If you plan on moving in two to three years, don’t invest money in home improvement projects that won’t increase the resale value of your home.
Some of these low-value home improvement projects include:
1. In-Ground Swimming Pools
In-ground swimming pools cost $30,000-$75,000, depending on the type of pool installed. While installing a pool may seem like a good idea, a swimming pool makes your house more difficult to sell. Many people, especially families with small children, do not want to buy a house with a pool. Eliminating families with small children drastically reduces the number of people willing to buy your home. In addition, installing a pool increases your energy costs, and raises your homeowners insurance. A swimming pool also requires a lot of maintenance, and usually costs around $1,000-$2,000 or more to operate.
If you live in Southern California, the Deep South, or in the sunny Southwest, a swimming pool may positively impact your home’s value. You may recoup, at most, 30%-50% of your investment in a pool. If you live anywhere else, however, installing a pool may decrease the value of your home, due to the significant operating costs.
Invest in a pool if you plan to stay in your home for several years and use it often. Otherwise, a new pool can cause some significant financial headaches.
2. Gourmet Kitchens with High-End Accessories
While you may love your $10,000 commercial stove, and top-of-the-line Tuscan tiles, these costly additions don’t pay off when you list your home for sale. If you plan on moving within the next 3-5 years, and you want to remodel your kitchen, invest in quality, serviceable appliances that appeal to many people. In general, too much customization in a home turns buyers away.
Stay on par with your neighbors; too many high-end additions and you will own the most expensive home on the block. You can recoup a fair amount of money on a kitchen remodel, but expensive, fancy gourmet kitchens don’t help you attract that perfect buyer.
Of course, if you have a high-end home in an upscale neighborhood, then upgrading your kitchen to “gourmet” status may increase its value, since buyers expect to see a gourmet kitchen in a high-end home. But even in a high-end home, you may not recoup your entire investment in an expensive kitchen remodel when you sell your home.
3. Whirlpool Baths
It may sound fun and relaxing to take a hot bath after a long workday, but potential buyers will not pay extra for a newly installed whirlpool bath. In addition, the costs for installing a whirlpool tub can be prohibitive. Many homeowners install luxury bathtubs, only to discover they need to invest in a larger hot water tank for the tub to work properly. Furthermore, installing a tub may result in high energy bills, and additional monthly maintenance costs.
Think twice before installing a whirlpool bath. This project can cost you thousands of dollars, and if you run into problems, the costs climb even higher.