5 Renovations That Don’t Increase Your Resale Value

Wise Bread Picks

The first major home renovation my husband and I ever undertook was insulating the walls of a 1921 Craftsman bungalow we shared in Columbus, Ohio. This project made the house a great deal more comfortable in the winter and the summer, since the existing insulation was the least expensive option available in the 1920s — making it completely inadequate for maintaining heat in the winter or coolness in the summer.

Unfortunately, despite the undeniable improvement to our comfort, we found that our new insulation did nothing for our resale value. Even though we had put nearly $5,000 worth of work and materials into this renovation, we didn’t see that money and effort reflected in our sale price when we had to move several years later.

Not all renovations are going to increase your resale value. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should forgo working on your home if you won’t see the value when it’s time to sell. For instance, I would definitely insulate that house again, even knowing that the money is only going to improve my comfort. 

But there are some home renovation projects that you just can’t expect to recoup your investment on. Knowing that, you should consider how long you intend to live in your house and whether you’re renovating just to increase your home’s value before jumping into any of these home improvement projects.

1. Invisible improvements

Insulating our bungalow was the kind of invisible improvement that had to be done, but didn’t appear to change the house. Unlike “sexier” improvements like updating a kitchen or bath, or even putting on a new roof, invisible improvements don’t change the look of the house. These are things like re-grading the yard to keep water from getting into the basement, updating the HVAC system, tuck-pointing bricks and chimneys, and replacing gutters.

While these improvements often have to be done to protect your house, the downside is that you may not recoup the cost of these improvements when it comes time to sell. It can be helpful to think of these renovation expenses as a way of protecting your home’s current value, rather than as a way to increase your future resale value.

2. Swimming pool

While homeowners in Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, and Southern California may find that having a swimming pool is a big selling point for their homes, this isn’t going to be the case nationwide. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to install a pool is over $27,000. That doesn’t include the annual maintenance costs, ranging between $500 and $4,000. It’s these maintenance costs, plus the work that homeowners will have to either do themselves or contract out in order to keep their pool sparkling clean that will turn off many potential buyers. Add in the additional insurance requirements that homeowners with pools will need to purchase, and it should be clear why many prospective buyers would rather not invest in a home that comes with a pool.

This is why you should only commit to the cost of installing a pool if you truly want to use it yourself and expect to stay in your home for at least five years. Otherwise, it might make more sense to invest in a membership to your local pool. 

3. Bathroom and kitchen upgrades

Remodeling your bathroom and/or kitchen is an excellent way to increase your home’s value, right? Yes and no. While replacing dingy tiling and updating old appliances will definitely help your home shine for potential buyers, there’s such a thing as going overboard with your bathroom or kitchen upgrades.

Specifically, if you add granite countertops, custom-made cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and ceramic tiles to your kitchen and bathroom, but the rest of the home is still an ordinary suburban home, potential buyers will see the house as a work-in-progress, rather than a home that feels move-in ready. Over-improving the bath and kitchen could make buyers think that it’s not worth the effort to try to get the rest of the house to match. (See also: 9 Home Improvements You Should Always Negotiate)

4. Built-in high-end electronics

We may all dream of living in a George Jetson house — where every possible electronic need you have is already built in — but committing to this kind of renovation may hurt your resale value. 

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, while your personal movie theater (with remote-controlled state-of-the-art projector) may be exactly what you want from your home, a potential buyer may just see a room that will need to be torn out and remodeled as soon as they move in. Plus, technology advances at a breakneck speed, so your cutting-edge electronics will soon look as dated as shag carpeting and harvest gold refrigerators.

If you need or want built-in high-end electronics in your home, make sure you’re installing them for your own pleasure and comfort, because it’s unlikely a buyer will appreciate them too.

5. Extravagant landscaping

Making improvements to your landscaping requires a gentle touch. On the one hand, landscaping is often touted as an important aspect of curb appeal, and making sure your yard and garden look attractive and welcoming is certainly a great way to draw in potential buyers. 

On the other hand, an elaborate landscaping remodel can turn off buyers. Those with black thumbs might look at your vast flowering garden with sculpted shrubs and pond and decide they are not up for the challenge of keeping it up, and those who do love to garden might not like your vision and want to start over.

