Buying a home is a significant investment. The goal for most homeowners is, ultimately, to increase the value of their home. Perhaps they intend on selling it, or maybe they plan on passing it down to future generations. Whatever their reasoning, most people don’t purchase a home expecting to lose money.

In many situations, a home’s value will increase over time, with little more than standard maintenance and upkeep required. In fact, home values have more than doubled since the 1970s.

However, not everyone has five decades to wait for the value of their home to rise. For those looking to increase the value of their home more immediately, certain upgrades might just do the trick. While remodeling the kitchen or replacing your windows may make a big difference to the home appraiser, there are some “upgrades” that—surprisingly—don’t add a whole lot of value to your home.

Here are 7 “upgrades” that won’t really move the dial on your home appraisal:

1.   Built-in pools. Considered a luxury, a built-in pool can increase the value of your home by about 7%. However, compared with the cost of installation, most homeowners break even…or still end up upside down.

2.  Premium granite vs. standard granite. The majority of realtors report that home buyers are looking for granite countertops. However, granite can range from $40/SF to over $100/SF. If you can stay on the low-end of this range, updating your kitchen to include granite countertops makes sense. Chances are, if you invest in highly-upgraded granite, you won’t recoup your cost. Likewise for extra-thick granite: chances are you won’t make back what you spend on this unnecessary upgrade.

3.  Solar panels. For someone planning on staying in their house for their lifetime, solar panels are a wonderful “green” upgrade. However, it can cost upwards of $20K to install solar panels on your home. Your home’s value will not likely increase by that much. Of course, when taking steps to reduce your carbon footprint and preserve the planet, many people aren’t concerned with flipping a profit…

4.  Whole-house vacuum systems. Whole-house vacuum systems are certainly convenient. It generally costs about $1,500 to install one…but will only add a couple hundred dollars to the value of your home.

5.  Over-the-top landscaping. Smart landscape design and lawn maintenance can add a whopping 20% to the value of your home. However, luxurious touches—like koi ponds or a brick pizza oven—may deter buyers who don’t want to deal with upkeep of these features.

6.  Radiant barriers. Radiant barriers can help reduce wear-and-tear on your home’s HVAC system, and cut down on energy costs…but it’s not an upgrade that will add much value to your home.

7.  Foundation repairs. Making repairs to the foundation of your home will not increase its value. Buyers expect the home they are buying to have a sound foundation. If, however, there are known issues with the foundation of your home, and you decide not to repair them, your home’s value will decrease. In short, you should repair your foundation if needed—just don’t expect its value to increase!

Choose which home upgrades to make wisely. Simple upgrades to kitchen cabinet hardware or appliances, adding a deck, or installing a new front door will reap greater dividends than the “upgrades” listed above.



Contact Appraisals Unlimited, Inc.

At Appraisals Unlimited, Inc. we are experts in home valuation. If you have questions about how an upgrade will impact your home’s value—or if you need to order an appraisal for your residential or commercial property—please contact us using the brief form below.