6 Home Improvements That Actually Devalue Your Home

Your home is more than a place to hang your hat. It’s an investment in your family’s future. Homeowners are right to consider home improvement projects as a way to benefit their enjoyment of their home as well as add additional value before resale. However, not all popular home improvement projects will add value. A few can actually devalue your home.

Before you take on your next home improvement job, do your research to ensure you’re making a smart investment in your family’s future, and stay clear of these 6 home improvements that actually devalue your home.

1. Removing Closets

Some homeowners may feel having a larger bathroom or bedroom is worth sacrificing a bit of closet space. However, many home buyers don’t agree. “People need closets. They’ll walk in and count the number of closets per room,” Michele Silverman Bedell, owner of Silversons Realty, told MarketWatch.

Silverman said experience shows that a bedroom without adequate closet space could make the home more difficult to sell or fetch the homeowner lower offers. If your remodeling plan has to go through an existing closet, a solution may be to allocate new closet space in another part of the room.

2. Combining Bedrooms

Large bedrooms are a nice feature in a home, particularly for owners who don’t have children at home anymore. But knocking down a wall to combine two smaller bedrooms could cost you. “Even small bedrooms add value to homes, as many families want children to have their own rooms but don’t mind if they’re on the small side,” said Brian Davis, co-founder of SparkRental.

Estimates can vary, but Davis says each bedroom can add about 15% to the value of a home. So losing a bedroom, even if it means a better layout, could be costly. A better solution may be to make existing bedrooms feel larger with lighter wall colors and slimmer furniture.

3. Some Building Additions

Building an addition to your home often increases its value substantially. However, this isn’t always the case. A mismatched room addition could cost you if exterior materials don’t match the existing house, or if the interior finishes are drastically different. Such additions may even make it appear that the add-on isn’t compatible with the existing home. This could put buyers off and devalue a home by as much as $30,000.

Homeowners could also lose out if their home is out of step with their neighborhood due to overbuilding. It’s true that some additions could greatly improve a home, but owners should be wary of improving their home so much that it is mismatched with their neighborhood. Buyers generally don’t want to buy a remodeled $250,000 home in a neighborhood of $150,000 homes. Buyers in the higher price range will generally target their search to neighborhoods of that price range.

Another addition to beware of is one involving unpermitted construction. Many building projects require the owner to contact the local building department and obtain the necessary building, plumbing and electrical permits. If an addition is later discovered to be unpermitted, it could devalue the home or cost the current owner who will have to correct the mistake.

4. High-End Upgrades

High-end upgrades are another home improvement that usually increases the value of a home. However, this isn’t always the case if the upgrades are inconsistent or out of sync with other homes in your neighborhood. In these cases, luxury upgrades could hurt you.

High-end upgrades generally increase the value of high-end homes, but that isn’t necessarily the case for mid-range homes. That is, stainless steel appliances paired with vinyl flooring or shag carpeting in the rest of the house may not fetch as much as if the home were upgraded top to bottom. Additionally, top-of-the-line remodels of a kitchen or bathroom may be more than typical buyers are willing to pay for, costing the owners who made the choice to upgrade.

5. Swimming Pools

Swimming pools are another home improvement that seems like it will add significant value to a home, but that may not always be the case. In-ground pool installations could cost anywhere from $30,000 to more than $100,000 in some cases. Yet some homeowners may be unable to recoup that investment.

Maintenance costs can be an added expense and some families with small children may not want to deal with the safety issues. Some pools may add as much as 7% to a home’s value, but that could be less than it costs to install. In general, pools are only a good idea in areas where they are considered a standard home feature, such as California, Arizona, Florida or Hawaii.

6. Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

Lastly, homeowners may find that adding new wall-to-wall carpeting to their home actually devalues it. Carpeting remains expensive to purchase and install. Yet more buyers today are said to be looking for hardwood floors, with one survey finding 54% would pay more for hardwood floors. That could mean a carpet upgrade doesn’t improve the value of your home.

Another factor to consider is that carpeting style and color is usually personal, meaning that new buyers wouldn’t necessarily go with the same choice. Replacing the carpet to meet their personal style or to install wood floors could mean a seller sees a lower offer reflecting that consideration.

Wrapping Up

Home improvements are a great way to add enjoyment to your home while also increasing resale value. Many projects add value that can be recouped when it’s time to sell. However, there are some projects where that isn’t the case. Removing storage space and eliminating bedrooms could devalue your home. So too could certain additions, high-end upgrades, swimming pool installations or wall-to-wall carpeting. When it comes to home improvements, make sure your choices will benefit the overall value of your home when it comes time to sell and avoid upgrades that could devalue your home.

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