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10 Home Improvement Projects to Avoid

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.

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