If you are thinking about selling your house or just want to spruce up your living space, saving money is one thing, but wasting it is another. There are many new upgrades or fancy amenities that can seem like a good idea but do not increase your home’s value even though they come with a hefty price tag. Many home improvement projects can add curb appeal where the average cost isn’t the equivalent of a down payment for a new house altogether.
10 Expensive Home Renovations That Don’t Add Value
Real estate is a tricky market and trying to add value to your home can be a hard landscape to navigate. Sure, you want a return on investment but also hopefully the chance to make a profit. You’re probably familiar with ideas such as a fresh coat of paint or even a kitchen renovation to help your sales price, but here are a few expensive home improvements to avoid as they are not worth it:
- Don’t add trendy features.
- Avoid too much wallpaper.
- Swimming pools are money traps.
- Wall-to-wall carpeting is a no-no.
- A full bathroom remodel isn’t necessary.
- Don’t convert your garage.
- The most current upgrades aren’t worth it.
- Don’t waste money on overdone landscaping.
- Adding a sunroom can be a bad idea.
- Built-in electronics aren’t necessary.
1. Don’t Add Trendy Features
Just because something is in style now, doesn’t mean it will be next year. Going full tilt into the latest trend can be time-consuming and fund-wasting if you have to redo it all when the trend fades. Your average homeowner may not share your love of shiplap or art deco aesthetic so keep it simple.
2. Avoid Too Much Wallpaper
Wallpaper can be a fun accent, however, it can be costly. Not only is the paper itself pricey, but as many rolls are not necessarily neutral colors, but rather bold patterns it can be visually offputting to potential buyers. All in all, expensive designer wallpaper is not worth the investment, especially if you are looking to sell.
3. Swimming Pools are Money Traps
Depending on where you live, swimming pools can be a valuable asset, especially if your climate is hot for the majority of the year. However, adding a pool rarely, if ever tacks on value to your home and can lower any return you’ll get on it. Putting in a pool can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 for installation, not to mention the expensive monthly and yearly maintenance.
4. Wall-to-Wall Carpeting Is a No-No
It may be tempting to cover all your square footage with carpet, but this can be a nonstarter for homebuyers. No one wants to have to rip up a bunch of carpeting when they move in, especially if it covers coveted hardwood floors. It is better for your money to just buff out your existing floors than to add carpet.
5. A Full Bathroom Remodel Isn’t Necessary
Standing showers should be avoided, especially if they are to replace an existing tub, even if it frees up space. You can polish up a lot in the bathroom without gutting it and having to replace everything from the studs up. Instead of redoing everything, you’d be surprised what a coat of paint and a few new fixtures can change.
6. Don’t Convert Your Garage
One of the easiest ways to save money is to keep a space as is, even if sitcoms and Airbnb have made you think a garage conversion is a good idea. It can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $26,000 to convert a raw garage into an extra livable space. Though this space can be useful, it adds little to your home value and may not be the best home renovation to invest in.
7. The Most Current Upgrades Aren’t Worth It
Just because something is the newest or fanciest version of something does not mean it is the best bet for your buck. Instead of diving into the best countertops you can find, ask a real estate pro what your next steps should be that will stretch your budget and your profit. It is good to know the difference between updates you need to do and updates you think you should.
8. Don’t Waste Money on Overdone Landscaping
Not that you should keep your yard nice for curb appeal but you don’t have to break the bank on detailed and elaborate landscaping. You don’t want to scare away buyers if they think it is too hard to maintain, nor do you want to have to pay to maintain it. A big area to maybe skip with landscaping would be expensive fire pits or intricate landscape lighting.
9. Adding a Sunroom Can Be a Bad Idea
Any additional room to the house can cost thousands of dollars which means it is already one of the more expensive undertakings in the home improvement arena. As a sunroom is not a full-room addition, it likely won’t be included in the home’s square footage and therefore won’t add value or get you a better return on investment.
10. Built-in Electronics Aren’t Necessary
Built-in electronics are a personalized choice that not everyone wants. They become outdated quickly and are more difficult and expensive to replace. This type of gadgetry can be intimidating or offputting to certain buyers.
Final Take To GO
The bottom line is the money you put into your house you want to make back, and then some, when it comes time to sell it. Home improvements are a great way to increase the value of your home, but be careful not to spend more than you need to so you can get the most return on your investment.
Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.
- Forbes. 2023. "How Much Does An Inground Pool Cost?"