Homeownership is beautiful and rewarding. It gives you the freedom to add any renovations you like and turn your home into your safe haven. However, if you’re even considering selling your home in the near future, then you have to be very careful in deciding what improvements you’d like to add to your home.
While there are certain features that could greatly increase a home’s resale value, there are also home improvement projects that can be detrimental to it. Most of these renovations, if made permanent, can bring extensive damage to the home. Also, your definition of improvement may not be the same to many buyers. When it’s already time for you to sell, these projects could reduce your potential buyers and even force you to lower your asking price.
Unless you’ll never want to move, relocate or downsize in the coming years, then you should avoid making these renovations before putting your house for sale. Consult with your experienced real estate agent on what items will have a potential impact on the saleability of your home. After all, owning a home isn’t only about fulfilling that American dream and having your personal place — it’s also an investment to you and your family’s future.
A bedroom turned into another space or bedrooms merged to create a larger room
Combining two bedrooms to create a much bigger room, or turning a bedroom into another permanent living space, such as a home office or a huge master closet, is a common mistake that homeowners make. However, removing a bedroom is definitely the number one home improvement that could lower a home’s value. The number of rooms in a home can actually make or break a sale because buyers always want the maximum number of rooms available in a home.
Merging two small bedrooms to create a bigger one might seem a good idea for young couples and empty nesters, but if you plan to sell after a few years, then it’s a wrong move. Most buyers with families want their children to have their own rooms, or want to use a spare room as a guest room or an extra storage space.
The right fix:
Instead of knocking down walls to create a bigger room, try to make your bedroom space look bigger by using lighter colors and putting in modern, slim furniture. If you opt to transform a bedroom into a master closet or a home office, make sure that the room can be easily restored to its former state when you put your property on the market. Avoid installing permanent desks, cabinets or any alterations that potential buyers might see as a waste of space. It’s important to keep all options open for buyers without them spending money to undo any renovations you’ve made.
Too much wallpaper
Homeowners often put up wallpaper to show off their favorite patterns in their home, but this design choice could be a bit overwhelming when it’s already time to sell. Yes, wallpaper can be removed, but the task can be quite challenging and will require a lot of time and energy, especially if there is too much throughout the home.
The right fix:
If you do have wallpaper all over the home and you’re planning to sell, it’s a good idea to remove the wallpaper and repaint the walls in neutral colors before making your house available for showings and open houses. This way, potential buyers will never need to think about how much time and effort they will have to put in order to remove the wallpaper. It could be a deciding factor especially for someone who wants a move-in ready home, or someone who wants to put in their preferred patterns. A fresh coat of paint will also help convince buyers more than any of those patterns and other decorations.
New carpet looks great at first, but it can quickly show signs of damage compared to hardwood floors. Today’s buyers may cringe at the idea of having wall-to-wall carpeting in a home. It’s because not only is carpeting expensive to purchase and install, but there’s also a growing health concern over its potential for allergens. It can be a serious concern for families with children, especially those who have allergies. Carpeting is also not recommended for buyers who are dog or cat owners since carpets can easily be clawed and ripped off by these pets.
Besides, carpeting still comes down to personal choice. Your favorite color and style may not be as appealing to prospective buyers as it is to you. Because of these problems, it may prove difficult for you as a seller to recoup the costs because you may end up spending thousands of dollars to install it, only to have it removed because buyers don’t want it.
The right fix:
Recent studies have established that people nowadays will pay more for bare floors, so removing carpeting and restoring hardwood floors can be a more profitable investment. Carpets can easily wear out and show signs of damage compared to solid or engineered wood floors that are more durable. You may incorporate the style and colours you want in your floors by buying patterned rugs instead.
Homeowners make a big mistake when they remove a closet in order to make room for another upgrade, such as a larger bathroom or bedroom. This seemingly innocent renovation can definitely hurt a home’s resale value since people would prefer to have enough storage space. Oftentimes, people will walk in the house and count the number of closets per room, and it’s a major inconvenience if they notice there are no closets.
The right fix:
There’s probably no better recommendation than to retain your closets as it is. A spacious closet is what most today’s home buyers want, and knowing that they have enough storage space will definitely have a positive impact on the sale of your home.
A built-in aquarium is certainly a fun, entertaining and fancy addition to a home. However, it requires constant maintenance, can be costly to remove and can become an eyesore if it’s not maintained properly. Potential buyers may not want to pay for the upkeep costs needed for a built-in aquarium, especially if taking care of fishes isn’t something they prefer.
