Ready to Sell Your Home? Here are 12 Remodeling Mistakes That Will Cost You Money and 6 Smart Moves That Will Increase Your Resale Value

Homeowners in the United States, sell their homes about every 14 years, according to this research. Plus, it has been noted by financial planners that a family’s biggest investment is buying a home. Assuming this is true, it is important for a home seller to get the greatest return on this investment as possible. This can be a challenge, but it’s possible if poor decisions about remodeling can be avoided. Since 1891, Acme Brick has helped hundreds of thousands of homeowners get a better ROI on the sale of their home.

After living in a home for a decade or more, the wear and tear from ordinary family living begins to show on a residence. When the homeowner decides it is time to sell, remodeling projects are contemplated in order to update the house, outdoor entertainment areas and landscape. It is at this point where the owner can make mistakes that can cost thousands of dollars in the value of the home. 

Remodeling Mistakes: The Dirty Dozen  

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of missteps that are made every day by otherwise savvy homeowners who have not learned the “golden rule” of home resale:

It’s not what you like that matters!

Here is the “dirty dozen” of remodeling mistakes that scream caveat emptor(buyer beware)!

(1) Building a Swimming Pool 

This seems like such a good idea. Who doesn’t like sitting around a beautiful pool on hot summer day? As it turns out, most people just don’t want the hassle. According to HouseLogic, “a swimming pool could increase a home’s value by 7 percent at most — and that’s only in certain circumstances. Because of the cost to build a pool, maintenance expenses and a very minor potential value increase, a swimming pool addition simply isn’t worth it for most homeowners.”

(2) Installing a Hot Tub

See #1 and then fight that urge to put in a hot tub. They are a constant maintenance headache and some feel they are safety hazards for children. Because of this, they reduce the value of the home.

(3) Combining Two Bedrooms for One Larger Bedroom

Sure, everyone loves a large, opulent bedroom, but if this requires losing one bedroom in a home, it’s a very BAD idea. Some real estate experts estimate that each bedroom (small or large) adds 15 percent to the value of the home when it comes time to sell.

(4) Removing a Closet for Another Upgrade

This mistake is particularly tricky. Homebuyers have been known to count closets when they are looking at a potential residential property! Turning a closet into a larger bathroom or bedroom might seem like a great idea, but it most definitely is not good for the resale value of the home.

(5) Turning a Garage into a Gym or Other Living Space

If there is a recent addition to the family - a child returns home or a grandparent needs to live with the family - turning the garage into a living space seems ingenious. Unfortunately, future buyers may not have this situation and they just want a garage to park vehicles and pile up their junk! If the garage must be turned into a living space, it is important to ensure that it can inexpensively be returned to its primary function.

(6) Adding a Sunroom

Bringing the great outdoors indoors with a cute sunroom seems idyllic. Sadly, this is one of the big money pits when it comes time to resell. According to this article, “a sunroom addition is one of the worst home renovations when it comes to return on investment, with a cost of an addition exceeding $75,000 while only adding just over $35,000 to the value of the house.” Given those numbers, it might be better to take a long walk in the morning sun instead!

(7) Using Bright Paint or Unusual Colors for the Walls

The homeowner might LOVE that room with deep purple walls and a bright yellow ceiling, but odds are not great that a potential homebuyer will. Best advice: When it comes time to resell, repaint walls using neutral colors.

(8) Installing Carpeting

Carpet can be very unforgiving, especially if kids and pets are involved. According to this article from Realtor.com,“ new hardwood floors can increase the sale price of a home by up to 2.5 percent. Compared to hardwood and laminate floors, carpet can quickly show signs of damage. Plus, colors and textures are highly based on personal preference, and any overly personal touches can decrease a home’s value.”

(9) Turning a Bedroom into a Home Office

In the “gig economy,” more and more people work at home, making a home office an enticing proposition. Unfortunately, if this office comes at the expense of losing a bedroom, it is also a losing proposition. The odds of a future buyer wanting more bedrooms, instead of a home office, are much better. 

(10) Lavish Light Fixtures

If return on investment on a home is important, a good mantra for homeowners is: NEVER fall in love with lavish light fixtures. Whether it is an elaborate pendant light for the great room are those deer antler chandeliers that are so popular in man caves, light fixtures become dated quicker than almost any other home design feature and they are not updated regularly, this will hurt the resale value of a home.

