Many of our luxury hardscaping clients aren’t just looking to convert their yard into their own personal paradise—they’re also thinking of their project as an investment, looking to add significant value to their home. If you’re keeping one eye on the future in anticipation of eventually selling the house you currently live in, you too probably try to make occasional upgrades that boost your home’s worth.
But very often, homeowners undertake projects that cost more than they ever return at the time of sale. If they’re changes you truly want for your own comfort and enjoyment, then by all means, go ahead. If you’re interested in them for an ROI, though, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
We’ve already published a piece on home improvements that don’t raise home value enough to earn a profit, and it’s been popular among our clients and readers. It addresses seven of the most common projects that homeowners do with the mistaken belief that they’ll yield a return. If you haven’t read it, be sure to check it out.
Because that first post has gotten such positive response, and because it’s an important topic to our clients and followers, we decided to write about seven more home improvements that typically don’t raise home value enough to generate an ROI.
Home Improvements that Don’t Add More Value than They Cost
- Getting a new roof is a costly home improvement project that can certainly make your home a little more appealing to potential buyers. But it’s not considered an upgrade that anyone is willing to pay more for; it’s just considered a maintenance issue. The assumption on the part of any buyer will be that the roof was approaching or past its life expectancy, and that you were due to replace it.
- Solar panels are great for the environment, and they’ll lower your home’s energy bills. They’re a good, eco-conscious thing to have, and we certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from installing them and doing a bit more to lower their carbon footprint. But know going in that they won’t provide an ROI when you sell. Also, if you finance the solar panels and there’s still a balance due when you sell, you’ll have to pay it off.
- Inconsistent upgrades—like adding brand new or high-end appliances or other elements in some places, but not in all—don’t add value to your home. In fact, they can make it less appealing to buyers. For example, if you put in state-of-the-art stainless steel kitchen appliances, but the cabinets and countertops are obviously dated and the bathrooms are 20 years overdue for an overhaul, the inconsistent feel in your home seriously detracts. Plus, you draw extra attention to the areas that remain in need of an update or upgrade.
- Niche outdoor features that appeal to a small subset of buyers won’t boost your home value enough to make them worthwhile. These too can even detract from buyer appeal, taking away practical yard space and perhaps requiring removal. This would include things like playground equipment, sports courts (tennis, volleyball, shuffleboard, etc.), and even outdoor hot tubs.
- Putting in new wall-to-wall carpeting is expensive, especially if you get high-quality carpet. But it’s not a selling point nearly as often as you might think, and it’s not something that justifies raising your asking price. Carpeting has fallen out of favor in recent times. It’s prone to discoloring, stains, wear, and other damage; it’s a pain to clean; it stubbornly retains pet odors and dander; there are health concerns associated with the chemicals on new carpeting; and so on. Also, what if buyers don’t like the color?
- New floors aren’t a smart investment either, if all you’re after is an ROI. Granted, if your existing floors aren’t in good shape and they can’t be improved with some maintenance, it could be of benefit to replace them before selling just to eliminate a common turnoff. But floor replacements are pricey—more so than any value they add—and it’s always a roll of the dice whether the materials you choose will appeal to potential buyers.
- Installing new windows can run you tens of thousands of dollars, but it certainly won’t add nearly that much value to your home. They can make your house more energy efficient, which may pay off over many years where your energy bills are concerned, but don’t look for a return at the point of sale.