The 17 Worst Home Renovations You Can Spend Your Money On Featured Image

While these 17 home upgrades can certainly improve your family’s overall enjoyment of your home, they may lack on ROI when it comes time to sell.

1. Master Suite Additions

According to the experts, an upscale master suite addition (i.e. walk-in closet addition, large shower, dual vanities and soaker tub, etc.) will set you back approximately $282,062. There’s no denying that a master suite retreat can deliver endless value when it comes to homeowner convenience and comfort. Still, with an average ROI of only 51.6%, you’re not likely to recoup your initial costs. 

2. Costly Carpeting 

Since carpeting is a magnet for dust, germs and stains, many buyers prefer lower maintenance forms of flooring. Even so, if you have carpeting in your home, we recommend cleaning it instead of replacing it. This will prevent you from shelling out additional funds for new carpeting and allow buyers to choose a style of flooring best suited to their unique tastes. 

3. Passing On the Permit

Home renovations done without permits will affect your home’s sale. It can also make it hard for the buyer to obtain financing and present legal problems for everyone involved. If you own an older home, especially, do some research on your property to ensure nothing catches you off guard when it comes time to list. Common permit-required renovations in Edmonton include: 

  • Structural changes 
  • Finishing a basement 
  • Secondary suites
  • Garages and sheds
  • Home additions
  • Changes to the exterior finish material of the home 
  • Etc. 

Related: 6 Reasons To Get An Inspection Before You Buy A Home

The 17 Worst Home Renovations You Can Spend Your Money On Landscaping Image

4. Over-the-Top Landscaping

Great home curb appeal will always pay off. But, when it comes to landscaping, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. This is because upscale landscaping, while attractive, says “complicated” and “high-maintenance” to prospective buyers. Of course, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t enjoy your yard to its fullest, but we do recommend toning it down come sale time. 

5. Splurging on One or Two Rooms Only 

When upgrading/renovating your home, consistency is critical. For example, a renovated kitchen or bathroom will look great but stick out like a sore thumb if the rest of the house is stuck in a different decade. Instead, focus your funds on across-the-board upgrades such as new paint, flooring, cabinetry or lighting. 

6. Bespoke Upgrades 

Unless you’ve already invested in your forever home, we recommend keeping personalized renovations to a minimum. For example, a wine cellar, yoga studio or theatre room may improve your enjoyment of the home, but they won’t appeal to everyone. Buyers want to envision themselves living in the space, and over-the-top custom renovations can be distracting.   

7. Bedroom Conversions 

We can’t stress this enough: any home renovation that requires sacrificing a bedroom should be avoided. While we understand the urge to create that custom home office or combine two rooms into one super space, a reduction in bedrooms almost always equals a reduction in your home’s value. 

The 17 Worst Home Renovations You Can Spend Your Money On Basement Image

8. Fancy Finished Basements 

A finished basement is a plus for buyers. However, if you’re finishing it for the sole purpose of selling, we recommend keeping things as generic as possible. Run-of-the-mill drywall, carpeting and/or flooring, lighting and paint are ideal while ensuring all wiring, heating and plumbing are compliant and up to date. This will improve your home’s resale value and allow buyers to add their personal touches.

9. Extravagant Lighting 

Like bespoke upgrades, lavish lighting is a matter of personal taste. Super-specialized and trendy fixtures may look great right now, but they’re likely to look dated down the road. Instead, opt for simple designs that bring functionality to your home (i.e. track lighting in workspaces like the kitchen) while improving any dark or poorly lit spaces with floor and table lamps. 

The 17 Worst Home Renovations You Can Spend Your Money On Bathroom Image

10. Upscale Bathrooms and Kitchens 

One of the first things any reputable Edmonton REALTOR® will tell you is that buyers LOVE kitchens and bathrooms. So, while it is worthwhile to do a few upgrades for yourself (i.e. new light fixtures, new appliances and/or countertop replacement), don’t overdo it. Not only are significant renos in these areas expensive, but the heavy amount of customization involved can reduce buyer appeal. 

