10 home renos that won't pay off
From pools to man caves, the 10 worst home upgrades for your money.
We've all tried to convince ourselves that our latest vision for a home reno or DIY project isn't an indulgence, it's an investment. That lovely sunroom or gazebo, we'll enjoy it now and reap the returns when we sell ... right? Unfortunately, that's rarely the case.
Here are 10 projects that no matter how hard you try to justify, don't pay off:
1. Pool won't make a splash
If it's going to bring you and your family years of pleasure, go for it, but don't expect future buyers to be as enthusiastic. "Pools can be a real deterrent," says Christian Matthews, a sales representative with Re/Max in Toronto. "You might scare away a lot of buyers."
Most people associate pools with work, says Andre Alves, a real estate broker with Homelife Realty One in Toronto: "That's why there are a number of companies that specialize in filling pools in."
2. Bedroom trumps bathroom
Luxury bathrooms can be a great investment, but not if it means sacrificing a bedroom. "An extra bedroom is king when it comes to real estate," says Matthews, adding the price difference between houses with two versus three bedrooms can be $50,000. "People would rather live with a smaller bathroom."
Losing a third bedroom really shrinks the potential pool of buyers that might be interested in your home," adds Alves. "It's often better to have a smaller third bedroom than only two bedrooms."
3. Home office
In Remodeling Magazine's annual list of best value home renovation projects, the home office remains at the bottom year after year. A kitted-out home office replete with custom shelving and other bling isn't necessary in a world where people work at the local café with a laptop. It also limits the buying pool — your target will be someone who either works from home or a Ward-Cleaver type who retires to his "den" every evening. If you carve out a home office, don't do anything permanent: Ensure you can convert back the space when selling.
4. Basements down low
Spending $30,000 on a basement does not mean your house will sell for $30,000 more than a similar house without one. "You are never going to get back what you put into it," says Matthews, adding people need to make this decision based on how it will improve their current lifestyle.
5. Tech geeks beware
While the Internet plays a big role in daily lives, wiring a home with all the latest systems won't translate into big bucks, warns Alves. "Technologies are constantly changing and more and more home systems are going wireless."
6. Skip the man cave
While garages are a great selling point, turning that garage into a man cave replete with finished walls, big-screen TV and garage gadgets isn't necessary. "It's not a great return — it's seen as more of a luxury," says Rick Clarke, from Century 21 New Trends Realty in Coquitlam, B.C. Most people just want a place they can park their car and store bikes.
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