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Renovations That May Actually Decrease Your Home's Value

Swimming Pool in Backyard

When making home improvements a wise homeowner looks toward the future. It’s natural to want to personalize your home and invest in the creature comforts most important to you, but some of those creature comforts may actually decrease the value of your home. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend your time and money on renovations, but you should be aware when the money you spend will have low or negative return on your investment. It is prudent to make informed decisions. 

A Swimming Pool: Some folks love the water. They might be inspired to install an inground pool as soon as possible. However the addition of an inground pool can cost upwards of $75,000, and that price tag comes with a pretty low return on investment (ROI) - less than 8% in most instances. In addition, a pool might actually turn away buyers. They may not want to spend the money on maintenance, or may have safety concerns (the insurance company certainly has safety concerns, as is reflected on your home insurance bill).  A pool can give you years of enjoyment, as long as you are in the home long enough to enjoy the benefit of a hefty investment. In the short term you are unlikely to recoup your money should you decide to sell.

Garage Renovations: We have seen some beautiful garage renovations over the years. Home offices, home gyms, and additional living spaces have taken over where the automobiles were once kept. Space is valuable, but some folks like a place to keep their cars. Buyers typically look for homes with a garage that functions as a garage – especially around here with the harsh winters taking their toll on vehicles kept outside. Think twice before renovating a garage. The ROI estimate is less than 5%. 

Bedroom Conversion: We strongly suggest you do not convert a spare bedroom into a walk in closet. This will be a costly mistake and you will likely lose money - the number of bedrooms is one of the biggest factors in the price of a home. If you will be living in your home long term, and you need the closet space, consider making minor renovations to a spare bedroom, while keeping all the essential components in place (the original closet, door frames, windows). When the time comes to sell your home, you can easily convert the walk-in closet back to a spare bedroom with little effort and maintain the value of your home. 

Elaborate Landscaping: We always advise our clients to keep up with their landscaping: well mowed lawns, freshly planted flowers, pruned shrubs, and trees. Sometimes we advise our clients to enlist the help of a professional landscaping service for exquisite design and execution. Sometimes we don’t. It all depends on the neighborhood and the market. Keep in mind that not all buyers want to take care of the maintenance involved in an elaborate landscape design, or pay for monthly upkeep from a professional landscaping service. It’s best to reach out to your seller’s agent when considering a landscaping upgrade. They will advise you on how to move forward when a positive ROI is desired. 

Bright Paint Colors: You will definitely add charm and character to the rooms of your home with whatever color palette suits your fancy. Just remember that bright and bold paint colors in your living space are not favorable when listing your home for sale. Painting the rooms of your home before selling is highly recommended - light neutral colors are best to create a blank canvas for buyers to imagine themselves in the space.

Enjoy your home. Make it your own. But think carefully about the time and money invested in renovations that may actually decrease your home’s value. When you partner with a real estate agent from Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty, they will advise you on the best course of action in your home renovation strategy. Whether you are buyingselling or planning a reno project, contact us today for complimentary advice.

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