It's only natural to make the home you bought more comfortable and functional for your household. But before you put in a hot tub or convert the garage into a bedroom, think about whether or not these improvements will add or subtract perceived value from your home someday.
Even though selling your home could be years away, keep in mind that not all home improvements are welcome to buyers. When buyers are ready to buy, they tour multiple homes which can be confusing. So, they distinguish what they've seen by features like "the one with the gorgeous kitchen," or "the one with the ugly pink tiled bathroom." You don't want your home to be the one they make fun of.
Here are just a few items that buyers don't appreciate:
1. Outdated finishes. It doesn't matter if you paint your walls the most fashionable colors if buyers look up and see popcorn ceilings and wobbly ceiling fans. If you're going to improve a room, update everything, even the light switches. Be particularly careful with wallpaper which is very personal and can be polarizing to buyers. And carpet? Most buyers want wood floors today.
2. Awkward spaces. You've seen the commercial where the family remodels the kitchen and borrows space from the college-age son's bedroom, turning his room into little more than a closet. Knock out or move walls where you need to, but not at the expense of other rooms.
3. Conversions. Beware of changing the original function of a room. Decking out the dining room as a media room may make sense for your family, but where will your buyers serve dinner? And while we're on the subject, converting studies into bedrooms doesn't work. Without closets and adjoining baths, they aren't really bedrooms.
4. Bad add-ons. If there's anything worse than not having enough space, it's adding on space that looks stuck to the original house with glue. If you're going to add on to your home, make sure it looks as seamless as possible, with the same quality finishes and floors.
5. Expensive-to-maintain luxuries. Swimming pools, koi ponds, fountains and putting greens can make backyards a paradise, but they're costly to keep up. Installing lush landscaping that has to be pruned constantly to keep its shape is a great hobby, but for future buyers, less is more. It's great to have hobbies, but make sure you can take them with you when you move.
So go ahead and paint your den after your favorite football team's colors like orange and purple, but when it comes time to sell, prepare your home for the next buyer. Put it in pristine clean condition, and restore paints and finishes to attractive neutral shades. And keep this mantra in mind: If it's expensive to add or install, the buyer could see it as expensive to remove.