Want to Add Value to Your Home? Here are 5 Projects to Avoid

Not all home improvement projects are created equal. Some will add value to your home so you actually see a return on the investment, but others could potentially make your home undesirable to buyers. These projects that you should avoid are not worth your effort because they do not produce appreciable returns on your investment. So here's what to avoid:

Incongruous Remodels

If you have a period home, adding modern amenities will only waste money. People seek out historic home designs for their particular style, but if you have a contemporary kitchen inside a historic Victorian house, homebuyers may not appreciate the difference. Instead of trying to fit modern appliances into old homes, seek out fixtures that are in line with the period. Yes, you can have a stove and refrigerator in a period home, but look for models that complement the overall home's design rather than contrast with it.

Home Office

While a home office update may help you in your personal business, it does not affect the value of your home as much as other projects. According to Remodeling Magazine, home office remodels only returned 48.9 percent of their cost to the homeowners. Installing an attic bedroom or replacing your entry door are better projects if you are looking to maximize your return on investment with the remodeling projects you choose.


Depending on where you live, a pool may not be the best option. In warm climates with mild winters, a pool may get use for up to 10 months of the year and would add to the value of a home. If you live in a cold region, the cost of caring for the pool and winterizing it may not be enough to justify having a pool that can only be used for three or four months of the year.


A sunroom is a major addition to your home because it involves all of the efforts of installing another room onto the home while keeping its climate controlled. Proper insulation and energy-efficient windows are a must when adding a sunroom, but these increase the cost. A better alternative, depending on where you live, might be to convert an existing patio into an outdoor room.

New Garage

There is a difference between building a new garage and choosing a new garage with several amenities. The return on investment for upscale garage additions is only 58.4 percent, according to Remodeling Magazine's 2014 Cost vs. Value Survey, but this includes additions such as insulation, heating and cooling, storage systems and more to make it more like another part of the house instead of a place to keep your car. For a better project, have a simple garage built. You will recoup 69.3 percent of the remodeling costs when you sell your home with this option.

Not all remodeling projects will yield the same returns. Focus on choosing projects that add the most value for the lowest investment on your part to get a better return when you sell your home. For more remodeling ideas visit Modernize.

- By Tim Smith