What you like in a home is not always going to be what someone else likes. That can be helpful to remember if you’re thinking of making some home improvements. After all, even if you may plan on living here until you’re carried out (grim as that sounds),
someone will likely buy your property someday, and someone, maybe your children, will sell it.
Of course, we’re talking about
your home. Go with orange carpet and purple walls if you want. It is your house. Still, if you’re making improvements and taking cues from shows you’re watching on television, you may come to regret it later, says Allen Shayanfekr, CEO of the New York City-based real estate investment company Sharestates.
“The stuff you see on TV is for entertainment, and it’s not always the most profitable way to operate,” he says.
Here are some home improvements that may make it harder to sell your house one day.
Turning an extra bedroom into a walk-in closet.
This is done more often than you might think, say many real estate agents, and many of them will also tell you not to do it.
Thomas Miller, a listing specialist with Keller Williams Capital Properties in the District of Columbia, says he had a client who had turned a four-bedroom home into one with three bedrooms and a large walk-in closet.
That sounds like a fine idea, but in this case, the fourth bedroom was in the basement, and the sellers had taken the third bedroom upstairs and made that the walk-in closet.
Miller says that most of the buyers in this neighborhood had children.
“Having the third bedroom in the basement was a deal-breaker for the majority of the potential buyers because they didn’t want one of their kids sleeping in the basement two levels apart from the rest of the family,” Miller says.
The house was eventually sold, for about $40,000 to $50,000 less than the original sales price.
Sissy Lappin has similar thoughts. She is a Houston-based real estate broker and co-owns ListingDoor.com, a website that helps people sell their homes without an agent. Bottom line, she says: “Buyers value bedrooms more than closet space.”
Remodeled kitchens and bathrooms.
For the most part, don’t worry — your upgrades are probably going to be very appealing to any future homeowners. But — yes, there is a but — a remodel can actually backfire on you if it isn’t pulled off right. No surprise there, but it may rattle you to know that a remodel can even somewhat backfire on you if you do everything right.
“If a remodeled kitchen or master bath makes the rest of the space look dated, that won’t help sell the property,” says Jamie Gold, a San Diego-based certified kitchen designer and an author of books on kitchen and bathroom remodeling.
AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico
Homebuyers who don’t have pets probably won’t appreciate pet doors. That said, this is one improvement that if you feel strongly about, many experts say you might as well go ahead and do.
“They are hit and miss,” says Emily Mort, a graphic designer at S&D Real Estate Services and McDonough Construction in Lakeland, Florida.
“On the other hand, this is not a huge problem,” she says. “The worst-case scenario, the buyer would just have to replace the door. Which in the grand scheme of things is not that bad.”
In fact, Gold thinks that with the rise in pet features in homes (some custom homes are being built with dog-wash stations) it may be a selling point.
Still, you might want to rethink installing a pet door in every door inside the house. That would be a lot of doors to someday replace.
(Mark Zalesky/The Tennessean via AP)
Wheelchair lifts and sit-down bath tubs.
This could be exactly what a homebuyer is looking for — or a serious deficiency for a homebuyer.
“It’s really about where the house is located,” Mort says. “If these features are in a house that sits in a 55-or-older community, these can be massive pluses.”
In New York City, where you’re just as likely to buy an apartment as an actual house, Julie Gans, an agent with the real estate company, Triplemint, says that she, too, has seen young couples planning to have a family take a pass on showers and bathtubs retrofitted for the elderly. She also says some owners will actually eliminate a second or third bathroom, turning it into a laundry room, and later regret that decision when it comes to sell. Removing a toilet and bath to bring in a washer and dryer would seem to be a practical move appreciated by homebuyers, but Gans says you’re probably hurting the value of your home.
“There tends to be a premium for more bathrooms in apartments,” she says. (Thinkstock)
Getty Images/iStockphoto/Manuel Faba Ortega
You’ve probably heard this before, but it bears repeating — many homeowners aren’t overly thrilled about having an in-ground swimming pool.
“Unless you live in Florida, and possibly even there, only a small segment of the population wants a swimming pool,” says William Hirsch, an architect and author of “Designing Your Perfect House.”
What’s not to love about being able to swim at your own home? “Most of the potential buyers see a pool as a costly, not very useful item that they would probably prefer to chop out and fill in,” Hirsch says.
And believe it or not, “built-in hot tubs rival swimming pools as detrimental home improvements,” Hirsch says.
Those, too, require a lot of maintenance.
Just about anything custom-built.
If you’re going to have an amenity custom-built into your home — so that it becomes part of it and difficult to remove without some considerable expense — ask yourself first if a future homebuyer will like it, too. For instance, Hirsch says that he recently saw a home that has a built-in beer tap.
“Really nice if you love beer,” Hirsch says. “But it’s something that has to be removed, and the countertop and cabinetry replaced by the new owner, if they don’t want to see that intrusion in their kitchen.”
Lappin feels the same way. She is currently working with clients who made a custom gun closet.
“It looks like they are a survivalist,” she says. “They spent a fortune on this walk-in gun and ammo closet — custom racks for guns. Not everyone is a hunter, and many homebuyers are anti-guns and pro gun control.”
After touring the home, buyers, she says, don’t remember what the house looked like. They only remember “the gun arsenal closet.”
(AP Photo/Better Homes & Gardens, Michael Partenio)
[See: 6 Home Renovations You Think Will Pay Off — But Won’t.]
[See: 8 Home Remodeling Projects That Are Worth the Money.]
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Home Improvements That Hurt the Value of a House originally appeared on usnews.com