The kitchen is often the first room people choose to renovate since it’s the center for food preparation and a social hub for entertaining. It’s easy to think short term when you do a renovation and focus only on your current needs, rather than thinking about how your upgrade will affect your home value.
According to Thomas Vibe, a co-founder and managing partner at Stone Wizards, a kitchen renovation should never exceed 25% of the home’s value as a rule of thumb (for a median home value of $227,700 that would be no more than $56,925), because you may never get that much value out of it. Here are 10 kitchen renovations that will hurt your home’s value.
Overly Customizing Your Kitchen
When it comes to upgrading or renovating, neutral is the way to go, according to Tomas Satas, founder and CEO at Windy City HomeBuyer.
“Just because you spent countless thousands of dollars on decorative ideas that you have dreamed about since you were a little kid doesn’t mean that anybody else will have the same tastes nor will most people care about what you spent. Your dream living room may look like a gut job to the rest of the world,” Satas said.
“So don’t drive yourself into debt or go overboard because the whole point of upgrading your home should be to get the money back when you sell and ultimately more.”
Using Low Quality Materials
Another big mistake Satas has seen is not using quality materials. “The last thing you want to do if you sell your home a few years later is to have to replace all the kitchen cabinets because they are falling apart. Or another issue I have seen is people using marble in their kitchen. Marble can create problems because it easily chips, stains, and etches.”
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Wallpaper, with its patterns and textures, may put off potential homeowners, according to Lily Wili, CEO of Ever Wallpaper. “Wallpaper has a distinct flavor and is famously difficult to remove. To get a generally appealing look, use fresh paint and neutral colors.”
Installing appliances and electronics that are expensive and borderline luxurious may seem like a good idea but can actually hurt your home’s value, according to Kim Abrams, CEO of Abrams Roofing. “These appliances are much more expensive to maintain and repair, which will deter buyers from your home.”
Additionally, according to real estate consultant Will Rodgers, “Smart appliances are great. But keep in mind that the tech you put in today will be outdated if you sell three to five years from now. High tech kitchens are for your convenience, but will only add value if you plan to sell soon.”
Abrams also pointed out that making repairs and renovations yourself “is a big no-no. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) renovations severely hurt your home’s value because it isn’t professionally done. Buyers will never look favorably upon a kitchen remodel that isn’t done by an experienced contractor.”
One thing you should always leave to the professionals in a kitchen renovation is plumbing. According to Jake Romano, manager of John the Plumber, “While some handymen are definitely talented with plumbing, it’s extremely easy to make a mistake. You might mistakenly put a Y-fitting instead of a T-fitting, you might incorrectly slope the drains, you might make bad connections, the list goes on. If someone notices one mistake, they’re going to question everything. My advice is hiring licensed plumbers to do plumbing work, keeping receipts and warranties, and providing the documents to potential buyers.”
The last thing you want when it comes time to sell your home is for it to look dated, according to realtor Bill Gassett, founder of Maximum Real Estate Exposure.
“The worst thing that can happen is making horrible selections that are no longer in style. The two that immediately come to mind are oak cabinets and tile countertops. Very few people want these items. Oak was popular in the 80s and 90s–today it’s very much out of favor. Most home buyers either want white as their first choice, with a cherry or birch also being desirable.”
Sacrificing Storage Space
Ryan Weller, a realtor with Beth & Ryan Real Estate Team, said a common kitchen renovation failure is “…sellers who remove two kitchen walls to have a more open concept feel. However, what they fail to realize is that those walls they removed served as functional storage space with cabinets. Savvy buyers–or those who like to cook–will walk away from a house like this.”
Adding a Granite Countertop
While granite is a popular choice for countertops, it can be quite expensive, said Mark Wolens, a real estate principal and director at the Independent Property Group, Woden Weston. And since most buyers are looking for a move-in-ready home, they may not be interested in a property that needs a new countertop. It can hurt your home’s value because it will be one less thing that potential buyers don’t have to worry about.
Light can make all the difference in a home, according to realtor Shaun Martin, a real estate investor with We Buy Houses in Denver. “You don’t even know when good lighting is doing its job. But get it wrong and the value of your house will plummet! Too much lighting can feel washed out and sterile. Too little can make your kitchen feel like a dive bar.
He advises installing lights with dimmer switches, instead.
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