Every homeowner must do routine maintenance to their home that more or less just maintains its current condition. However, some homeowners decide they want to improve their home’s value and marketability. The amount of value certain improvements cost may not add as much value as the cost to do it.
Homeowner’s are very biased when it comes to their own home, they see the things they have done to it and think dollar for dollar the home’s value should go up with each improvement, this is not often the case. A potential buyer or real estate appraiser may be unimpressed with certain improvements, what you must keep in mind is that what you view as a valuable upgrade may not be the same as what the real estate market sees as a valuable upgrade.
Below I am going to outline Five Renovations That Don’t Increase Home Appraisal Value.
1. Swimming Pools
There aren’t many areas of the world where backyard pools are common place. Before adding a pool think about your neighbourhood, do the majority of properties have pools? Would a potential buyer expect there to be a pool? If pools are not common place in your area and/or have a very short season you likely will not be adding much value to your home, definitely not as much as the cost to put one in. In fact, Many potential home buyers view swimming pools as dangerous, expensive to maintain and insurance claims waiting to happen. Potential buyers with small children could really be turned off by there being a swimming pool. In-ground pools come at a very steep price, my opinion is if buyers in your area would not expect a pool then this money is better spent elsewhere as you are not likely recoup the cost in a sale or appraisal.
2. Elaborate Landscaping
Home buyers and appraisers definitely appreciate good landscaping, but there is a line where elaborate landscaping no longer adds its equivalent in value to what it costs. Keep in mind that the next person buying your home may not want to take on the upkeep work of elaborate landscaping and may not want to have to hire a professional landscaper to take care of it. An appraiser will also only assess so much value to landscaping in their report as not a lot of emphasis is put on landscaping by the market, how often have you heard of someone buying a home because it had great landscaping? sure it is a plus but you are better off to just meet the standard in your area than to get too carried away.
3. Overbuilding for the Neighborhood
It is better to have the other homes in your neighbourhood “pull-up” your home’s value than to have them drag it down. Your neighbourhood plays a large factor in your home’s value, you do not want a large, elaborate, two storey home surrounded by older bungalows. The people that will be looking for that type of home will go to a neighbourhood where it will be surrounded by similar properties. Likewise, it will be very difficult for an appraiser to find similar comparables in your area and this could lead to a lower value being assessed.
4. High-End Upgrades
Most people are on a strict budget when it comes to home improvements, so what they will do is they will pick a room and do a complete remodel adding higher end flooring and fully modernize the room. This is good and I understand the strategy, next time you have some extra funds, pick another room and the same and after 5 years or so your home will be fully updated. But does that full remodel of that first or even second room really add as much value to your home as it costs? My opinion is now, if you full remodel one room and then plan on selling or getting an appraisal the appraiser is going to see the other 80 or 90% of the home is still dated and would be considered a project. An alternative strategy might be to take all of those funds that you were planning on sinking into an elaborate bathroom and spread them over the whole home, the cost of a full bathroom remodel could redo the flooring and paint throughout the entire home and this would be look upon much more favorably by a potential buyer or appraiser in their assessment of value than you just having one high quality room.
5. Invisible Improvements
New plumbing, electrical or HVAC might be necessary, but don’t expect to be adding dollar for dollar value for their cost. Home buyers and appraisers simply expect these systems to be up to date and in good working order. These items would be considered more home maintenance than home improvements.
The Bottom Line
When spending money on your home assess why you are doing it, if it is purely for your own comfort and enjoyment with no real intent in adding value then go ahead and add that pool. But if you are consciously trying to add value to your home then where to spend your renovation budget requires much more thought. Consider speaking with a realtor or appraiser and ask them where they feel your funds are best spent to improve value.