5 Home Improvements That Don’t Add Value

The most important question to ask yourself when doing home improvements is  “How much does resale value matter?” When deciding how and where to improve your home, choosing between necessary updates and higher resale value is paramount regardless of what state you live in- Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, etc. If you’re preparing to sell your home, you’ll want to focus on remodeling and updating fixtures and features that will increase your resale value. Things that add to or recover their resale value are: a new coat of paint, an updated bathroom or kitchen, and new flooring in the garage. The following five improvements might update your home, but their impact on a higher sticker price is negligible. And the winners are:

  1. New Windows

    Replacing windows won’t increase the value of your house as much as their replacement cost. Double-paned, energy efficient storm windows are theoretically better than older windows, but there’s nary a visual difference. Upgrade fixtures, pipes, or wiring before you replace windows. Though they might save money on your energy bills, that’s a calculation you’ll have to make based on climate and other factors. The National Association of Realtors warns that an $8,000 to $12,000 investment in windows and doors returns only one-third to half of their original cost.
  2. Swimming Pools

    Although swimming pools are great to have for summer months, the increased resale cost of your house probably won’t offset the cost of building the pool. If you’re deciding between building a pool and upgrading your kitchen or garage, concentrate on what already needs works. Although a swimming pool is a luxury feature, opt for a better house instead. Your buyers will think this way, too, as upkeep costs and liability often turn a pool into a resale negative.
  3. Luxury Trappings

    Tennis courts, helipads, and the like will increase your home’s “cool” factor, but they won’t make you any money. Sure, that life-sized chess set is a great conversation piece, and your game is never better than on your regulation-size basketball court. But these luxuries make a home seem ostentatious, rather than adding any real dollar value during resale. If you’re deciding between the corner lot and a tennis court, choose a better location over fun amenities. If you build it, they will come — but don’t ask them to pay for it.
  4. Air Conditioning

    A new or extremely reliable heating and air conditioning unit is standard expected fare when buying a house. If you buy new units, don’t expect to recover your investment. This necessary part of most homes should be in the best shape possible during resale, but doesn’t usually tip the scales. An older and malfunctioning unit could negatively impact resale value, and all appliances should be as updated and workable as possible.
  5. Upscale Landscaping

    A finely manicured garden is a labor of love — and money. If you’ve got a green thumb, be aware that high-cost landscaping and low-cost landscaping may indeed be created equal. Curb appeal matters (and more than it should) when selling a home, but an overly expensive garden might look every bit as nice as those cobbled together on a budget. Get lots of bang for a little buck, and enjoy your yard for what it is.

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