5 Costly Home Improvements That Are a Complete Waste of Time and Money
When it comes to renovating your home, or even implementing simple upgrades, you need to consider a few things. First and foremost, you must think about whether your projects will make your home more functional and/or beautiful for your family. If you’re planning to stay in your home for quite a while yet, then this should be your main consideration. If your improvements don’t actually improve your home, then you might as well be throwing money away. However, many homeowners also see their property as an investment, and as such, you may want to ensure that any upgrades you perform will also add to the overall value. In truth, you’re doing pretty well if you can hit all three points, increasing function, aesthetic, and value in one fell swoop. But some renovations fall short on every level. Here are just a few that will cost you a lot and deliver practically nothing in return.
- Garage addition. When it comes to increasing usable square footage in your home, the garage really doesn’t count. Sure, it would be nice to have a two-car garage instead of one bay and a covered (but open) space outside, but for the amount of money you’ll spend on this project you really won’t see added value when you sell because the space doesn’t factor into the square footage of your home. Put your money elsewhere and you could see a bump in property value, not to mention improve living conditions for your family rather than your car (which will continue to depreciate either way).
- Outdoor living space. Increasing your square footage via “outdoor rooms” may be all the rage these days amongst families that have been unable to sell due to the poor housing market, but spending your home improvement funds here won’t actually add much value to your home. And unless you live in a climate that is practically perfect year-round, chances are you and your family won’t get that much use out of it anyway.
- Pool. Okay, there are some families for whom adding a pool could work. If you happen to live in a climate that enjoys warm weather year-round and your kids are on track to become Olympic swimmers, then perhaps a pool is right for your family. But it is expensive to install and maintain (you’re looking at upwards of $25,000 for installation and probably a couple grand a year minimum in maintenance and heating costs). And considering how much money you’ll sink into it, you’re very unlikely to see a good return on investment, a number that shrinks that longer you stay in your home. Plus, it could make your house harder to sell since a lot of people don’t want the added, ongoing expense that a pool entails.
- Sun room or mud room. Accounting for your climate with a sun room, a mud room, or some combination thereof may seem like a great way to improve functional space in your home or add value, but the truth is that this type of expenditure is likely to lose in the long run. You’ll either have to give up some of your square footage for this non-essential space or build an addition, which can be incredibly pricy and require all kinds of permits. And although home weatherization facts and statistics may show that this room increases overall insulation (by adding an extra buffer between the indoors and out), it’s unlikely you’ll get back whatever you spend on it.
- Home office remodel. In most cases, your home office is simply a bedroom that you’ve put to another purpose. And like a bedroom, you’ll gain nothing through remodeling. Adding another room onto the house and thus increasing square footage might increase the value of your home, as well as functionality, but don’t expect to see a return anywhere near what you spent. And if you’re simply renovating existing space, you’re even less likely to get money back.
Filed under: Budgeting Tips
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