. Other areas may be surrounded by schools and popular with young families, where again a pool could work in your favour.
However, for many homeowners, pools are a headache because they mean two things: running costs and constant cleaning and maintenance.
If you’re in an area with older families or retirees, a pool can seem off-putting. It’s important to go back to your research and find out what is expected and desired in your field. Installing a pool is expensive and avoiding it will save you a lot of money.
CONTINUE READING: 7 home upgrades that are worth the investment