Six Renovations You'll Want to Avoid

The joke about Canadian roads is that we have two seasons, winter and construction. The same can be said about the real estate market. That extends to homeowners that plot and plan all winter long on how they will improve their living space as soon as it’s warm enough outside to mix cement and swing a hammer. This is an admirable pursuit since maintaining and improving a home can not only make you more comfortable but also increase your home’s value. The trick in achieving the latter is knowing which home renovations to take on.

If you’re modifying your home to your personal taste and are planning on being there a while, go ahead and put in the bathroom with the purple walls and black star-studded ceiling. But if you intent is to put your place on the market in the near future, you might want to be a bit more conservative. The following are some renovation tasks you just might want to take a pass on because they do little to increase the value of your home and might actually deter buyers.

I Want A Pool

If you want a pool and are planning on staying put for a while, go ahead and start digging. It will usually cost you at least $10,000 for a basic pool and you could top the $100,000 mark if you opt for one with all the bells and whistles. Bottom line is that some potential buyers, particularly those with young children, view pools as safety hazards. Others may see nothing but a maintenance issue. Sometimes buyers insist that a pool be torn down or filled in as one of the contingencies of a sale. At the very least you won’t be seeing much, or any, return on your initial investment.

Building Too Much House

Just because you have a gigantic lot doesn’t mean you have to put an equally giant house on it. Suppose you live in a neighborhood filled with smallish single story homes. You decide you need more space so you add another bedroom and/or bathroom to the back of the home. Not a problem, from the street your home appears pretty much the same. You fit in with the rest of your neighbors. But what happens when you build up rather than back?  All of a sudden you stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. Not only that when it comes time to sell you probably won’t get your investment money back. Buyers looking for larger homes tend to gravitate towards neighborhoods filled with larger homes.

Overdoing Landscaping

You have a massive green thumb and don’t mind spending hours in the garden trimming the rose bushes, edging pathways or mowing large expanses of lawn. Or, you have a gardener that comes by once a week to maintain your creation. Not all buyers have the luxury of time and money to spend on the upkeep of an elaborate garden, nor will that garden increase the value of the home. Some buyers may walk away; others may underbid your asking price after mentally considering the work involved to keep things looking nice.

Smart Upgrading

Upgrading your kitchen and/or bathroom is one of the best ways to get the best price for your home. That is, if you are consistent with your upgrades. If your kitchen has dated linoleum or laminate counters and you add stainless steel appliances, it’s just going to look odd. Replacing the plumbing in the bathroom without updating the flooring and the cabinets has the same effect. You will most likely get a bit more for you home than if you left the rooms in their original state. But, spending a bit more on the cosmetic side of the renovation could have netted you a lot more. Another thing, if you have a moderately priced home, don’t put in a million dollar home bathroom. All the marble in the world won’t change the fact that your house is a two bedroom starter property in a modest neighborhood.

Do Your Really Want Carpeting?

Once upon a time wall-to-wall carpeting was a plus in a new home. Remember the shag carpet, thick enough to sink your toes in and even lie down and take a comfortable snooze? Those days are gone. Carpets are usually harder to keep clean that the more desirable hardwood or laminate flooring in today’s homes. Besides, your color choice might be a put off for potential buyers even if they aren’t opposed to carpet in at least some of the rooms. Chances are you’ll put in a lot of money installing new carpet, with nothing in return.

Improvements vs. Maintenance

Putting in new plumbing or a new heater or air conditioner is part of keeping a home properly maintained. Don’t expect this to improve the value of your home even if you’ve decided to upgrade to a new no-fuss central vacuum system. Electrical systems, hot water heaters, anything to do with the proper functioning of sinks, showers, bathtubs and toilets are the basics in a home, not window dressing. Without these items in good working order, your home may not sell at all.

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