Low ROI Renovations to Avoid Before Selling

Despite a real estate market that seemingly crests and plateaus quicker than the ocean's tides, homeowners are often zealous in their efforts to remodel. To be sure, 53 percent of U.S. adults made some type of home improvement within the past 12 months. Of those, 56 percent paid more than $1,000 for the improvements. Whether it be preparation for a future sale or making a house feel more like home there are a variety of projects you may be tempted to undertake.

Calculating ROI of Home Improvements

If popular home improvement shows like have you lusting after high-end projects in anticipation of a huge return, you may want to reconsider. According to the experts, upscale improvements have a tricky way of bringing disappointing returns. Here are the top home improvement ideas that bring the lowest financial return. Of course, all situations are unique, so some improvements can perform worse or better than the average. 

In-Ground Swimming Pools

With a price tag hovering somewhere between $30,000 to $75,000, in-ground swimming pools are an investment worth careful consideration. If you live in a consistently warm climate, a swimming pool may provide a 30 to 50 percent return on investment. Anywhere else, however, and they are apt to be a liability.

Out of a concern for safety, families with young children often shy away from homes that have a pool. This is a notable chunk of the market. Additionally, the operating costs for a swimming pool, including raised energy expenses, higher homeowner's insurance, and approximately $1,000 a month in maintenance costs, make swimming pools a home improvement idea you may want to avoid unless you truly would want to use it for years before selling.

Home Office

Who doesn't fantasize about a home office complete with custom wood cabinets, plush carpeting, laminate desktops, and surround sound? To remodel a 12' x 12' room into a home office, you can expect to pay roughly $29,066. The resale value winds up being around $14,000, leaving you with a 48 percent return on investment. It seems that many homebuyers would much rather have a flexible space to make their own.

Already having an office in place can be beneficial when selling, but spending the extra bucks to create one doesn't tend to pay for itself.

Garage Addition

An upscale garage addition includes modular cabinets and task lighting, leaving your bank account with a dent of approximately $85,592. While the arrangement may be nice for you, it has a resale value of an unimpressive $46,791. In some cases, however, homeowners opt to replace the garage door if it has seen better days. This tends to give a better return and make the home look better from the street.

Sunroom Addition

Many sources identify this as one of the worst remodeling additions in terms of return on investment. At a cost of $73,000 for a 200-square-foot addition, you can anticipate an average ROI of 52 percent.

Some of the best upgrades right before selling are the less expensive ones: paint, an outdoor seating area, fresh landscaping, etc. Of course, if you want to make an addition to your home that you can afford and enjoy for years regardless of its ROI when selling, there should be no one stopping you from doing so. Otherwise, it's may be best to reconsider. If you're selling soon, ask your real estate agent what improvements would work best in your particular market to get an idea of buyer trends.

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