Home Improvers Beware!

Amber Randhawa Homeowner and Homebuyer Tips

One of the best ways to add to your home’s value and increase the long term sale price is by making improvements and renovations, right? Not so fast. While many of the changes you can make to your home will result in an increased valuation, this isn’t always the case, and each potential change should be fully researched before you decide to sink a lot of money into a renovation. Some of the additions and changes that you think are fantastic ideas might not be in line with what is currently popular in your area’s housing market. Maybe you want a larger master bedroom while your guest room sits empty next door. Knocking out that wall may seem like the path to a luxurious and roomy master suite, but how well will your home sell to a market full of growing families all looking for homes with several secondary bedrooms?

Read on for more examples of home improvements you should think twice about!


It’s true that wallpaper has made a bit of a comeback in the interior design world, with powder rooms and accent walls in particular becoming the focus of this paint alternative. Think twice before you choose paper over paint if you foresee putting your home on the market within the next few years. Even though wallpapering is increasing in popularity again, many people still shy away from it. The patterns on wallpaper tend to be very personalized in their appeal, and you would be quite lucky to find a buyer whose preferences match your own. If you do decide to make the leap into the world of wallpaper, limit to just one room or accent wall. That way if an agent down the line recommends you take it town before selling, you’ll have less work to redo, and if you do leave it up, potential buyers won’t see so much of it that needs to come down.

Non-Traditional Paint Colors…and Locations

Painting your home is almost always a good investment, with the increase in value immediately making up for the time and expense of painting. Unless, however, you decide to go too far into leftfield with your paint choices. A bright orange bedroom or a black kitchen may sound like a great way to express your personality, but few buyers will be into your Halloween decor and may instantly think your home will be too much trouble to repaint. This is even more of an issue when it comes to ceilings and trim. Painting walls is a pretty easy update for a new buyer. Painting trim is far more expensive and time-consuming, and almost no one wants to see a color other than white on a room’s trim and molding. If a buyer wants your home, you can be guaranteed they will lowball the offer once they consider the work involved with undoing such a decision.

Wall to Wall Carpeting

If you have carpet in your home that is beginning to show wear, making updates will almost always increase your home’s value. But if you are making changes anyway, consider switching some if not all of your carpeted rooms over to hardwood or an engineered alternative. For reasons largely related to both appearance and allergens, today’s buyers are simply not interested in carpet. If you are looking to save a little bit of money with a combination of hardwoods and carpet, save the carpet for a guest bedroom, childrens’ den or playroom, or the basement. Hardwoods are especially important in foyers and entryways, and any formal room such as a dining or living room. Along the same lines as carpet, avoid Pergo flooring altogether when making upgrades. Very few people care for the look of Pergo, and it instantly lowers the value of your home.

Over the Top Kitchen and Bathroom Renovations

Kitchen and bathroom renovations are usually a go-to for upping the value of a home. And who doesn’t want a gorgeous new kitchen to use while you are still in your current home. or a spa-quality oasis off the master bedroom?  The problem here lies only in going too far. If your home is of average size and value, a professional grade kitchen will look out of place and probably will not be worth the investment in the long run.  Likewise a master bathroom the size of an additional bedroom with high end features will seem out of place in your average-sized family home. A brand new set of appliances and a fresh coat of paint in your kitchen will make your kitchen feel brand new and won’t break the bank. If you do decide on a bathroom remodel, keep in mind that large tiled showers are a better investment than spa-style whirlpool bathtubs.

Decreasing the Number of Bedrooms

This warning is especially important if you will soon be facing an empty nest. You may see no need for numerous smaller bedrooms if you do not have children still living at home. But if you decide to place your house on the market and downsize, you need to understand that many of the home buyers in your area may be young and growing families for whom numerous bedrooms is a main selling point. The temptation to knock down a wall and expand your master suite may be strong, but resist it, unless you have numerous secondary bedrooms and one is simply too small to be practically used for anything else. The same is true of closets. Ample closet space sells homes, so never assume that a small closet in a secondary bedroom or a linen closet is unnecessary just because you could use the space for something else.

Hot Tubs and Swimming Pools

Hot tubs and swimming pools are both expensive and time-consuming to maintain, especially for someone not used to owning one. Prospective buyers with young children may also consider them to be a safety hazard. Of course you will find buyers here and there who love the idea of having a hot tub or pool, but these investments are not likely to add value to your home. Make these purchases only if you do not foresee yourself selling your home anytime in the near future.  It’s almost unheard of for a buyer to refuse to purchase a home simply because it does not include a swimming pool or hot tub, but it is not at all uncommon for the presence of these items to drive a buyer away.

Garage Conversions

There are two types of people in the world – those who park their cars in their garage, and those who do not, and you never know which type your prospective buyers will be one day.  If you are not one who is likely to park indoors, you may be tempted to use all that space for something else, such as a home gym or an additional living room or game room. Avoid this sort of conversion if you are interested in putting your home on the market one day. Buyers will most likely either want the space as a garage for parking their cars or for storage, and won’t be happy that a space like that no longer exists.

Final Thoughts

We’ve given you some of our suggestions for what might not be worthwhile home improvement projects, but the main advice we can give you is this: If you are going to have something done, do it right. Make sure any work done on your home is done by a professional. The appearance of mediocre DIY renovations will turn a buyer off long before any specific renovation will.

Read on for more of our tips for home sellers!