Your home isn’t just a source of pride or a place where you can relax after a long day — it’s also an investment in your family’s future. And while it’s natural to want to make improvements to increase your home’s resale value, some renovations will actually cost you money in the long run. Just because you see something as an improvement doesn’t mean a potential buyer will feel the same way.
Lavish Lighting Fixtures
One common home improvement mistake is falling in love with unique or lavish light fixtures, said Alon Barzilay, founder of real estate development company Urban Conversions.
“Whether it be ceiling-mounted lights in a dining room or a hanging pendant, there is a psychological phenomenon that happens when you go to a lighting store … you’re going to pick something exciting and new instead of picking a new addition that suddenly matches the big picture,” Barzilay said.
Further, the passage of trends works against homeowners. “Whatever is in vogue today will look dated 10 years down the road when you are ready to sell,” he said. “Simple is best. Fortunately, lighting can easily be switched out at a low cost.”
Too Much Wallpaper
With its patterns and texture, wallpaper can be an overwhelming design choice for your home. Plus, it’s notoriously difficult to remove. Homebuyers might view wallpaper removal as a potential headache, and it could be the tipping point for someone who wants a more move-in ready home.
Fresh paint and neutral colors are always a good idea to help stage your home when it’s on the market. If you do have wallpaper, think about whether it’s beneficial to remove it and repaint the walls before any showings or open houses, so your potential buyers never have to think about your wallpaper mistakes.
Texture on the Walls and Ceilings
Just like wallpaper, texture on walls and ceilings is difficult to remove. Simply knowing that a time-consuming project lies ahead might cause homebuyers to decrease their offer. Think twice before deciding on a fancy textured painting technique, and play around with textured wall décor instead.
“Many buyers like to upgrade the floors in their homes,” he said. “Adding tile or wood can make an improvement in value — unless you get that person who wants the 1950s diner look and installs black-and-white tile. For their vision, this is the pinnacle of cool. But for a resale value, most homebuyers will see it as a distraction and something they will need to rip out.”
Instead of falling victim to tiling mistakes, consider going with a traditional white tile floor, and buy a rug with the style you’re going for, he recommends. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a professional to replace the flooring, consider doing this home renovation yourself.
Too Much Carpeting
In an interview with Realtor.com, home remodeling expert Alex Biyevetskiy said that new hardwood floors can increase the sale price of a home by up to 2.5%. Compared to hardwood and laminate floors, carpet can quickly show signs of damage. Plus, colors and textures are highly based on personal preference, and any overly personal touches can decrease a home’s value.
Bright and Bold Paint Colors
Bright and bold paint colors can turn off any potential buyer who might lack a bit of vision. Fortunately, repainting a room before putting your home on the market is an easy fix, albeit an important one. Choose neutral colors to present buyers with a blank canvas, which can help them envision the home in their own style.
Combining Bedrooms To Create a Bigger Room
Combining two small bedrooms to create a bigger room might seem like a good idea to a young couple with no children or to empty nesters whose children have left the house. But this is a bad move if you don’t plan on staying in that home forever, said Brian Davis, real estate investor and director of education of renting resource SparkRental.
“Even small bedrooms add value to homes, as most families want children to have their own rooms but don’t mind if they’re on the small side,” he said. “In my experience, each bedroom can add about 15% to the value of a home.”
Michele Silverman Bedell, owner of residential agency Silversons, told MarketWatch that she’s seen firsthand how removing a closet to make room for another upgrade, such as a larger bathroom or bedroom, can hurt a home’s resale value. “People need closets,” Bedell said. “They’ll walk in and count the number of closets per room.”
A Garage-to-Gym or Living Space Conversion
For a fitness lover, a garage-to-gym conversion might seem like a wonderful idea. To parents of a millennial who just moved back home, a garage-to-apartment conversion probably seems like a money saver. But future homebuyers might not agree.
Many people search for houses with a garage, and what they’re looking for isn’t a gym or an extra living space — they’re looking for a garage to serve its primary purpose of housing cars and storage items.
Always think twice before getting into the do-it-yourself home improvement game. Gordon said he’s seen several examples of DIY jobs that have decreased a home’s value. “I’ve seen plenty of houses where you can tell the owner did the work,” he said. “The owner probably feels she made all the right improvements, but buyers quickly see the shoddy workmanship and unusual finished product.”
There are ways you can increase your home’s value with DIY projects, but you need to be strategic. Gordon went on to recommend hiring a pro the first time out. “Then ask to be a part of the process and learn from the professional as they do the job,” he said.
The bottom line is that any over-personalization of your home can lead to a decrease in value. Yes, you want to live in a space you love, but think twice before investing in any major or costly renovations. And always make sure your home improvements are completed with the proper permits by licensed professionals.
“Copyright NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”