While getting your house in tip-top shape before the listing can push up the selling price, it’s also easy to go overboard renovating. Some upgrades aren’t worth the expense and time. Read on for common home updates to avoid if you plan to sell.
Published February 21, 2017. Updated January 5, 2022, and October 31, 2022.
It’s natural to want to inject your personality into every room of your house, but be conscious of what might seem outdated to homebuyers – such as really dark-painted walls and quirky light fixtures – when it comes time for you to sell. If you’re living through a renovation, follow these tips for keeping you and your family safe.
Too Much Wallpaper
Wallpaper can be a fun and creative way to liven up a room, but too much of it can scare away buyers – after all, who wants to spend their first weeks in a new home peeling it off the walls? Instead, opt for removable wallpaper.
Whether it’s on your floor or part of the decor, like this fireplace, tiles may look fantastic to you but could put off potential buyers. If you must replace any tiles in your home, keep it simple – remember that what might seem exciting and creative to you might be a bit much for someone else. Check out more tile, backsplash and cabinetry trends for 2023.
Adding a Sunroom
Adding a sunroom won’t match the value you’d receive in return. Instead, ensure that your home is bright and welcoming by lightening the colour of your walls and removing any drapes or curtains that drastically darken a room. If you already have a sunroom, check out these warm and inviting sunrooms you’ll never want to leave.
If you’re concerned that your home is a little dull in comparison to others on the market, fear not! Many experts agree that warm, muted tones for wall paint and furniture will go a long way towards helping you sell your property. Fight the urge to go over-the-top with overzealous wallpaper designs, bold paint colours and eccentric decor. Potential buyers will appreciate having a clean slate to work with.
Decks or Patios
A thoughtfully designed deck or patio is a great selling feature, but it’s also the type of project most buyers would rather do themselves. If you envision a functional outdoor area, create one for your own enjoyment. When the time comes to list your home, simply reseal or stain it so it looks well maintained. Find more of the outdoor things we deserve right now.
Even though solar panels and other forms of green technology may sound like a strong selling point, they won’t add enough value to warrant having them installed specifically for this purpose. Having them installed earlier would make more sense so you can recoup your investment by saving on your hydro bill.
If you live in a climate where it’s warm and sunny all year long, a swimming pool can add to the value of your home. In Canada, however, the idea of having to maintain a pool that will only be used a few months of the year puts off many potential buyers. Those with young kids may also balk at having such a big safety hazard on the property.
New Plumbing or HVAC Systems
Buyers don’t like to pay more for upgrades they can’t see, so doing a complete overhaul of your plumbing or HVAC systems won’t really make a difference. It’s better to focus on smaller maintenance projects to ensure the systems you already have are in good working order.
According to Bankrate.com, you’ll typically make back about half of your spending on a bathroom addition. While beautifully renovated bathrooms can make the sale, plan to add a brand new one a few years before you sell. This way, you get to enjoy the upgrades too.
Fussy Design Details
Many design elements, such as exposed timber, look beautiful but are incredibly hard to maintain. Features like these can deter potential buyers from investing.
Buyers usually prefer to add their own personal touch to the garden, so extensive landscaping is more trouble than it’s worth. The key is to have a well-maintained yard instead. Be sure to mow the lawn, prune the trees and rake the leaves before you show the property. If you’re listing your home this summer, consider these outdoor investments.
New Primary Bedroom
A bedroom is a space where personal taste plays a huge role. Instead of making over the entire room, spend money on thoughtful touches like built-in closets, a stylish accent wall and good lighting. You can also try these design tricks to make a small bedroom look bigger.
Loud Design Elements
Bold design choices like brightly coloured walls or custom tiling may scare off potential buyers. Instead, opt for subtler elements that new homeowners can easily change to suit their design preferences.
Good lighting normally pleases buyers, but it’s not often a deciding factor in purchasing a property. Instead of spending thousands on fancy fixtures that will lead to higher hydro bills, go for simple, energy-efficient upgrades such as LED lights.
That handmade designer wallpaper, state-of-the-art stainless steel fridge and bathtub hewn from a single block of granite may look great to you, but potential buyers might not feel the same way. Most new homeowners prefer to add their own high-end features that cater to their lifestyle.
Installing new floors can be very expensive and the material you choose won’t always appeal to buyers. If you have wooden floors, have them sanded down and coated instead. Tiled floors should be sparkling, but if they’re cracked and you simply have to replace them, play it safe and select a neutral design.
Chances are the new homeowners will replace any existing carpeting with something more to their taste, such as area rugs, so don’t waste time and money installing new ones. Instead, invest in a steam cleaner and have any stubborn stains treated professionally.
Knocking Out Walls
Removing a wall to create a bigger space, like a master bedroom, won’t necessarily add value to your home. Instead, it will leave you with one less room. If you really want to knock out a wall, do so wisely. For example, tearing down the wall between the kitchen and dining room can create better flow without either room losing its intended purpose.
Replacing your windows can cost tens of thousands of dollars, which you won’t recoup in full when you sell. Only update window frames when they’re in such bad shape that they result in leaks or a draughty house. Otherwise, make sure the existing frames are thoroughly cleaned and well-maintained.
Overbuilding for the Neighbourhood
According to the Globe and Mail, buyers look not only at the asking price of your house but also at the average price of a home in your neighbourhood. If you make expensive upgrades, like adding a second storey, you just might price your property out of the expected range for the area.
Investopedia indicates that a remodelled basement can potentially price your home out of the neighbourhood. Instead of a complete overhaul, focus on smaller, less expensive improvements, such as creating more storage space.
As soon as you convert a room, you limit its potential and usefulness. Instead of spending thousands to transform a bedroom into a library or a home theatre, keep it simple so buyers can easily repurpose the space according to their needs.
Backyard features, such as a tennis court or mini playground, target a very specific subset of people and won’t appeal to those who aren’t big on sports or who don’t have small kids. Buyers would be more interested in having the acreage that could support amenities such as these and then deciding what to do with them.
Only the most dedicated oenophiles would be willing to pay more for a house that has a wine cellar. Unless you’re going to get great use out of one before you sell, don’t spend the money and effort on something that won’t increase the value of your property.
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