Renovation Risks: 25 Home Upgrades That Might Not Pay Off

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Installing a fancy fridge and upgrading your home’s landscape may seem like brilliant ways to make your home more attractive, comfortable, and valuable. Still, some home renovations can decrease a property’s value. 

1. Lots of Carpeting

Carpeting in house
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Hardwood floors can raise a property’s value, but carpeting can lower it. Carpet can look ragged after a few years and is more challenging to clean and maintain than tile or wood. Plus, carpeting is less neutral and more personalized.

2. Odd Tiles

Tiled Bathroom
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Similar to carpet, unique and bold tiles are a personal preference and may deter buyers from committing to the home. Simple tiles in neutral colors shouldn’t lower the home’s value, but bright and quirky tiles with distinct designs may not appeal to all buyers.

3. Fancy Lighting

Weird Lighting
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Adding luxury lighting fixtures seems like a positive, but they can be risky. People often pick vibrant and eye-catching light fixtures when renovating, but these can quickly look outdated and may not fit the space’s aesthetic well, creating an odd, out-of-place look.

4. Textured Walls and Ceilings

Popcorn Ceiling
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Textured walls and ceilings appeal to some, but many others find them unattractive and outdated. Removing texture from walls and ceilings is very hard, so a buyer may be deterred if they don’t like the texture, as changing it is a massive project.

5. Flamboyant Paint Colors

Brightly colored wall
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Again, anything that is too subjective might lower the home’s value. Painting rooms with daring colors like tangerine or lavender can create issues. Not everyone appreciates these bold aesthetics and may not want to buy a home that requires a massive paint job.

6. Luxury Kitchen

Luxury Kitchen
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This one can be frustrating, as renovating a kitchen with high-end appliances and materials is something many homeowners strive to do and see as a positive. However, the resale value of kitchen renovations is disappointing, and people usually recoup roughly half of their investment.

7. Lavish Bathroom

Lavish bathroom
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The same goes for bathroom renovations. A high-end bathroom renovation can feel over the top for potential buyers. Certain fancy additions, like a massive tub with jets or a gigantic mirror, pose cleaning challenges and can look too personal.

8. Home Office Transformation

Home office
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With so many people working from home now, many have created home offices. This can be a negative if you transform a bedroom or other living space into a home office. If a house was a three-bedroom, but now it’s a two-bedroom with an office, it may not appeal to as many buyers.

9. Excessive Wallpaper

Home decor wallpaper
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Wallpaper can be beautiful, but it’s also highly personal. Not everyone will have the same taste in wallpaper, so a home with wallpaper in every room can be tricky to sell. Removing wallpaper can be costly, making it a deterrent for potential buyers who don’t like it.

10. Combined Rooms

Combined kitchen and dining room
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Like the home office issue, combining two rooms to make more space can also backfire. While knocking down a wall can create a stunning large bedroom, the house now has one less bedroom, which may be a dealbreaker for some buyers.

11. Removed Closets

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People also love closets, and while removing them can open a room and make it more spacious, potential buyers may be disappointed by a bedroom with no closets. While space is valuable, so is storage, and removing closets will alienate people who prefer extra storage.

12. Swimming Pool

Home swimming pool
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Swimming pools are a fun luxury addition to a home but also a massive liability. Homes with swimming pools require additional and expensive insurance along with a lot of intense maintenance. The dangers and maintenance involved with pools can make them a huge negative.

13. Built-in Electronics

Ring Doorbell
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Built-in electronics, like speaker systems or security systems, can also lower the value of a property. These electronics can quickly become outdated and may not appeal to a potential buyer’s preferences or fulfill their needs.

14. Built-in Aquarium

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A built-in aquarium sounds super fun, but not everyone wants one. These aquariums are extremely expensive to install but also costly to maintain. What if the new buyer doesn’t have or want fish? The aquarium immediately becomes a downside.

15. Sunroom or Screened-in Porch Addition

Screened in porch
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A sunroom or screened-in porch is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors without going outside. However, the resale value of these additions is abysmal. People usually get a 50% return on what they spent on the addition when they sell the home.

16. Hot Tub

Home spa
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Like swimming pools, hot tubs can be a negative when selling a home. They take up substantial space and require consistent maintenance. Hot tubs can also be seen as a liability and dangerous for families with young children. For those who can’t live without a hot tub, look for portable options to go with you when you move!

17. Gym Conversion

Working out at home treadmill
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A gym conversion can be just as harmful to your resale value as a home office conversion. Not everyone wants a high-end gym at home, and many gym conversions involve taking over a bedroom, living space, or garage. If you want a home gym, don’t install anything permanent.

18. High Maintenance Landscaping

Home landscaping
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Many homeowners invest in a dazzling landscape design with beautiful flowers, bushes, trees, and other plants. While it may look lovely, these complex landscapes require a lot of upkeep and often coincide with personal taste. Try to keep your landscaping simple.

19. Shedding Trees

Shedding trees
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Some of the most eye-catching and attractive trees are also the messiest. If you want to plant trees on your property, research each species and avoid ones that shed excessive leaves, fruit, and nuts that require the owner to clean the yard more frequently.

20. DIY Improvements of Repairs

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Fixing and installing things around your home on your own can seem like a brilliant money-saver at the time, but when you’re trying to sell your house, those DIY repairs and improvements may bite you in the behind. Most buyers can tell when something was not professionally done and will insist on paying less.

21. Lowered Ceilings

Low ceiling
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People lower ceilings for various reasons, such as to make lighting easier or to create a cozier space. But low ceilings can also make a home feel cramped and small, decreasing the value. Even if the ceiling was lowered for logistic features, the aesthetic of it may reduce the resale price.

22. Home Theater

Home theater
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Home theaters can be detrimental to a home’s value. Not only does it require pricey built-in electronics that may not appeal to everyone, but it also takes up substantial living space and maybe even an entire bedroom. It can also seem too lavish or over-the-top for people who aren’t obsessed with TV and movies.

23. Walk-in Closet Conversion

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As mentioned, removing closets is not a great idea if you think you’ll sell the home down the line. However, turning a bedroom into a walk-in closet can also be harmful. A walk-in closet can be enticing, but not if it means the home has one less bedroom for a family.

24. Solar Panels

Solar Panels
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Solar panels are becoming more and more popular, but there are still many people who don’t want them. Installing solar panels may save you money on electricity and help the planet, but it can be seen as a burden for the new homeowner, especially if they must take over your panel lease.

25. Smart Home Technology

learning thermostat to reduce energy costs
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While Smart Home technology can be an exciting upgrade for your home, it can lower the value of your property. Smart Home systems are often highly personalized, making it hard for a new owner to use them. Built-in technology can also quickly become outdated, making the Smart system obsolete and cumbersome in five years.

Author: Veronica Booth

Title: Freelance Writer

Expertise: Food, Entertainment, Movies, TV, Fashion, Lifestyle, Celebrity


Veronica is a food, fashion, and entertainment writer from Boston, MA, with a passion for all things lifestyle and culture. She graduated from Boston University in 2019 with a bachelor's in English literature. From Anna Wintour to Angelina Jolie to Alton Brown, she has her finger on the pulse of all things Hollywood and celebrity.

If she's not in the kitchen crafting new recipes, then she's binging the latest HBO series and catching up on the hottest trends in Vogue.

She has written for and been syndicated by publications like The Weather Channel, The Daily Meal, The Borgen Project, The Good Men Project, The Express, MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and Not Deer Magazine. Her writing experience ranges from global news articles to celebrity gossip pieces to movie reviews to homemade recipes and more.