It can be a tough market for homebuyers and sellers alike. If you’re getting ready to sell your home, or perhaps your home has been on the market for some time, you might be advised to inject buckets of cash into home improvements to increase appeal to potential buyers. While some improvements are absolutely necessary, not all home improvements are truly worth the time and financial investment.
While making small improvements to your home might be worth it, we’ve compiled a list of some of the priciest home improvements that don't necessarily add value to your home, and could even deter potential buyers.
1. Swimming Pools
Sure, some buyers might see a pool and get carried away daydreaming of summer pool parties. However, a swimming pool installation could cost you upward of $20,000, and it may not even be desirable to the majority of house hunters. In fact, some homebuyers—especially those with small children or who are planning for children—may see pools as a danger or even a potential lawsuit. On top of that, potential buyers will have to consider the cost of additional property insurance they’ll be required to maintain when purchasing a home with a pool.
2. Custom Finishes
While you may have impeccable taste, not all buyers will appreciate your eclectic style. However, that’s not always true. Avoid overly custom finishes like brightly colored backsplashes, room conversions, or plantation shutters. While these custom features may be things that you personally love, some buyers may be deterred. If you do choose to upgrade some items, keep it simple and neutral. It's better to give buyers a clean slate so that they can envision your home with their unique style. The more someone can relate to the style of the home—the more likely they are to purchase it.
3. New Carpet
You may be concerned that a buyer is going to walk in to your home, see your stained carpet, and walk out immediately. Before you start ripping out your flooring and picking out new carpet, slow down! Since many buyers are turned off by carpet altogether or may suffer from allergies, you might want to consider installing laminate hardwood or restoring the original wood flooring. If neither of those options appeals to your potential buyers, consider offering a flooring allowance with the sale of your home.
4. Converting the garage into a bedroom
While creating more interior space for an extra bedroom or a play area for children might sound ideal, converting a garage could potentially be a huge expense. Not to mention, if a buyer is expecting a garage and the surrounding houses have one, you might deter prospective buyers from considering your house altogether.
5. Behind-the-scenes updates
You might be aware that your home need plumbing improvements or a new HVAC or water softener unless someone actually purchases and lives in your home, they will have no clue you just made these costly upgrades. Stick to investing your money in updates that improve the visual aesthetic of your home to help you get the best return on your investment.
When making updates to a home you’re planning to sell, the best adage to consider is “different strokes for different folks.” No matter how much value you think a change to your home is worth, there is a homebuyer out there that would (and will) disagree with your choices.
When putting your home on the market, keep updates small, simple, and absolutely necessary. Never expect to get a return on the investment you’re putting into a home you’re planning to sell right away. Instead, focus on perceived value rather than monetary. Small upgrades will go a long way!
Please consult a REALTOR® for real estate-related questions.
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