dcsimg
PRINT E-MAIL SHARE
 

3 home improvements that won't pay off

  • 3 home improvements that won't pay off

    Jennifer Noonan | Improvement Center Columnist | August 16, 2016

    Modern dining room

    Not all home improvement projects are created equal. Each one has its own set of pros and cons depending on your house, your location, and your lifestyle. And while most home improvements will enhance your enjoyment of your home, not all of them will be valuable to future buyers. Some home improvements just won't give you a return on the money you've invested once it's time to sell. Give it some serious thought before you pull the trigger on any of these 3 home improvements.

  • ROI for standby generator?

    Jennifer Noonan | Improvement Center Columnist | August 16, 2016

    Backup generator

    The idea of losing power in the dead of winter or height of summer is unpalatable, for sure. Wouldn't it be great to know the lights would never go out unexpectedly, and you'd never have to grill everything in your freezer for a spontaneous block party? That can be a reality if you have a standby generator. A standby generator is permanently installed, runs off an underground natural gas or propane line, and kicks on automatically in the case of a power outage. But it most likely isn't worth the cost, financially. The reality is that extended periods without power are rare. According to the 2016 Cost vs. Basis Report published by Remodeling, the average standby generator installation will cost you over $12,700, and you'll recoup less than 60% of that (around $7,500), when you sell your house. Unless you live in an isolated area that loses power frequently, or have essential medical equipment that requires electricity to run, don't bother with a standby generator. If you just can't stand the thought of being without air conditioning for a couple days, have an electrician install a transfer switch and purchase a portable back up generator you can run on gasoline when necessary.

    In-ground swimming pool

    As a kid, you may have dreamed of living in a house with a swimming pool right in the back yard. Lazing away the summer days, floating on a raft without a care in the world. The adult realities are much different. A swimming pool is bona fide money pit. On average, a swimming pool can cost between $7,500 and $30,000 to install, depending on size and material (vinyl or concrete). You'll only get back a maximum of 25% of that cost when you sell your home. Add in the hundreds -- even thousands -- of dollars required to maintain a pool during the swimming season, and that childhood dream starts to fade with the summer sun. Your liability insurance will be higher, as well. No doubt, a swimming pool can bring a lot of enjoyment, and the impact on your lifestyle may make it worth the cost. But it won't return your monetary investment. Though not as pretty, an above ground pool can be taken down and resold, and would be a better long-term use of your financial resources.

    Home office remodel

    Advances in communication technology over the last two decades means more and more people are able to work from home. It's a very viable option for many. If you telework, you may think of converting a room in your house into a home office. But approach it carefully. Converting a 12 x 12 room into a home office, complete with custom cabinets, counter tops, and a computer work station can cost nearly $30,000. You can expect to recoup less than 50% of that upon selling your home. You won't necessarily be able to write it off on your taxes, either. The IRS's standards regarding what qualifies as a home office are very high. If you work full-time from home, it may be worth spending that kind of money, just for your comfort and productivity. But for a better investment, consider creating your home office with stand alone furniture in a current bedroom, and converting a closet into the kind of office storage you need. That way, the room has more flexibility, making your home more attractive for future buyers overall.

    In the end, only you can decide whether a home improvement project has a good return on investment. There are intangible factors related to your lifestyle that can't be quantified in dollars and cents. If a standby generator gives you immeasurable peace of mind, or a swimming pool brings you incalculable quality time with family, you may be willing to spend the money, knowing it won't translate into commensurate added value to your home. Just go in with your eyes open when making your house the home of your dreams.

  • Cost of in-ground swimming pool

    Jennifer Noonan | Improvement Center Columnist | August 16, 2016

    Three friends in a pool

    As a kid, you may have dreamed of living in a house with a swimming pool right in the back yard. Lazing away the summer days, floating on a raft without a care in the world. The adult realities are much different. A swimming pool is bona fide money pit. On average, a swimming pool can cost between $7,500 and $30,000 to install, depending on size and material (vinyl or concrete). You'll only get back a maximum of 25% of that cost when you sell your home. Add in the hundreds -- even thousands -- of dollars required to maintain a pool during the swimming season, and that childhood dream starts to fade with the summer sun. Your liability insurance will be higher, as well. No doubt, a swimming pool can bring a lot of enjoyment, and the impact on your lifestyle may make it worth the cost. But it won't return your monetary investment. Though not as pretty, an above ground pool can be taken down and resold, and would be a better long-term use of your financial resources.

  • Should you build a home office?

    Jennifer Noonan | Improvement Center Columnist | August 16, 2016

    Home office with built-ins

    Advances in communication technology over the last two decades means more and more people are able to work from home. It's a very viable option for many. If you telework, you may think of converting a room in your house into a home office. But approach it carefully. Converting a 12 x 12 room into a home office, complete with custom cabinets, counter tops, and a computer work station can cost nearly $30,000. You can expect to recoup less than 50% of that upon selling your home. You won't necessarily be able to write it off on your taxes, either. The IRS's standards regarding what qualifies as a home office are very high. If you work full-time from home, it may be worth spending that kind of money, just for your comfort and productivity. But for a better investment, consider creating your home office with stand alone furniture in a current bedroom, and converting a closet into the kind of office storage you need. That way, the room has more flexibility, making your home more attractive for future buyers overall.

    In the end, only you can decide whether a home improvement project has a good return on investment. There are intangible factors related to your lifestyle that can't be quantified in dollars and cents. If a standby generator gives you immeasurable peace of mind, or a swimming pool brings you incalculable quality time with family, you may be willing to spend the money, knowing it won't translate into commensurate added value to your home. Just go in with your eyes open when making your house the home of your dreams.

×
We have made updates to our Privacy PolicyPrivacy Policy to reflect the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation.