When it comes time to make home improvements, most Wilmington home owners like to choose projects that increase the value of their home. But just because a feature costs a lot of money or seems cool, it doesn’t mean it will add value to a home. Matter of fact, it can be quite the opposite. Here are 7 things you may think add value to your home, but really don’t:
- Wall-to-Wall Carpet – You may think investing in all new carpet will raise the value of your home, but in reality the costs can be hard to recoup. Carpet can be expensive to install and it comes with the risk of choosing a style that buyers won’t like. Likewise, if a buyer is faced with the choice of hardwoods or carpet, they’ll usually choose hardwoods due to the look of it, as well as issues with allergens and pets. If carpet is a common feature in comparable properties and the current flooring has stains that won’t come out with a deep clean, you can consider replacing it, but try to do it on a room-by-room basis.
- Swimming Pools – The North Carolina climate is great for swimming pools, but the issue is that buyers either love them or hate them. While it’s fun to be able to use a swimming pool, the upkeep can be considered demanding for some people and above-ground pools (that can be easily removed compared to in-ground pools) can be a visual turn-off for buyers. If you are considering adding a pool to your home, make sure you’re doing it for purely your own enjoyment and not to add value.
- Replacement Projects – Spending hundreds to thousands of dollars to replace the HVAC, water heater, insulation, etc., you may think you should get money back, over and above the normal sale price. After all, that’s a lot of money out of pocket. However, don’t expect the investment to convert into a monetary payback…at least, not in the way you think. A new HVAC will improve the salability of your home and likely put it higher on a buyer’s list than other comparable homes, but you won’t recoup 100% of the cost for replacing features that should automatically be included in the home. One exception may be if the home was bought at auction for a steal and you’re flipping the home.
- High-Quality Materials – As is the case with many aspects of real estate, choices of upgrades should be made in relation to the community and style of home. Putting granite countertops in a $150,000 1970’s home is not going to raise the value of the house if the kitchen cabinets are the same flat-faced cabinets from the time of build and the bathrooms are still an avocado green. It also won’t pay off if the standard for the community is laminate counters. Buyers are likelier to spend money on more square-footage in the same neighborhood than fancier materials.
- Special Purpose Rooms – The idea of a home theater or dance studio may seem like a fun idea to some, but the inflexibility in use can be a turn-off for buyers. If they don’t share the need to have a special purpose room, they may see it as an extra investment – something they need to pay to fix, which they’ll likely factor into their offer price. If you see yourself staying in the home for years to come, then by all means add a special purpose room for your own enjoyment, but be ready to deal with the consequences when it’s time to sell.
- A New Roof – Buyers are less concerned with the visual appearance of a home’s roof than the fact that it may have leaks. So, as long as there are no physical issues with the roof, don’t put money into adding a new roof before you list it on the market.
- Extensive Landscaping – When upgrading your home’s landscape, it’s important to find a happy middle ground. No landscaping can be an absolute turn-off to buyers. However, garden beds overflowing with plants will only appeal to true hobby gardeners, which is only a fraction of buyers. Likewise, ponds, while relaxing to sit around, will turn off buyers who don’t want to deal with the upkeep (kind of like swimming pools). If you’re just sprucing up the yard to sell it, the best approach to landscaping is to keep it simple and work with what you have when you can. Seed missing patches of the yard, pressure wash the current walkway or add a new one, and trim the current bushes or plant some low-maintenance shrubs that provide a show of color in the spring. Remember, less is more, unless “less” is just dirt.
If you aren’t sure a project will add value to your Wilmington area home, give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page. We’d be happy to advise you on the best possible course of action.