Home Improvements: Tips for Upgrades That Won’t Have a High Return

Home Improvements: Tips for Upgrades That Won’t Have a High Return

 October 31, 2014

Many people looking to sell their homes focus on upgrades. However, not all upgrades are profitable; some don’t even pay off (or you won’t get the same investment back as you put in). It is therefore important for sellers to focus on upgrades with a high return on investment. The real estate market is swamped with unsold inventory and homebuyers have numerous choices available to them. If a home doesn’t appeal to them, they’ll simply move on to the next one. Advise sellers to avoid the following home upgrades in order to attract more buyers.

Don’t replace a bedroom with another room

Converting Bedrooms into Offices

Sellers should avoid converting bedrooms into offices as their homes will be listed as having one less bedroom – something that can work against them. Buyers may try to picture the rooms as bedrooms but it can be particularly difficult if the rooms are filled with messy papers, jumbled cords, and dull office furniture. A 2-bedroomed house in a 3-bedroomed neighborhood has a major disadvantage, for instance.

Regional Considerations for your Home

In the south, outdoor kitchens with wood counters and manly grills can be used 10 months in a year. They have a high return in that region. However, the same does not apply to the North where fireplaces are better investments. Sellers who understand this can make a kill when selling their homes. They avoid sinking money into amenities that are not the norm in their neighborhoods.

Sunroom Additions

Sunrooms don’t come cheap. They require low-E windows, tiled floors, skylights, and automatic shades – all costly items. While they can make a big difference in the enjoyment of homes, they don’t add a lot of value. Advise sellers to avoid adding sunrooms and to use licensed professionals if they must. They shouldn’t overbuild for the neighborhood because they’ll have difficulty recouping their money unless the neighboring homes follow suit.

Ensure adding a sunroom or patio addition is worth the money

Expensive Master Bedroom Remodels

This is different from the regular master bedroom remodel. It is similar to a luxurious hotel suite remodel and includes features like a sitting room, kitchenette, elegant gas fireplace, high-end bathroom, and a jetted corner tub. Remodeling Magazine advises that it is better to invest in a moderate master suite upgrade which has a return of about 68 percent at resale. Upscale master bedroom remodels are only advisable for high-end neighborhoods.

Costly and Bold Countertops

Bold materials and finishes can be appealing to homeowners, but they are off-putting to buyers. Sellers should steer clear of green and red countertops which distract buyers from seeing the other features in the room. They should choose countertops which are suitable for their home regions. For example, granite countertops undermine the market value in Alaska because they warp and crack in cold weather.  Laminate countertops on the other hand make a perfect fit for cold areas.

Adding a Swimming Pool

Swimming pools rarely add value to homes in this day and age. First, they cost an arm and a leg and are only used during specific times of the year. Secondly, homebuyers see them as high-maintenance hassles and safety hazards. Buyers with young children may turn down a perfect house because of a pool. They might fear that their children will go into the pool unsupervised. Although, remember swimming pools may add buyer appeal, but they don’t always return the value that was invested in them to recoup the investment when selling.

A swimming pool may have buyer appeal, but may not yield the ROI you think.

Homeowners expect to recoup most of the money they poured into home improvements when it’s time to sell. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Tell your sellers to be careful when making upgrades as some can actually reduce the value of their homes. They should make smart upgrades which will impress buyers and help them to recover their money. Buyers can recognize price discrepancies in a neighborhood and may not be willing to pay for ill-advised improvements.

Give your clients these helpful home improvement tips and find more on the iHouse blog here.

Ronique Gibson

By Ronique Gibson

Ronique Gibson is an Associate Architect and a LEED Accredited Professional, who has been in the design industry for over 13 years. She started her design blog in 2009 and today it has become a premier destination for helping homeowners with everyday lifestyle challenges. Her readers check in daily for help with their homes, DIY project ideas, recipes, crafts, and inspiration to beautify and enjoy their homes.