Not all renovations are created equal. Some home renovations actually turn buyers away, rather than draw them in. Last month, existing home sales saw their highest climb in more than 10 years. It’s hard to go wrong with today’s housing shortage, and yet realtors continue meeting homeowners and investors making the wrong kind of renovations.
Savvy investors can avoid cutting the value of their properties by steering clear of these home renovations that turn away buyers.
Adding a pool could spell trouble in many cold-weather states like New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, etc. Conversely, having a pool is a selling perk in some southern locations like Florida and Hawaii. When in doubt, a flat, landscaped yard is more appealing to most buyers than a pool. This is especially true in northern climates where pools require a lot more maintenance during winter months.
Many buyers see dollar signs instead of the pool. Additionally, pools present safety concerns for parents with young children. If the pool came with the house, leave it. Otherwise, real estate investors and homeowners should invest the dollars in upgrades with high returns like updating the front and garage doors, finishing the basement, and modernizing the kitchen.
This is a glaring home renovation that turns away buyers. As one realtor puts it, each bedroom makes up nearly 15 percent of the value of the home. Knocking down walls and combining rooms into one large master suite potentially reduces the home’s value by 15 percent per room. When staging a small room, remove the clutter and replace larger furniture with small, modern items.
Also, real estate investors make the room appear larger with solid, neutral paint colors (definitely no wallpaper), a few well-placed décor pieces and a small bed. This same philosophy applies to closets and powder rooms. Update them, enlarge them but never eliminate closets or powder rooms.
Converting a Garage
Regardless of what the homeowner converts the garage into — a bedroom, a gym, a woodshop — removing it turns away buyers. If the home could use an extra bedroom, invest the dollars and add onto the house. Most real estate investors claim their buyers treasure a functioning garage over one converted into a bedroom.
It doesn’t take an expert to recognize poor carpentry. As a homeowner, consider hiring a professional for any construction repairs and projects. As an investor, it’s worth the time and money to hire a contractor and have him comb the house for shoddy craftsmanship. Redo walls, paint jobs, flooring, and any other “upgrade” the previous tenants performed. Even the smallest imperfections stand out to buyers.
More home renovations that turn away buyers include:
- Over-the-top landscaping – keep it modern and simple
- Spas and hot tubs
- Too many trippy paint colors – use neutral, trending colors
- Too much carpet – replace carpet with tile, wood, and laminate flooring
- Personalized tile designs
- Wallpaper – this is a big turnoff to buyers
- Really high-end appliances
- Home office – convert it back into a bedroom
- Built-in electronics like sound systems and theater rooms