7 Worst Home Improvements to Make

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Worst Home Improvements to Make

Worst Home Improvements to Make

By: Amber Hunt

Many homeowners purchase a house with renovations in mind. You may need to put some work into your house before it lives up to its full potential. Before you start knocking down walls, make sure you are aware of the renovation’s return on investment.

It’s also smart to begin any home improvement project with an idea of how much room your house has for improvement. Use free online resources to get an estimate of your home’s value, information about recent home sales and an analysis of your home loan to ensure you’re not over-improving your home and that you can afford renovations.

While every home situation is different, here are seven renovations that may not pay you back when it’s time to sell:

1. Home office remodel – According to Remodeling magazine, the average cost of a home office remodeling job (including wiring for Internet access, multiple phone lines and customized cabinets & desk) is about $10,526. On average, 55 percent of home office remodeling costs are recouped in the resale value of a home. If you want to spruce up your home office without a large investment, stay away from custom built items.

2. Sunroom addition – Many people believe that sunroom additions will cost less because they don’t require heating & cooling, are smaller and generally don’t have a bathroom. However, little extras and labor costs can easily add up and generally don’t return on the amount invested.

3. Bathroom addition – Sometimes additional bathrooms are needed, especially if your family has outgrown the number of available bathrooms in your home. However, they tend to require a lot of costly work and generally only return a fraction of the investment.

4. Garage addition – Building a garage is basically like building a house for your car. It often requires builders to pour a foundation, construct walls and build a roof along with many other labor intensive efforts. The worst part is that homeowners generally recoup only 62 percent of the average costs, which are around $58,000.

5. Master bedroom suite – Master bedrooms can also be similar to building a small home, depending on how elaborate you want to get.  Adding bedrooms can add value to the house, but the costs are even greater.  The average cost per square foot varies, but anyway you look at it – you’re likely to lose money.

6. Fiberglass entry door – If you’re going to upgrade your door, don’t choose the higher-cost fiberglass alternative to a heavy steel door. Steel doors will provide greater security and weather-resistance and tend to return a 29 percent gain on the investment.

7. Swimming pools – Pools can be fun but they shouldn’t be added to a home in hopes that it will boost the value.  Many people see the pool as a burden when they are home shopping and focus on the maintenance costs and even possible hazards they present.

Before you get started on any home improvement be sure to consider its potential return. If you decide to move forward with any addition, you may want to think about refinancing as a way to fund your improvements. Whatever you decide, make sure you are making choices that will increase a home’s value rather than harm it.

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This article was originally featured on Quicken Loans Mortgage News, where personal finance writer, Amber Hunt, specializes in writing about mortgages and helping people refinance.

  • Dawn

    I’m sorry but most of this information is not accurate. I just had an appraisal and all of those improvements do factor into your homes value and since it is all used against comparisons in your market area, the more you have over the comparable, the more your home is worth. The first five on the list are highly desirable to buyers. Any time you add square footage on to your home your homes value goes up in two ways, overall size and additional rooms. Sun rooms can easily have heat and air added to them and this allows them to be added to homes size. A garage is considered superior to on street parking, and carports and impact your home’s value significantly. The question is, will these improvements get you back dollar for dollar on your home, no improvement usually give you back dollar for dollar. The question is does it raise the value of your home and add to your equity, YES.

    • Henry

      He’s not saying that they won’t raise the value of your home. Of course they will. He’s saying that they won’t raise the value of your home nearly as much as they cost to implement. Thus, they’re a relatively poor investment relative to other improvements you can make. There’s nothing fundamentally inaccurate about this article.

  • John M. White, MBA

    Wow, the numbers you show are really high from what I have experienced. I built my own home office for a lot less, although I did have to purchase a few things like air compressor tanks to power some air tools like a sander and nailer.

    The problem with doing home improvements to make the house more attractive to a buyer is most buyers have their own ideas on what they would like, and generally are not the same as yours.

  • http://www.abclawutah.com/ ABC Law Utah

    Wow – I never thought of a home “improvement” to be a loss! Thanks for the great info, I’ll have to keep it in mind when we’re remodeling our home!

  • http://heartbeat-coaching.com Janet

    The tip about fiberglass doors vs. steel is very helpful to me. I need to replace my cellar door and was told I should buy fiberglass instead of steel. Of course, this was by the company selling the doors. The cost was quite high! I’ll look for a steel door instead.