Just because you’ve updated your home, that doesn’t mean you’ll profit when it comes time to sell. Hoping to increase your home’s value (above and beyond the cost of an upgrade itself)? You should know that the improvements you value might not be valuable to potential buyers. In fact, you may never recoup the full cost of some home enhancements. Here, Trulia offers five common upgrades that have the worst return on investment.
- Adding a pool
Pools can be a major turnoff to many people. Buyers with small children may be concerned about safety risks; those looking for a low-maintenance yard won’t want to deal with the hassle and upkeep of cleaning a pool; and buyers who are on a tight budget may not have the extra cash to deal with the added expense.
- Highly custom designs
Installing a kitchen backsplash? The specific type of tile might not matter to buyers—they could be just as happy with ceramic as they would with expensive marble. Similarly, choosing an ornate beveled countertop edge rather than a basic beveled edge could put off buyers whose tastes don’t align with yours. In fact, these custom features may wind up costing you at listing time, as many buyers will factor in the money they’ll need to spend to change the house to suit their own tastes. If you’re going to upgrade your kitchen, stick with neutral, builder-grade design decisions.
- Room conversions
Buyers look to check certain boxes when they tour your home: for example, three bedrooms, two baths and a garage. Getting rid of these expected spaces (or altering them into something unusual) may harm the resell value. Bedrooms are coveted spaces that can bump your listing up into the next bracket. Buyers are seeking a specific number of bedrooms, and they may not appreciate the work it took to take a wall down for a secondary master suite or the soundproof foam used to convert it into a recording studio.
- Incremental square footage gains
Finishing your basement so it becomes an additional livable floor can be a boon in buyers’ minds. But tiny, insignificant changes may not give you much of a return on your investment. You may love your new sunroom, but it’s not likely to drastically increase your home’s overall value. Adding square footage in a way that doesn’t flow well with the floor plan also can backfire. Sure, a half bath on the first floor would be useful, but if buyers have to pass through the kitchen to get to it, the half bath loses some of its appeal.
When your upgrades feel overboard for your neighborhood, you alienate buyers on two fronts: Buyers who are drawn to your neighborhood won’t be able to afford your home, and buyers who can afford a home of your caliber will prefer to be in a ritzier area. Keep the “base level” of your neighborhood in mind. Tour some open houses on your block to see how your neighbors’ kitchens look before you invest a small fortune in granite countertops and high-end fixtures. Being a little nicer than the other houses around you can be a selling point, but being vastly more luxurious is not.