Home Improvement Projects that Decrease Home Value

Home improvement projects require an investment in time and money, along with some inconvenience during the remodeling process. These reasons make it important to ensure all renovations result in a good return on investment prior to undertaking a project to improve your home. Why? If you are not thinking about selling your house now, unforeseen future events may create the need to sell.

The last thing most homeowners want to do is reduce the value of their home, especially due to a home improvement project. Nevertheless, this may occur unless you do some research in advance to find renovation projects which add value – not devaluation. Renovations that decrease the value of a home typically occur as a result of poor workmanship, using inferior materials, unapproved renovations, or the project is too taste-specific.

Do It Yourself Remodeling Projects: Renovations to Avoid

Types of do-it-yourself home improvement projects which typically devalue your home, offering little return on investment and include:

  • Unapproved Renovations – approval from a homeowners association or a local government office, such as city or county, may need approval or an inspection permit. Homeowners need to contact the appropriate office to verify the need or not to request an inspection permit or approval. Unapproved renovations are often uncovered during home inspections by a buyer’s representative and may require removal prior to closing the sale.
  • Swimming Pool Installation – although adding a pool in the backyard may be fun for the family, swimming pools often turn potential buyers away. Their reasons include a perception of too much maintenance or safety issues, particularly if they have small children. An exception may be an in-ground pool added to vacation home in popular resort area, which may increase the house’s value.
  • Backup Home Generator Installation – according to the Remodeling Online Survey (Hanley Wood, 2008), the average recoup value when selling a home with a backup generator is approximately 55 percent. The only exception is a house located in a hurricane prone area, where the generator may increase the home’s value.
  • Home Office – according to the Cost versus Value Report (Realtor Magazine, 2006), the return on investment is as low as 52 percent. These rooms are often viewed as unnecessary and wasted space requiring renovation by those who do not work from home.
  • Poor Workmanship – these are the result of projects or repairs completed with inferior materials or the finished project is unappealing. A do-it-yourselfer uncomfortable with a project needs to hire a contractor. Unfortunately, not all contractor work results in quality workmanship. This causes the need to check a contractor’s references, licenses, and qualifications. Also, avoid well intentioned family members who are not qualified to do the work.

Renovation Projects: Taste-Specific Remodeling Considerations

Homeowners naturally complete home renovation projects to go with their tastes and style. On the other hand, if the future holds the possibility of reselling the home, stay away from wild colors and extreme designs. These remodeling efforts typically lower the value of a home, because finding a buyer with your same tastes and style is rare.

  • Man Caves – a dream of many men! Even so, these man caves are normally so taste-specific that they usually lower the value of a home at resell. Rarely will someone have the same passion for a sports team, college, or hobby as you. One way to avoid this devaluation is to keep the room plain or have the ability to remove all taste-specific items prior to placing the house on the market.
  • Painting – although painting or repainting is an essential step in any renovation project, because they evoke emotions and set the mood in any room. There are interior colors to avoid and include brown, red, black, purple, or orange. Exterior colors to avoid include bright colors such as blue, green, yellow, orange, and purple. Light and dark pastel colors are the best for interiors and brown or earth tones for the exterior.
  • Bathroom Remodeling– although these renovation projects normally increase the value of a home, there a taste-specific items to consider. Custom built tub shapes and vivid fixtures, tiles, or ornate faucets are not appealing to potential home buyers. The finished bathroom remodel project should appeal to the largest number of people reasonably possible.
  • Kitchen Remodeling – as with an appealing bathroom remodel project, kitchen renovations need to adhere to the same guidelines. A kitchen with commercial grade appliances may appeal to chefs and people who love to cook. On the other hand, a kitchen renovation which results in a fresh modern appearance and new appliances will add value to most any home.

These home improvement projects all have the potential to add value to any home. The solution is to avoid poor workmanship, bright and loud colors, projects which are too taste-specific, and unapproved renovations. Your improvement projects need to reflect your tastes and lifestyle or you will not be happy; however, always keep resell value in mind.