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Home Improvement Ideas to Avoid

home and family
There are many reasons that a homeowner might decide to make upgrades or improvements to their property. They may want to enjoy the look, feel, and functionality of the new enhancement themselves —  —but an added perk is boosting the value of their home and reaping the financial rewards when it comes time to sell. However, there are some home improvements that may not provide the return you were expecting. In fact, they may even cause you to lose money!

General Guidelines

Before beginning any renovations, review the home prices and common amenities in your area. For example, if your neighborhood consists of modest, three bedroom homes, adding a fourth bedroom may not pay off. Or if average home prices are $150,000, spending $50,000 on a new kitchen won’’t give you a full return. Renovations should enhance your home, not price it out of the local market.

But if your heart is set on rare marble countertops or a steam shower, do it for your own enjoyment, not as an investment— — especially if you plan to stay in the house long-term.

Home Improvements to Avoid

Read on for some enhancements that are not likely to earn their keep at the closing table.
Over-the-top bathroom: Although an upgraded bathroom is a good investment in general, it’’s easy to go overboard. Features like waterfall showers, fireplaces, and imported tile cater to specific tastes that may not fit a prospective buyer. Although luxury bathroom renovations make for interesting TV shows, they won’’t necessarily increase the value of your home in proportion to the cost.

Instead, consider replacing the once sought-after whirlpool tub with a larger walk-in shower. Whirlpool tubs were all the rage in the early 2000s, but have since lost favor. They take up a lot of space, and most adults don’’t have time to soak in a bathtub. As long as the home has another tub for bathing kids (if young families are your neighborhood demographic), consider replacing the master tub.

Swimming pool:
Perhaps you are dreaming of lounging poolside in your very own backyard oasis. But wait – unless you’’re in a hot climate, like Florida or Arizona, a big investment like this likely won’’t pay off. Besides the initial cash outlay, pools are difficult and expensive to maintain, and may actually turn away buyers with young children. According to HouseLogic.com, “”At most, your home’’s value might increase 7%” after installing an in-ground pool. Above-ground pools can actually decrease your home’’s value. Some realtors even recommend that homeowners give buyers the option of having the pool removed as part of the sale.

Wall-to-wall carpeting: New carpet looks great at first, but can quickly start to show signs of dirt and wear. Also, your choice of carpet color, texture, and length may not appeal to the buyer’’s personal preference. Many of today’’s buyers prefer hardwood or tile, or plan to install their own new carpet after moving in. Don’’t expect to recoup the cost of your carpet purchase and installation.

High-end landscaping: Although upscale landscaping, water features, window boxes and other lawn enhancements can dramatically improve curb appeal, they may not reap the rewards of all that hard work. The buyer may be deterred by the implication of ongoing maintenance and upkeep. Plus, your gardening tastes may not match theirs. It’s best to stick to simple landscaping that looks nice all year round without countless hours of work.

More Home Improvement Projects That Don’t Pay

Remodeling magazine’s 2015 Cost Vs. Value Report lists these projects as having the lowest ROI:

Job CostResale ValueCost Recouped
Sunroom Addition$75,726$36,70448.5%
Home Office$29,066$14,15548.7%
Bathroom Addition$39,578$22,87557.8%

According to the report, ““As a general rule, the simpler and lower-cost the project, the bigger its cost-value ratio. Three of the four projects that cost less than $5,000 for a pro to do were ranked in the top five for cost recouped, and the other two were in the $5,000-to-$25,000 price range.””

In other words, small projects can make a big impact. What’’s the best home improvement project? A new steel entry door, with a budget-friendly cost of $1230.