11. Garage Conversions 

With Edmonton’s harsh and snowy winters, garage spaces are a must-have on many buyers’ checklists. They’re also a necessity for storage, especially for growing families. While a dedicated fitness space, games room or man cave may sound like a fun idea at first, the loss of garage space can make your home harder to sell. 

12. DIY Everything 

We understand home renovations can be expensive but taking a DIY approach to all projects may end up costing you more in the end. While some DIY projects may be passable (i.e. indoor and outdoor painting, improving curb appeal, cleaning and decluttering, etc.), some tasks should be left to the pros—especially projects related to electrical, plumbing and HVAC. 

See also: 5 Must-Know Tips For Hiring A Home Renovation Company

The 17 Worst Home Renovations You Can Spend Your Money On Pool Image

13. Swimming Pools

Admittedly, you won’t find many Edmonton real estate listings featuring a pool, and for good reason. Edmonton isn’t exactly known for its hot and balmy weather (in which case a pool investment would probably deliver a healthy return). As many Alberta-based buyers are likely to view a pool as a lot of extra maintenance (compared to in-floor heating or heated garage spaces), you might be better off buying a membership to your local leisure centre instead. 

14. Pricey Patios and Decking 

While it’s worth it to build or repair your deck or patio, you may want to think twice before investing in upscale materials like composite decking. These materials, though lower maintenance and ultra-durable, are more expensive than regular wood decking – making wood a better ROI-related choice if you’re putting your home on the market. 

The 17 Worst Home Renovations You Can Spend Your Money On Decor Image

15. Ignoring Textured Ceilings and Walls 

Since textured walls and popcorn ceilings are a trend of the past, they instantly make your home look dated. Admittedly, texture removal can be time-consuming, but ignoring it all together may negatively impact potential buyer offers. 

Check out: 14 Things That Make Your Home Look Out-Dated

16. Ultra-Personalized Décor 

When renovating to sell, bright feature walls, loud wallpaper and quirky tile patterns are the ultimate no-no. We’re all for expressing yourself, but if you hope to attract buyers (and a higher asking price), it’s best to forgo extreme personalization in favour of appealing to the masses.  

17. Sunroom/Four-Season Room Addition

Although ideal for the resident green thumb, sunrooms are expensive to build and deliver a low return on your investment (i.e. only 45- 50% ROI at the max). Here again, if you know this addition will enhance your lifestyle and enjoyment of your home, go for it! Keep in mind, it may not count toward your overall square footage and could limit your pool of potential buyers down the road.

Do These Instead: 

Here are a few sure-fire ways to improve your home’s value, without breaking the bank: 

1. Apply a Fresh Coat of Paint – An easy and affordable way to lighten and brighten your home as well as masks any imperfections. Neutral palettes are most favoured by home buyers. 

2. Improve Overall Energy Efficiency – Energy-efficient lightbulbs, programmable thermostats, and upgraded insulation are all great examples. 

3. Upgrade Fixtures and Hardware – Simple upgrades such as new cabinet and door handles, drawer pulls, and light fixtures can go a long way. Best of all, these small changes are both easy and affordable.  

4. Fix What Needs Fixing – Items needing repairs should be addressed, otherwise you may have to reduce your asking price. Remember, cutting corners on repairs will not go unnoticed during a home inspection. 

5. Download your FREE copy of our Step-by-Step Renovation Guide 

The 17 Worst Home Renovations You Can Spend Your Money On Reno Guide Image

Summing It All Up 

Ultimately, your home is your castle, and any upgrades that contribute to your quality of life and happiness therein are well worth it. However, if you’re planning on moving sooner rather than later or concerned about the potential impact particular renovations could have on your home’s value (and your bank account), be sure to consult with your Edmonton REALTOR® and/or do a little research ahead of time. How Much Is Your Home Really Worth? 5 Key Reasons You Need A Home Evaluation.

Are you thinking about selling your Edmonton home? Our Seller’s Resources can help you sell your home quickly and for the most money possible: 

 Originally published June 17, 2020, updated Jan 23, 2023

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