We've all got our own wish list for our homes. Some people want a pool while others prefer a wet bar. Some might want to add a basketball hoop along the driveway while others prefer an outdoor kitchen area. While these hold value for the individual, they may not add value to your home. Certain things like a kitchen remodel or adding another bedroom or bathroom will increase your home's value. Other things might not provide a return on your investment when selling your home.
So, it's up to you to decide. Do you want to improve something that adds value to you? Or do you want to add value to your home for future buyers? I completely understand that built-in surround sound system that is hyper-focused to your favorite chair's current location. You enjoy it and that's all that matters. I'm just here to let you know that not everything you love will translate into dollars for other buyers.
Here are four things that you might value that won't necessarily increase the value of your home:
1. Outdoor Kitchen - Men love to grill and act manly. It might even be an animal instinct to act like the alpha male and grill some meat. Add an outdoor space where you can have beverages handy and do all the washing and cleaning outside and you're on your way to a great entertaining space. But is it worth the cost? The average cost is around $15,000 to add these spaces to an existing home. And how much will you actually use it? True, having this space might make you use it more often, but the living room is still the most common gathering space for families.
Instead, get yourself the best grill you can find and enjoy it no matter what home you live in. The cost will be a fraction of the home remodeling and you'll enjoy it just as much. Then add some extra outdoor lighting. The majority of buyers are interested in exterior lighting in their next home.
2. In-Ground Swimming Pool - It sounds like the American dream. Hopping in the pool on a hot summer day to stay cool. The kids will love it...when they feel like using it. Also, it's cold in South Dakota for half the year, so erase half of your usable timeframe for this amenity off the bat. Pools are generally expensive to install, upwards of $55,000, depending on your situation and installation. Don't forget about the money you'll spend on insurance and maintenance. Then, if you ever decide to sell, not all buyers will see it in a positive light. There's a report from the National Association of REALTORS that says people are only getting around 43% return on their investment when they sell.
Instead, take a look at cheaper, moveable above-ground pools. There's much less cost and you won't have to worry as much about resale or getting a return on your investment. You can still enjoy your time in the pool without the high impact on your wallet.
3. In-Ground Spa (AKA Hot Tubs) - Ahhh, slipping into the water to sooth some aching muscles after a long day at work. It sounds like another American dream. Warm water, bubbles, friends. What could be better? Well, the problem is that if you add up the costs, these amazing muscle soothers can be almost as expensive as in-ground pools. Much like in-ground pools, in-ground spas only provide a return on investment if the next buyer values having one. If not, they see it as a pain they'd have to deal with.
Instead, find yourself a portable hot tub that will provide you with the same benefits for much less cost. And, much like the above-ground pool, you can take it with you if you move.
4. Elevator - Okay, sometimes stairs are just a pain in the rear end - for you and for your parents or grandparents. But are they really worth it? According to the same report mentioned above, an elevator is another thing buyers really don't want when buying a home. The cost can be upwards of $25,000 to install, not to mention the hassle of sawing through floors, concrete and framing to make it possible. The next thing you know, families with kids who like to push buttons repeatedly cross your home off the list of potential homes to buy.
Instead, install a lower cost chair lift if you truly need help getting up and down the stairs. The best part about this: it can be removed whenever you decide to move and sell the home.
These are just a few things that won't return the expected value for your investment. When looking to upgrade your home, make sure you value it enough and will enjoy it enough if you really want these things. If you don't need them, I'd encourage you to think of the alternative options before opening your wallet.