7 Home Renovations to Avoid When Trying to Add Value - Northern Title Blog
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7 Home Renovations to Avoid When Trying to Add Value

7 Home Renovations to Avoid When Trying to Add Value

We get it.

You want to maximize your home’s value without losing any money. You want to ensure that you recoup your expenses, add value, and don’t go into the hole.

But it’s not always as easy as popular home shows like Fixer Upper or Flip or Flop make it look. The thing to remember, is those reality shows have professional teams and crew members working on the house. They are experienced in that industry, and they make it seem seamless. Hiring a professional team like that would more than likely put you in the negatives.

We’re not saying you should avoid hiring professionals. In fact, professional work will often pay off well and add great value to your home. However, you should use caution and choose renovations that you will gain the most from.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of popular home renovations to avoid if you’re looking to get the most return or to build up your escrow:

1. Solar Panels

Solar panels are the new trend. It seems like almost every neighborhood has homes with solar panels. They are a great investment for those who plan to live in their home for a long period of time (usually until at least the panels are paid off, which could be several years for some). While solar panels can help decrease your electric bill, if you still owe money on them, you likely aren’t saving any money for a while. In addition, there are some instances where a new homeowner who buys a home with solar panels will have to take over the solar panel payment.

2. Water Features

Sure, a swimming pool is beautiful and fun, but in reality, it can detract some potential homebuyers. Especially for young families, swimming pools are often looked at as a safety hazard. In addition, unless you live in a climate that is warm year round, a swimming pool can require a lot of upkeep. For a feature that can only be used a handful of months throughout the year, it may not always be every homebuyer’s priority.

Similarly, fish ponds, waterfalls, and other water features require a lot of maintenance– something many people don’t have the knowledge or time for.

3. Invisible Upgrades

Homebuyers aren’t interested in upgrades they can’t visually see it with their own eyes. This means that things behind walls (like electric wiring or plumbing) won’t bring additional value to a home. Of course, if the HVAC or electrical work is not up to code or is a safety hazard, it is necessary to repair those. Upgrades to invisible properties of the home are seen more as a necessity for sale, not as capital gain.

4. Extensive Landscaping

We all enjoy beautiful yards, but oftentimes people go a bit overboard when it comes to landscaping. Not only is this expensive, but it can require a lot of upkeep. Potential homebuyers want clean yards they can put their own personal spin on. To appeal to the masses, skip the installation of cement patios, planting trees or other plants, or installing water fountains. Instead, give the yard a nice manicure. You’ll get more for your manual labor of pulling weeds and having a freshly mowed lawn.

5. Bold Designs

We’ve all seen some homes that are a little more quirky and make us gasp, “WHOA! What were they thinking?” Heck, that home may even be yours, and that’s ok if you don’t plan on selling it! However, if you want to appeal to a broad audience, you have to remember that not everyone likes eclectic styles. Stick to neutral color schemes that won’t make a homebuyer’s eyes bulge out like the Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons. Remember, you’re trying to sell a home that others can envision themselves living in.

6. Converting Rooms

Transforming a bedroom into a library (or game room, or office, or whatever it is) may suit your needs, but when you limit the vision of potential buyers to your vision, you also limit your sales. Like we mentioned earlier, sometimes it’s hard for people to envision their furniture and other personal items in your space, so help them out! Let them see the potential and usefulness of the space.

In addition, don’t go swinging that sledge hammer all over to knock down walls and convert two smaller bedrooms into one larger one. Sure, most people like larger, more open spaces, but when you eliminate an important room (like a bedroom or bathroom), you’ll be forced to reduce your listing price.

7. Upgrading Windows

If you live in a particularly hot climate (like Las Vegas), you likely won’t recoup much from upgrading your windows. However, if you live in a big city (Miami, Orlando, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, or Seattle), take advantage and replace those old windows as you’ll likely regain more than you invested.


When it comes to adding value to your home, it boils down to making your home universally desirable. Appealing to a wider range of people will drive your home price up, putting more money back in your pocket, and a bigger smile on your face. To see how we can help assist you in the purchase, or sale, of your home, visit our website www.northerntitle.net or give us a call at 435-752-3600.