The Top 10 Home Improvement Money Pits
Part of the fun of owning your own house is changing it to fit your style. That could involve redecorating, landscaping, remodeling or simple improvements. Unfortunately, some home improvements just don’t hold their value or turn out to be money pits that you’ll wish you’d never taken on.
The Market for Home Improvements Has Changed
If you’re thinking of undertaking some improvements in order to increase the resale value of your home, think long and hard before you do so. Not long ago, there was a time that any home improvement you made to your house translated into increased resale value, but in today’s housing market that is not the case. Many homeowners have even found that their pride and joy project was really more of a liability when it came time to sell.
Why is this? First of all, the housing market has changed. Buyers are no longer looking for the latest and greatest luxurious amenities. They’re looking for solid, good quality basic amenities. They’re looking for home that they can stay in for a long time and make their own. That means, anything that is too over-the-top or too personal to you is not going to sell well with buyers. Think basic and functional, not luxurious and unique, if you are undertaking a home improvement project with the expectation of selling in the near future.
The Top 10 Home Improvement Money Pits
- Room Additions
Any addition is going to be expensive and that is where the problem lies. When you add onto your house you’re adding on everything – heat, A/C, electricity, water, not to mention the construction and building materials themselves. It is for this reason that room additions rarely pay off. You’re even worse off if you undertake a specialty room addition, which limits the use of the room to one purpose.
- Upscale Remodeling
Upscale remodeling has a place; just make sure it’s in your neighborhood. Any remodeling should be done with the neighborhood in mind. If you overdo it, you’ll end up eating the cost of the remodeling because buyers won’t be willing to pay so much more for something that is so out of character for the area.
- Kitchen Remodeling
Kitchen remodels are tricky. They are costly and disruptive. There’s a good chance problems will be uncovered as the kitchen is remodeled, resulting in unanticipated expenses. In addition to that, overly elaborate kitchen remodels can turn buyers off. A buyer expects a kitchen when they purchase a home. They aren’t going to pay much extra just because you decided to remodel it.
- Home Office Remodeling
A home office remodel may sound like a good idea, but home offices take up precious square footage. Buyers will be looking at square footage and the functionality of a room. A room that is dedicated as an office will be much harder for future owners to change to the room they need, which could be a bedroom or dining room.
- Sun room additions
Sunrooms sound great. What could be better than lounging in the privacy of your own home with the sun beating down on you? But sunrooms never recoup their cost. This is because they’re expensive to undertake. But more importantly, once you have a sunroom, you really can’t use it for much else. Like the home office, the buyer is limited in their use of the room.
- Bathroom additions
Bathroom additions cost a lot. There’s no way around that. No matter how big you make the bathroom, you’ve got plumbing, heating, electrical, water and moisture control to deal with. Then figure in the fixtures. Specialty items like Jacuzzi’s only put you deeper in the hole. If you’re going to do a bathroom remodel, your best bet is to stick with your current footprint and just upgrade your fixtures.
- Garage addition
Garages are nice. But they are also expensive. Building a garage requires all the work of building a house, minus heating and air conditioning. That means you’ve spent money to add square footage that is uninhabitable in most cases. No buyer is going to pay extra for a garage addition.
- Back up Power Generator
While people may appreciate the idea of a backup power generator, most won’t pay extra for it. It is not considered essential. Anything that is not essential to the function or purpose of the home will drain money from your pocket.
- Master Suite Addition
Master suites are one of those falling by the wayside improvements. Most people don’t spend much time in the bedroom and if they have the choice of a larger living room or a master suite, they’ll choose the living room. Master suite additions are costly and limit future buyers use of the square footage.
- Swimming pools
Again, swimming pools are not considered essential amenities. Although you may love swimming, many homebuyers would rather not take on the expense and maintenance that a pool requires, especially in a moderate climate. Most people prefer to have yards and swimming pools eat up huge chunks of the yard. Plus, it may scare off people with young children.
Most of these money pit projects have a common theme. They are too narrow in their functionality to be of real value to homebuyers. Unless you are doing the upgrade or remodel for yourself and not with the expectation that it will pay off down the road when the time comes to sell the property, then save yourself the money and don’t do it.
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