Most homeowners take the long-term view about investing back into home improvements. They definitely want to make sure they have all the functionality out of their home that they require, but at the same time they want to be aware of the affect they are having on the home’s enduring value.
There are many things enterprising homeowners can do to raise the appraised value of their property; replacing the roof, upgrading appliances, or repairing damage are all excellent places to start. However, there are some projects which do not provide good value for money. Though they are certainly enjoyable to have in your home, they simply will not have the impact on the final valuation that some features will. Let’s take a look at ten of them:
1. Swimming Pools – Even though they sound wonderful, and you can easily fill your head with images of you and your family lazily relaxing around the sparkling pool, sipping drinks, this rarely turns out to be an accurate portrayal of pool ownership. You may be surprised to know how much the ongoing maintenance of one of these money pits costs! In fact, it is not unheard of for the addition of a pool to actually lower the value of a home, as prospective buyers are put off by the potential cost and work involved.
2. Outdoor Gazebo – Similar to a pool without all the maintenance, a gazebo might be useful to you and your entertaining ways but if it takes up valuable space in the rear yard it could turn off future buyers. Children love to run and kick balls in wide open spaces so impeding this with a large gazebo can detract from the value of the home and its appeal to families.
3. Expensive Landscaping – A good place to start here is by following your local homeowners’ association guidelines, or taking a look at what other people in your neighbourhood have done with their yards. In many cases, too much more than a lawn and a few tastefully arranged trees or shrubs will be overdoing it. If you pass beyond that limit, be prepared to see virtually no return on the extra cash invested.
4. Premium Appliances – Perfectly silent running appliances and designer brand stoves and ovens can add value to your home but only if the entire home is fitted out with premium finishes. Avoid poor quality brands, but unless your home is a mansion decked out in all things opulent, stick to well known, trusted brands that stand for quality.
5. Premium Finishes – As with premium appliances, premium finishes will not be worth a penny if they are not present throughout the entire home. This can be extremely costly to install in the first place as well as maintain. Also, if your home is not in an area that attracts buyers willing to pay for such finishes then you’ll be over capitalising for sure if you choose high end luxury design. Designer in-built hall tables and chairs and imported wood flooring or rare marble tiles are all likely never to get you any decent return for what it costs to purchase and install them. Keep the theme throughout the entire house to the same level of quality and you will avoid this often-made mistake.
6. Carpeting Wall to Wall – Be prepared to do some calculations if you’ve got some old and ugly carpeting. While your first inclination may be to rip it all out and have it replaced, that may not be the best choice. Consider putting the money it would cost for new plush carpet into refinishing the hardwood floors instead and you might find there is a lot of change left over!
7. New Windows – With energy prices continuing to climb, people think investing in energy efficient windows is a no-brainer. This isn’t necessarily the case though, as the best models are super expensive, and will usually require installation costs in addition to their hefty purchase prices. Figure out if it will really save you money before putting these into your home, and go to the extent of calculating how many years it will take to recoup any savings so you make a very informed decision. Of course, if your home is near a noisy road or rail line then you should consider double glazed windows to reassure buyers they can gain quiet enjoyment despite the close proximity to these busy service areas.
8. Designer Doors – French doors, solid timber doors, sliding doors, stained glass doors and the list goes on. Doors are a very important part of the home’s decor as well as acting as noise barriers between the outside world, inside rooms and insulation, however, there is not always a lot to be gained by adding the most luxurious doors to the everyday home. Avoid cheap, hollow doors, instead choose medium to high quality fixtures that perform their function well.
9. Unique Layout – You might think you’ve had the world’s greatest idea of knocking down certain walls in your home and making two spaces into one bigger space but this can spell trouble for the value of your home if it’s done badly. Most homes are initially designed in a way to make the most of the available space, if you feel you can improve on that then proceed with caution as unusual designs can make for a confusing and difficult to live in home that will turn off future buyers.
10. DIY Jobs – Frequently home owners decide to do their home renovations themselves to save big dollars on contractors. The problem is that you can end up devaluing your home simply because the work is sub-standard. Most potential home buyers can spot a not so handy handy-man job a mile off and it can make them nervous as to the potential problems that might arise down the track. Is the bathroom properly waterproofed or is the shower likely to leak and rot the floor? If you’re not an expert then leave the work to those who are so as not to add more things to your home that aren’t worth one penny.
As you can see, there are some additional concerns in play when you are evaluating whether or not to install particular types of improvements in your home. Not everything is as cut and dried as it may first appear, and you have to go out of your way to make sure that you are making responsible financial choices regarding your home. If you do then you can be sure your home will increase its value over the long term.
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