If recreating the gardens of Versailles is how you make your house feel like a home, then there’s nothing wrong with investing in this kind of renovation. But make sure you’re doing this kind of work for yourself, and not because you hope to make back the money you spent once you’re ready to sell. (See also: 14 Ways to Make Your Yard Look Awesome for Under $100)

Renovate for the right reasons

While many experts focus on resale value as the deciding factor on whether to take on a home improvement project, the important thing to remember is that you live in your house now. Deciding which home renovations to work on based on what someone else might like is the way madness lies.

When you make improvements to your home, make sure you take your own comfort, your plans for living in the home, and the potential resale value into consideration. They all matter.

Source: feeds.killeraces.com

So You Want to Buy a Fixer-Upper: Here’s What You Need to Know

So you’ve fallen in love with a fixer-upper and dream of what it could become one day with a little bit of love and hard work, but you worry that you won’t be able to afford it. You aren’t alone.  

Read: Inspiring Photos That Will Make You Want to Buy a Fixer-Upper

Homes.com had the opportunity to partner up with Stephen and David St. Russell of the Renovation Husbands to hear what they had to say about getting into a fixer-upper home and the hoops and hurdles that come with such an investment. 

How the Renovation Husbands Got Their Start Working on Fixer-Uppers

The Russells were living in a small apartment in Boston where rent kept rising month after month. With student loans weighing heavy and only one stable income, they needed to get out of that renting nightmare. On the way to lunch with some friends, they happened to pass a home that looked like it was already in the process of being renovated, and a quick search showed that the house was for sale. This information led to an impulse decision that changed their lives. They had an offer that was accepted on the house within 2 weeks, thus beginning their journey to home ownership and a passion for renovation. 

Read: Buying a Fixer-Upper: What You Need to Look for to Maximize Your Investment

How To Begin Financing a House That Needs Serious Work

The condition of the house you are trying to buy will determine what type of financing options are available to you. For Stephen and David’s first home, they used a traditional first time home buyers loan which had a low down payment. For their second home, they used a 203k which has financing for construction costs built in and a low down payment as well, perfect for a fixer upper! The 203k loan has 2 tracks so that you can choose one that best fits the situation you are in. 

203K Loan Tracks

The first track for a 203k is for homes with much larger projects in which the amounts you can finance are regulated by your area. The second track, which is the option Stephen and David chose, is for homes that need repairs of $30,000 or less. This option has a lot fewer hurdles to allow work to get done more quickly and allow you to get into the home more quickly. In their personal experience, their house was completely gutted and they knew that it would take a huge upfront cost to get it up to liveable standards. The bank will not typically give out loans for a shell of a house like the one they were buying, so the great thing about a 203k loan is that it allows you to afford those homes that need a complete flip with the understanding that the renovations done will bring it up to code come inspection time.

To learn more about this process from the Renovation Husbands themselves, check out our live interview, “Home Renovations: What You Need to Know to Get Maximum Value.

Advice for First-Time Home Flippers

Homebuying can be a scary experience with a lot of unexpected bumps along the way and it’s an experience that people are rarely 100% prepared for. For those homes that do need some extra TLC, it can be even more of a challenge. The Renovation Husbands stress the importance of taking that leap of faith because you never know what could happen. 

“Just go for it,” David says, “you can figure it out.” 

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Save as much money as possible in the beginning of the buying process. David advises, if you don’t have a huge down payment, or if you have some cash, save as much of that as possible so that you can plan for the unexpected. “As soon as you get those keys, you really don’t have very much of an idea of what’s going to happen.”

Read: The Real Costs of House Flipping that HGTV Doesn’t Show

The most valuable step Stephen and David felt that they took was going to a bank. Banks are the gateway to homebuying and will let you know what kind of loans you have, what options you have, and what you would be approved for. You don’t even need to have a home in mind, but having this important conversation will let you know what you are actually able to afford.

David wraps up the interview saying, “You’re probably better off than you think you are.” There are so many resources available to you going into this process that all you need to do is get your foot in the door. 

Read Stephen and Davi St. Russell’s entire fixer-upper story right here on our blog or you can check out our list of home improvement, design, and finance articles to get your fixer-upper into tip-top shape.

Ashley Shoop

Ashley is currently a student in Marketing Management at Virginia Tech.  Go Hokies!  She loves being outside in the sun, can’t live without Taco Bell or coffee, and loves interning with Homes.com!

Source: homes.com