8 Home Improvements & Renovations That Usually Don’t Pay Off

Posted by Laine Smith on 9/19/16 12:30 PM

Topics: Home Ownership

Whether you're looking to improve the quality of your home while living in it or trying to spruce up your home before selling, there are several home renovations that will recoup the majority of your investment. Then again, there are several home improvements you'd think would add value but actually hurt it.


Upscale Landscaping


While landscaping can instantly boost your home's curb appeal, landscape design that requires a large amount of upkeep, i.e. koi ponds, water features, plant types needing extensive care, etc., may be a turn-off for homebuyers in the future. Keep it simple with native plants for a picture-perfect and buyer-friendly yard. Click here for low-maintenance landscaping ideas.


New wall-to-wall carpeting used to be considered a huge selling factor but now is considered a liability for many homebuyers. Homeowners with pets and/or children desire hypoallergenic, easy-clean flooring options, so if you're going to install new flooring, consider a mix of wood flooring and carpeting (in low-traffic areas). If you have hardwood floors, consider having them refinished to bring them back to life.

Upscale Bathroom & Kitchen Upgrades

While updated bathrooms and kitchens are top "wants" on homebuyer lists, be careful not to go too top-of-the-line. You usually won't recoup the money you spend on high-end appliances, rare marble countertops, imported flooring materials, etc.

Sacrificing a Bedroom

Whether you work from home or are an avid fitness enthusiast, changing a former bedroom into a reason-specific room like a home office or gym may not be the best idea when it comes time to sell.

If you want to convert a room into something you'll utilize, make sure it can easily be converted back into its original bedroom use.

Removing a Bedroom to Increase a Master Suite

While master suites are a top-list item for many homebuyers, it shouldn’t be created at the cost of removing another bedroom. Even if the room you plan to remove has limited square footage, you’ll be changing the comparable value of your home and reducing the span of homebuyers who may be interested in your home in the future, regardless of how big that master suite is.

Swimming Pools


To some homebuyers and homeowners, a swimming pool is a great asset but many future homebuyers view them as added maintenance. If you're thinking about adding a pool for your own enjoyment, just be aware that this addition rarely recoups its investment unless the majority of homes in your neighborhood have one, as well.

Taste-Specific Light Fixtures

While sufficient lighting is a need and want for any homebuyer and homeowner, if you're considering selling soon, forgo highly sophisticated lighting fixtures, like ornate chandeliers.

Buyers want to project their own style into a potential home purchase, and if their taste doesn't match yours, you likely won't recoup the cost.



Sunrooms are like pools, if your home isn’t in a warm climate or a neighborhood in which every house has one, it can devalue your home. Angie’s List names a sunroom addition as one of the worst home improvements for sellers because it recoups less than 60 percent of the cost on average.

Regardless, outdoor living spaces are a major “do”, so if outdoor living is what you’re going for, consider investing in a deck addition which recoups 75 percent of its cost on average, according to Remodeling’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report.

The bottom line is to make home improvements you and your family will enjoy. But if you're hoping to sell in the near future, avoid these home renovations and improvements for value - it's likely they won't add value or at least not enough to pay back your out-of-pocket costs.

If you're interested in financing home improvements, download our free Rehab & Construction Guide to learn how you can finance your home improvements and your home into one mortgage loan.

Download: Rehab & Construction Guide

Subscribe to Email Updates