Maybe you’re a military family who hasn’t previously had the opportunity to own a home, and now the thought of making one your own is exciting. Maybe you’ve been building a Pinterest board full of your favorite home trends for years and now you actually have the home to apply them to. But hold up! There are “improvements” that can decrease the resale value and resale potential of your home. If you know this is only your “home for now,” not forever, take a minute to consider the following before you bust out the paintbrush or sledgehammer:
- Wallpaper or Bold Paint Colors
Have you been lusting over that amazing accent wall or funky wallpaper you witnessed your favorite HGTV stars adding to their latest project? Although you may love it, very few potential buyers will see it as a plus. We know, it’s not as fun, but stick to neutral colors and avoid wallpaper. Invest in a fun accent piece you can take with you when you go instead. Your future buyer will have one less item to add to the no-go column when viewing your property.
- Wall-to-Wall Carpet
Carpet has taken a back seat to hardwood and other solid flooring in recent years. If you must replace carpeting, try to avoid it in living areas, dining rooms, and entryways. Investing a little more to add hardwood or luxury vinyl plank flooring may pay back big in the appeal it has to potential buyers.
- Luxury Kitchen or Bath Renovations
It’s true that kitchen and bath renovations are some of the best upgrades to increase the value of your home, but you can go too far. New appliances, countertops, and flooring will freshen up the spaces. You don’t need to go overboard with high-end cooktops or luxury bathroom tiles. Some buyers may like it, but it most likely won’t translate to extra money at closing.
- Turning Two Bedrooms or Spaces into One
Although it may create better functionality for you, tearing down walls and combining rooms can actually reduce the appeal of your home to future buyers. Many buyers have a minimum number of bedrooms they are looking for when searching for a home. This is especially true for growing families with young children. Also, think twice before eliminating a closet to expand your master bathroom, for example. It may come back to haunt you.
- Garage Conversions
Doesn’t everyone want a personal home gym or movie theater? Although it might be your passion, turning your garage into a specialty space can be a big negative for resale. Most buyers want to use the garage for its intended purpose: cars and storage.
- Swimming Pools
This is a big one. Pools are expensive and polarizing. They represent a huge commitment for maintenance and present safety and liability concerns. Not a good return on your investment.
- Elaborate Landscaping
Curb appeal is very important, but turning your landscaping into a botanical garden is too much. Future buyers may not share your love of gardening, viewing the yard as high maintenance. Keep the yard clean and simple.
- Poorly Executed DIY Projects
They make it look so easy, right? YouTube is full of DIY videos that anyone can do and that will save you big $$. Or so you think. Let’s take a minute to assess your skills. Does assembling a bookshelf from Ikea cause you to break a sweat before you even open the box? Maybe you should consider hiring a contractor to take on the project instead. Poorly done renovations can be a real turnoff to buyers, especially if you have a higher value home. They represent a cost to repair or remove and could give buyers reason to question the quality of other improvements you have made.
It should be obvious now that a little bit of forethought is extremely important when considering which improvements to make to your new home. Try to stick to simple changes you won’t regret when your home goes on the market in a few years. The last thing you want is to waste time and money having to undo the “improvements” you made.