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Home Improvements That Don’t Pay Off

Mandy Edwards - Thursday, September 28, 2017


People invest in home improvements for a variety of reasons, but most often they make them for lifestyle preferences and/or to enhance the property’s resale value. And, for the most part, it’s okay that we might not recover our investment when we’re able to enjoy the lifestyle benefits certain home improvements may provide. 

However, when it’s time to sell your home, you’ll want to make sure the investment is reflected in the home’s value. It’s a good idea to keep this in mind when you’re renovating that bathroom or kitchen – both of which will almost always enhance the home’s value. You’ll want to be cautious so that the costs of the improvements don’t eclipse the payoff down the road.

Here are a few home improvements you might think enhance your home’s appeal to buyers, but actually do not:

Hot Tubs. Ahh… coming home to a nice warm soak after a hard day at work. Sounds great, right? Many buyers look at a hot tub and think ‘what a hassle to maintain.’ And at what expense is it removed? Go ahead and get the hot tub as a lifestyle choice. But perhaps be prepared to take it with you if a buyer is not as enthusiastic about it as you are.

Swimming pools. Like a hot tub, a swimming pool also sounds great in theory, but maintaining them requires a lot of work. Also, young families may see a pool as a safety risk. Although a pool may be a distinctive feature in a tight sales market, it will probably not add value that’s equal to your investment.

System and mechanical upgrades. Most buyers look past mechanical systems that pass the home inspection. Costly upgrades are unnecessary, but offering a warranty, which requires a much smaller investment, will reassure buyers that the mechanical systems are in order.

Permanent decorating touches. In most markets, hardwood floors are considered a good investment. Almost everybody likes them! But decorating with extravagant touches such as gold-plated bathroom fixtures or black onyx countertops? Although tasteful to some, some buyers may be unwilling to pay extra for them. A good rule to follow for any improvement is to consider its appeal to a normal buyer. Making expensive improvements that a buyer has to change may actually reduce their offer for the property.


The kind of improvements that usually make the best impression on buyers are ‘curb appeal’ items such as well-designed and maintained landscaping. As well, a tasteful backyard addition such as a patio or deck is often affordable and appealing to many home buyers. 


Related Resource

Apartment Therapy Sorry, But These Home Improvements Just Don't Pay Off


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