The right fix:
If you really love to keep fishes, it’s best to settle for a standard fish tank to add to your home. Besides, you can easily relocate it whenever you decide to make changes to your room arrangement.
A garage turned into another space
Getting rid of a garage and permanently turning it into another living space can make a home less appealing to many. It’s because most people don’t want to get into their car while it’s sweltering hot in the summer or while it’s covered in snow during the chilly winter, so they’d prefer to put a roof over it.
Renovating a garage into a gym or an extra bedroom might seem like a wonderful idea for fitness lovers or parents whose child moved back home, but it can definitely lower a home’s value. Most people will look for a garage — not a gym or an extra living space — and want it to house their cars and serve as storage for their items. At least 81 percent of home buyers even indicated they want a garage storage in their potential home, as reported in a 2016 survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
The right fix:
If you’re going to turn your garage into another living space, make sure that future homeowners can easily and inexpensively restore it back to its primary purpose. Make sure that any renovations you make can be removed without too much trouble.
Hot tubs are great for relaxation after a tiring day at work, but installing a built-in hot tub can be risky because of many reasons. They take up space and need constant maintenance. For homebuyers with little children, it might be considered a safety hazard and a waste of valuable space. Plus, strangers may associate hot tubs with germs and other unpleasant things. Potential home buyers may be put off because they may actually consider a home with a hot tub less desirable, or they may offer less money because getting rid of it can be quite costly.
If you’re thinking of installing one before selling so that it can make your home more valuable, it’s probably wise to think again. Hot tubs generally don’t add to the home’s value and could even lower it. But of course, there may be an exception if you meet a buyer who considers a hot tub to be a top feature for his/her home.
The right fix:
If a hot tub is one of your must-have features for your home, consider a portable tub instead of installing a built-in one. That way, you can potentially take it with you once you move or it can easily be removed if the new homeowner doesn’t want it.
Well-maintained landscaping and other lawn enhancements can dramatically improve the home’s curb appeal and eventually, the overall value of the property. Not to mention that a beautiful yard can certainly encourage potential buyers to take a look at your home. However, homeowners who went overboard with their landscaping may be in for a big risk. Many of today’s buyers, especially Millennials and Gen X-ers, may be deterred by its need for ongoing maintenance. Potential homeowners don’t want to see themselves working tirelessly under the heat of the sun, or don’t want to shoulder the additional costs of hiring a gardener to do the work. Your gardening tastes may be different from most buyers anyway, and any decorative additions you add to your yard are pretty much based on your personal choices. A home with an extensive landscape, if not properly maintained, can become an eyesore that may hurt the property’s value.
The right fix:
While the importance of curb appeal and a beautiful garden can’t be underestimated, it’s probably better to keep your yard nice and simple but easy to maintain. Buyers will appreciate it more if the yard looks beautiful but doesn’t require countless hours of work. Add new attractive plants that don't require too much trimming or maintenance, repaint your fence, and remove any overgrown weeds and bushes. Also, don’t forget to only use decorative items that can be easily removed, especially when it’s already time to sell your home.
Any over-personalized renovations and fixtures
It’s totally understandable that homeowners want to put in personalized touches in many fixtures of their home, such as in tile, sinks, and countertops. However, personalizing your home too much can also be a big mistake once you decide to sell your home. Some of the permanent renovations you may be obsessed with, such as quirky tilling or any eccentric patterns, may turn off a lot of buyers who don’t like your taste and may view the renovation as something that needs more effort and money to replace.
The right fix:
Remember that any over-personalized renovation can hurt the value of a home, especially if it’s something permanent like tiling. To avoid spending thousands of dollars on a mistake that may cost you too much when it’s time to sell, consider going with a traditional white tile floor or anything with neutral colors. Then settle with a rug or any decorations that can be easily replaced but still shows the style you’re going for.
Being a homeowner means you can modify your space in however way you like and you can practically do anything to make it feel more like home. However, there’s no harm in thinking twice before investing in any costly renovations or over-personalization that can eventually decrease your home’s value. Before starting any renovation projects, review your market, consult with your real estate agent, and see what upgrades have the best potential to increase your home’s value. You also need to make sure that any renovations you make are completed with the proper permits so you can avoid potential issues when it’s time for you to sell.