By: Nick Goomber


Tags: Renovations thAt Reduces VALUE


Home-renovation projects rarely pay for themselves wh?n the home is sold. Sometimes th? financial hit is considerable. For example, if you add a sunroom…put in a swimming pool in a cold-weather state…or remodel a home office, you would be lucky to recoup half your costs when you sell. But som? specific home projects are even worse financially—not only do they not pay for themselves, they actually will make your home sell for less than it would have if you hadn’t done them at all.

Thing? not to do to your home.

DO NOT expand your master bedroom if that means eliminating another bedroom. Small master bedrooms are a common complaint, partiularly in older homes. But in many cases, the only realistic way to expand a master bedroom is to sacrifice one of the home’s other bedrooms, which is likely to be a costly mistake.

Fewer bedrooms means fewer potential buyers—most buyers have a specific number of bedrooms in mind and never even look at homes that fall short of this number. The buyers who remain will expect your home to be priced in line with the mostly smaller homes that share it's now-lower bedroom count.

The financial hit is greatest when a home starts with three or fewer bedrooms. Dropping from three to two or two to one will greatly reduce both the potential number of interested buyers and the eventual selling price—it could cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

DO NOT convert a garage into living space. Finishing a garage can seem like a cost-effective way to enlarge a home—it is significantly less expensive than having an addition built from scratch. Trouble is, many buyers will not even look at properties that do not have garages. As a result, converting your garage into part of your home could reduce the value of the home by $10,000 or more—particularly if you convert the garage into a family room or an office rather than an extra bedroom that would at least increase the home’s appeal for some larger families. Finishing part of the basement is almost always a better financial move in the long run, assuming that the ceiling is at least eight feet high.

DO NOT add artistic flourishes or personal touches to the home itself. The smart way to add art and/or personality to a home is to hang art on its walls, not to alter the home in ways that can’t be easily undone when it is time to sell.

Examples: Do not have a mural painted on a wall or ceiling—or if you do, paint over it before you put the home on the market. It would be relatively easy for buyers to paint over it themselves, but most buyers prefer homes that already are the way they want them, not homes that require even modest amounts of work. Do not have a large masonry fountain built in your yard. Do not incorporate a mosaic artwork into the tile of your kitchen or bathroom.

It’s perfectly fine for a home to have style, but that should be a mainstream style that fits in with the neighborhood and the overall architecture of the home—a home in a rural area could have a farmhouse style, for example. If a home’s style is out of character for the neighborhood…dramatically out-of-step with the size and value of the property…or reflects only your personal tastes, your home’s value is likely to take a hit—even if the flourishes you added truly do look nice. Buyers want a home to be a blank slate for them to fill, not a reflection of a prior owner’s tastes.