(11) Overly Personalized Floor Tiling

When chosen carefully, adding wood or tile flooring can add value to a home. However, floors that are unusual and personalized to the current owner, such as a 1950s diner inspired black and white tiled floor, will likely not appeal to the broadest range of buyers. For floors, the best advice is to keep it simple.

(12) Don’t Do it Yourself!

Unless the homeowner is a professional carpenter, mason, electrician or other tradesman, DIY upgrades seldom look “right” and this suggests other problems to the prospective homebuyer. If resale is the objective, get a professional to do the remodeling work.

6 Smart Moves That Will Enhance the Resale Value of a Home

Smart remodeling can certainly enhance a home’s value when it comes time to sell it. However, the best way to ensure an appreciation of value is to buy a home that has historically shown to appreciate in value. Realtors, builders and homeowners have found that brick construction can help with this ROI.

Brick homes have consistently shown their return on investment,” said Cal Burr of Acme Brick. “Because of brick’s low maintenance (no painting every 5 years), lower utility costs (due to better R value of the walls) and lower homeowner insurance (due to resistance to fire and wind), buying a brick home in the first place can help an owner see steady appreciation of value over the years they live in the home. 

“Brick has also been shown to future proof’ a home. This mean the structure can more efficiently be adapted to any family situation - from multigenerational demands to empty nesters. This also makes remodeling a brick home much more efficient than other construction materials.”

Here are six remodeling/upgrading tactics that can help a seller get the price he desires.

1. Open Up and Update the Kitchen

The kitchen has become the hub of the home and homebuyers want one that is both efficient and inviting for guests. Removing walls to allow for a more open floor plan - from the kitchen to the rest of the house - has become a must-have for home buyers. Plus, employing natural materials such as brick, stone and wood, having open shelving, quartz countertops and up-to-date appliances in the kitchen are all remodeling tactics that can enhance resale value of a home.

2. Having Neutral Colors for Flooring and Walls

Nothing dates a house more than an outdated decorative scheme. “You can always repaint a wall,” says Leah Dooley of Acme Brick, Tile & Stone, “but a floor that’s gone out of fashion will almost always need to be replaced. So, go neutral or natural.

“It helps, of course, that grays and beiges are ‘in’ colors now,” she added, “and our tile selection reflects that. We also carry a good selection of natural wood flooring. Whichever way you go, we can offer design advice to help you avoid the flooring equivalent of a harvest gold fridge.”

3. Outside Entertainment Spaces are Popular

While swimming pools don’t add value, having outside entertainment areas, for cooking and TV watching are extremely popular among prospective buyers. “Having an outside brick fire feature, brick pizza oven and grill-cooking space is extremely desirable for any family that enjoys entertaining,” said Burr of Acme Brick. Essentially, it affords the homeowner another LARGE living room.”

4. Install Retractable Glass Walls

Large, retractable windows that offer a view to a well-designed landscape can be irresistible to a homebuyer. Because they are retractable, on pretty days and nights, these windows allow the outside, inside. This opens the home and makes it feel much larger.

5. Build High Ceilings

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “Ten-foot ceilings, cathedral ceilings and vaulted ceiling are in high demand, especially among buyers who are looking to buy more luxury homes.” If it is possible for adapt an attic to allow for higher ceilings, this will enhance the value of the home.

6. Update the Bathrooms

Nothing dates a home like a small and/or old bathroom. While it is easy to go overboard on this room and spend more on remodeling than is possible to recoup in the sale, adding new fixtures, lighting, steam showers and (the very popular) free-standing tubs.

“The ‘loft lookis still in demand in bathrooms,” said Burr. “Using reclaimed wood, brick accent walls, soft lighting and modern fixtures can transform a bathroom that looks hopelessly out-of-date to one that is visually pleasing.

Sold!

While there are many factors that affect the selling price of a home - the local economy, proximity to shopping and schools and other factors that are uncontrollable, by avoiding these mistakes and, where possible, making these upgrades, a homeowner can have a better shot at getting a nice return on that very important investment - the home.

If you want to hedge your bet on increasing the value of your home, build with brick. The value has been consistent for centuries.