Not all that glitters will give you a good return on investment. Say you pour a few thousand bucks into lavish lighting fixtures. You might think your sparkling ceiling-mounted lights will dazzle buyers when you’re trying to sell your home.
In reality, many glitzy home improvement projects like this will be a turnoff for home buyers. Your expensive renovation project could even be ripped out of the house once the purchaser signs the final contract. Not only did your project put off buyers, but it was all for nothing.
If you aren’t careful about home renovations, you could lose a ton of cash. That’s why we put together 12 of the worst home makeovers. If you pursue one of these home repairs, don’t expect to make any money when you go to sell.
You might think these are good ways to spruce up the home. Hold your horses, though
Here’s a good rule of thumb. Although personalization projects can bring you a ton of joy, they could seem downright putrid to a potential buyer. It’s good to avoid trendy fads and stick with simplicity.
After all, it’s hard to sell quirky upgrades that appeal to your niche interests. It’s much easier to sell a clean, nonoffensive and neutral home. Here are a few projects to avoid:
- Wallpaper: It’s an acquired taste. Plus, it takes a long time to remove. Older wallpaper leaves sticky residue in its wake. You might even find wall damage underneath the paper! It’s better to paint your walls a single color.
- Constructing a high-end master suite: This comes with an average cost of $320,976, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2021 Cost vs. Value Report. While it makes your home more impressive, it also comes with a ROI average of 47.7%. That means you probably won’t recoup half of what you spent.
- Major kitchen remodels: You install custom cabinets, new lighting, stone countertops and expensive appliances. This is something you do for your own enjoyment rather than the desire to make your money back. Since it costs an average of $150,000, it only has an ROI average of 53.9%, the above report finds.
- Combining bedrooms: Sure, maybe this will work for your needs, but down the line, it might throw off buyers. People want more rooms for their own uses. Turning a 3-bedroom home into one with only two could lower your home’s value. Usually, the more rooms the better.
- Tile patterns: If you have unique, personalized tiling, that can put buyers off. Instead of admiring the pattern, they might be thinking about how much time and money a replacement project would take. It’s okay to have an upgraded tile floor, but don’t go for something out there like black-and-white tiles.
- Wall-to-wall carpeting: Just like with tiles, buyers will see this feature as a potential cost. They’ll wonder how much it will cost to remove. Just think about it: Who wants a carpet in the kitchen? Wall-to-wall carpeting doesn’t offer much flexibility when it comes to flooring, so avoid this excess.
- Bold paint colors: Maybe you really love dark red walls or bright purple to set the mood. But this might put off buyers. If there’s too much of “you” in the house, buyers might not be able to see themselves living here. Use something simple and neutral instead. Here are some of the best paint colors for selling your home.
- Mismatched architecture styles: Say you have a home with a main exterior that matches Spanish eclectic architecture. But the windows are styled like Tudor houses, or the interior is Colonial. Incongruent details can weird out buyers and throw the look of the house off.
- Sunken den: Sunken living rooms were all the rage in the 1960s. Over time, they fell out of fashion, but if you love that groovy look, you might consider upgrading your home to add more dimension to your living space. Sure, it can make your home feel more spacious. Sure, it’s a cozy place for intimate entertainment. But it’s not easy for people with mobility issues — and it comes with a big risk of falling and injuries.
- Swimming pools: As gorgeous as they are, swimming pools are pretty costly to upkeep. If you live in a cold climate, people probably won’t be using it very often. HouseLogic says a pool will only increase your value by about 7%. And that’s not even guaranteed!
- Lowered ceilings: Maybe you want to save money on your energy bill, so you’re considering lowering your ceilings. Just know that most people dislike low ceilings. It can make them feel claustrophic. To appeal to as many people as possible, make sure your home is spacious.
- Fancy textures on the walls or ceilings: You might like the way this looks. But like many other features on this list, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Many buyers will sigh and think to themselves, “It’s going to cost a pretty penny to get rid of this.”
Home renovations are almost always stressful. Doubly so when you find that you have hired the wrong people for your projects. Check out this helpful resource that puts you face-to-face with the most qualified contractors around.
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