Last week, we covered the Five Smartest Places to Spend Money in Your Home and the Top Ten Home Trends for 2014. This week we’re looking at the other side of that coin, the home renovations that won’t pay off in the long run. We’re not saying you shouldn’t do most of these, just be aware that while they may make your life more comfortable, they won’t make it easier or more lucrative to sell your home down the line.
Read on, and keep these tips in mind next time you go to make a change in your home!
1. Eliminating a Bedroom or Bathroom
Say it with us: Just Say No. Converting a bedroom or bathroom into something other than, well, a bedroom or a bathroom is simply one of the worst renovation decisions a homeowner can make. Converting a bedroom into anything could lop ten thousand dollars off a listing or sale price of a home, and losing a bathroom can have a similarly detrimental effect. The number of bedrooms in a home is one of the key determinants of whether a buyer wants to purchase the home or not. Adding a bedroom can be extremely expensive and might run you up against town planning boards, especially here on Cape Cod, something a buyer will take into account when negotiating the sale price. Sure, go ahead and use the spare bedroom as an office, but don’t even think about getting rid of that closet or knocking out a wall or whatever else you’re considering. Just don’t do it!
2. Adding a Pool
For most homeowners, adding a pool will never get the desired ROI, dollar-wise. This is not to say that a pool is never a worthy addition – your family may enjoy it for years before you decide to sell the home, and there are definitely “pool people” out there that love having one. Adding a pool is all about the enjoyment that you will get out of the house, because it will not add significantly to the value of your home. Tread carefully and think a lot before taking the plunge.
3. Converting a Garage
Ok, there’s a couple exceptions to be made here. If your home has severely limited living or dining space, by all means, absorb the garage into the kitchen or living room. The resulting more pleasurable floor plan could do wonders for the sale of your home. But, by and large, please don’t get rid of a garage! Contrary to popular belief, it does snow and get cold on Cape Cod, and having a garage is a convenience that many homebuyers value. Garages also offer attractive storage options for all that stuff that just doesn’t fit anywhere else. Converting the garage into a dedicated playroom, home theatre or the like, is a bad idea. Local septic laws may also come into play if you convert it into a bedroom – all the more reason to leave the garage a garage. If you do want to upgrade your garage, add some functional shelving or an epoxy floor – they’re higher end touches that won’t break the bank and will make the garage more attractive to you and to any potential future homebuyers.
4. Going Overboard on the Home Theatre
Wiring your family room for surround sound? Good. Wiring the home with many convenient outlets for cable, ethernet ports and loads of outlets? Great. Installing funny tubes anywhere someone might mount a TV? Please do this! Any forward-thinking investments like this are good. Installing built-in speakers that will be out of date (or style) within a couple years of purchase? Maybe not.
Unless you have the space for a dedicated home theatre, stay clear of making any permanent alterations to your space. Home theaters don’t appeal to every homebuyer and you might strike out for a long time before finding one that likes it. We’re not saying to steer clear of high-end TVs or sound systems – just don’t do anything permanent to the home that won’t accommodate technology updates or look dated in the next five years. If you’re considering new flooring or a kitchen update along with the home theatre, you’re better off investing in the floors and kitchen.
5. Carpeting Your Living Areas
Hardwood is in vogue and all indications say it’s not going anywhere. Carpet in the bedrooms is fine – it’s soft under bare feet and keeps the upstairs warmer in the winter, and you don’t have to vacuum as often since it’s not likely you’re wearing your boots to bed. Putting carpet down in the living and family rooms, however, is not a good investment. Wood floors have a much broader appeal, are easier to clean and maintain, and have a timeless look that can survive trend shift after trend shift. The danger you run into with carpeting is that your color choice or texture doesn’t appeal to potential buyers, causing them to negotiate thousands off the sale price that they’re going to invest in flooring. Their renovation dollars could have been money in your pocket at the time of sale. If you do have carpet, hire a professional cleaner every now and then to ensure that it stays in as good a shape as possible.
Have you made any home renovation decisions that didn’t pay off? Let us know in the comments! Don’t forget to take a look on our website – we may have your dream home!