Home remodeling projects can be a great way to get more enjoyment out of your home. After all, this is a place you’ll be spending years and years in: why not make your home exactly the way you want it? Makes sense. However, while it’s certainly worthwhile to invest in the improvements that you’ll truly love, if you’re looking for a return on your investment or hassle-free upgrades, there are definitely a few projects you’ll want to avoid.
- The Opulent Home Office
If you work out of your home, then a cozy home office may seem like a great idea. The problem is when this project gets a little too out of hand it actually turns the room into an office copycat, with big built-ins, major tech equipment, and other very specific, single-use purchases. When selling your home, having a home office that can’t be easily converted into another type of room will likely detour potential buyers, and it certainly won’t add to your space’s overall value. So, while you should go ahead and invest in a nice desk and an ergonomic chair, keep the major construction to a minimum and make sure all of your additions can be easily undone.
- Pinching Pennies on the Basics
Over the years you’ll need to replace appliances, fix up the water heater, or make other basic improvements. Because these aren’t glamorous remodels, you may think about going with the cheapest, easiest upgrades, rather than energy-efficient options that have higher up-front costs.
This is a huge mistake. Energy-efficient appliances and fixtures in your home are extremely attractive to potential buyers, and you can often get tax credits to help defray the initial costs. Plus, not only can energy-efficient upgrades like Energy Star appliances, solar water heaters, low-flush toilets, and fiberglass windows help save you money on your energy bills, energy-efficient upgrades tend to have longer lifespans, so you shouldn’t have to replace your investments for a long, long time.
- The Luxe Garage
This one might be a surprise to some people. After all, won’t turning your garage into a recreation room, craft space, or other area increase the value of your home by increasing the livable space? Well, not really. For one, potential buyers would rather have a place to put their car than a playroom or another entertainment area. Plus, turning the garage into a very specific, single-purpose room can be a downright deterrent, because what may be a useful upgrade to you might very well be useless to most buyers. Plus, garage remodels can be extremely expensive and require major construction and contracting work, which can often become logistical nightmares. Save yourself the trouble and keep the garage a garage.
- Too Much Space
If you have a very small home, building an extra bedroom and bathroom might be a great investment. However, if your house is an average size for your area, then adding extra space can actually be a costly mistake. While few people want a home that feels too small, many people also don’t want a home that’s too big, as this leads to higher bills and higher overall living costs. Before you decide to make this major change, take stock of your neighborhood and get a sense for how your home fits in. If you’re on the smaller side, make the leap. If you’re already in line with the standard, then we suggest staying put.
- The Oversized Kitchen
While palatial kitchens used to be en vogue, this upgrade can be lost on potential buyers who don’t spend as much time in the kitchen as you do. If a kitchen upgrade is truly important to you, pick one feature you really want — like a professional stove, oversized island, or fancy appliances — and just focus on that rather than doing a total overhaul. If you go whole-hog, be prepared to see very little money back for this investment.
Paul Kazlov is a “green” home remodeling enthusiast and an industry pioneer for innovation in home renovation. Paul writes for the Global Home Improvement blog and strives to educate people about “green” products such as metal roofing and solar. Follow him on Twitter @PaulKazlov.