10 Home Improvement Projects That Are Not Worth It And What To Do Instead


Renovating your home to make it suit your preferences and lifestyle is normal. Adding an extra dressing room instead of redesigning the bathroom is a matter of personal choices.  But the situation changes 360 degrees when you plan on selling your home.

Your preferences might not suit the taste of the future buyers, and that’s where the return on investment comes in.

What you do to your home and how you redesign is might turn into a very bad deal when trying to sell it. Sure, the ROI varies depending on who is evaluating your home, but there are some home improvement projects that people do that just don’t pay off. The best home improvements are the ones that increase your home value, not the ones that decrease it

That being said, check out some home improvement projects that are totally not worth it and what to do instead to sell your house for the best price.

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  1. Don’t put on an addition

One important recommendation made by most real estate agents and home designers is to avoid making major reconstruction works. Home additions are one of the least profitable home improvements you could make. The average ROI for additions such as a master suite is around 45 percent, which means you might not even get half of the invested money back in the end. Save the idea of an addition for the home you plan on getting older in, not the one you are planning to sell.

Do paint the walls

A home addition involves a lot of money and time. The easier alternative to give your home a refresh is to just paint the walls. It will give your place a new look and you won’t need to rob a bank to afford the change.

It’s true that repairing the walls and painting them won’t significantly increase the price of your house, but it’s much faster and more cost efficient. According to experts, the ROI for such changes is around 105% for interior painting and 80% for the exterior.

  1. Don’t reconstruct the foyer

Just like other major home improvement projects, certain remodel works are just not worth it. Personalized remodel works like adding a grand foyer or a mudroom, might seem interesting on paper but might not be that appealing to prospective buyers. As explained by real estate experts, mudrooms and entry rooms can bring you back less than 60 percent of what you initially invested for their construction.

Do replace the front door

If you do want to make a change that will provide a higher ROI, than start with the entrances. It’s one of the first places potential buyers will notice, so changing the front door will do the trick. Your return for investment can be as much as 95% for new garage doors. New windows can bring you a maximum ROI of 70 percent, but it all depends on where you live. Living in colder areas can be more profitable when selling the house, while houses in moderate temperature areas fetch less profit.

The most important ROI, namely 80 percent, is provided by replacing the front door. If your house has a solid front door that you don’t really want to change, painting it will save you more money all the while bringing more back when selling it.

  1. Don’t remodel the kitchen

Yes, the kitchens we see on TV on all sorts of cooking shows look great. They’re perfectly outfitted and designed to make you want to cook all sorts of fancy recipes. But let’s go back down to Earth. Remodeling your kitchen to make it look as good as a chef’s kitchen will not be worth the trouble in the long run, financial or otherwise.

One of the first disadvantages of kitchen improvement projects is that you have to move the mechanical systems and the like. This can be a costly job. To top things off, the ROI for kitchen remodeling is as high as 55 percent, which won’t exactly cover what you spent for the renovation works.

Do update fixtures

If your kitchen could use a refresh before you put your home up for sale, start with the little things such as fixtures. It is way cheaper and less time consuming to replace an old faucet and some lights than remodel the entire kitchen. The recommended strategy is to buy relatively cheap but attractive items and staying away from flashy and extravagant things that will make your kitchen look kitschy.

Read also:7 Things Houseguests Usually Notice About Your Kitchen

  1. Don’t rebuild the bathrooms

We all like new things, and sometimes, a new bathroom sounds like a great idea. But before you start dreaming of the latest bathroom trends, think about the fact that bathroom projects are quite pricey but not as profitable when trying to sell the house.

According to experts, similar to kitchen remodel works, bathroom remodel projects have around 55 percent ROI. This does not mean much compare to the money you spend to rebuild it.

Do replace faucets and lighting

Yes, as stated before, small things can make a big difference. Therefore, instead of thinking of all sorts of major home improvement projects such as rebuilding your bathroom, change the plumbing and lighting fixtures instead. Get rid of anything moldy and maybe give your bathroom a fresh paint. It will look like brand new for much less money.

  1. Don’t install a pool

A pool might sound like the best idea on a hot summer day, but you’ll be surprised to find out that many prospective buyers scroll past homes with this added feature. A pool is good only when you don’t have to do all the maintenance tasks or even pay for them.

With ROI values around 50 percent, a backyard with more functionalities is far more attractive to buyers than a pool that requires a lot of work.

Do add a patio or refresh the deck

The ROI values for a patio or deck hover around 66 percent. But experts say these two elements can have a great impact on the selling price of your home. They are also considered contributing factors to how fast you can find buyers.

Not to mention the price for such home improvement projects is far lower than that of an inground pool. If your deck or patio is in dire need of a refresh, opt for some replacing the boards instead of replacing the whole thing.

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  1. Don’t replace the siding

When it comes to selling your home, the first impression counts. But going over the budget to replace things that do not need replacing, such as the siding, won’t make much difference when it comes to ROI. If your siding still looks good, it might be better to just give it a fresh paint instead of replacing it altogether. Better yet, just wash it. Do make sure to fix existing holes and damages before applying any paint.

Do add a stone veneer

If you’re still fixated on changing something, try replacing part of your siding with stone veneer. These elements are still trendy when it comes to home renovations and are relatively cheap to install. The ROI for stone veneer projects is 92%.

  1. Don’t add extra storage spaces

Everyone wants a house with enough closet and storage space to accommodate their needs (aka unnecessary stuff). But your idea of storage space might not be the same with that of potential buyers. You might want to turn a room into a storage space and make all the necessary arrangements, only to be completely changed by the new home owner. Think of all the money you’ve lost in the process.

Remove excess items

Instead of focusing on large storage areas, and spend accordingly, to impress buyers, try decluttering first. Get rid of all the unnecessary stuff gathering dust in your house. You’ll see your home with different eyes (and buyers will too) after you eliminate excess items.

Speaking of decluttering, check out these 9 Worst Decluttering Myths Debunked By the Pros.

  1. Don’t replace mechanical systems

If your house has visible problems, like a hole in the roof or a malfunctioning furnace, it’s pretty clear that they need to be replaced. However, when it comes to unseen systems such as the HVAC, plumbing or electrical installations, replacing them in their entirety will not help increase the ROI. If you can find buyers for your home, without making major changes to the mechanical systems, you’ll be able to keep your money for more profitable home improvements.

Do perform maintenance work

No one wants to buy a house that looks like it’s about to fall apart. Even if you do make it look attractive, the buyer’s home inspector will still be able to see past the fresh paint. Rather than making unnecessary replacement of entire systems, keep up on the maintenance work so that your home does not have major issues that decrease its value.

Cost and time efficient fixes with high ROI value include changing old door knobs, cleaning rain gutters and covering sidewalk cracks.