5 expensive improvement trends to avoid

Ginger Dean

May 28, 2015

By: Ginger Dean, Home Finance Specialist

In: General Remodeling

If you're a fan of house flipping shows, you might be obsessed with making your home TV-ready. When it comes to home improvements, you want to spend money on renovations that will improve your quality of life and the functionality of your home as well as increase your home's value.

Trendy aesthetic upgrades and renovations are usually very expensive and don't necessarily bring any value to your home. If you're thinking about home improvements this spring, stay away from these trendy traps:

Building a home office

As the world of entrepreneurs grows and more companies are allowing employees to work from home, many homeowners are considering adding offices into homes. According to Forbes, this is one of the worst home improvement trends for the cost vs. value.

The average home office renovation costs over $23k and only 46% of the cost is recuperated in the home's increased value. A home office is nice if you work from home, but not everyone does, which can impact resale value. If you're looking for a quiet space to work, set up a desk and attractive bookshelves in a guest room or corner of the living room.

Upscale anything

Adding fancy master suites with private bathrooms is nice on TV, but it's not always realistic in today's home market. According to Bankrate, the cost of adding an upscale bathroom is over $72k and homeowners will lose almost 40% of the value - meaning the home value will only increase by approximately 60% of the total renovation cost.

Mid-level remodels will actually be cheaper up front and more likely to recoup dollars when you're ready to sell. Invest in the things your bathroom really needs - new floors or tile backsplashes, a nice tub or shower, and a functional vanity.

A multiple car garage

How many cars does the average family have? That's the question you need to ask yourself when deciding whether to upgrade a single garage to a two or three car space. Bankrate says this is definitely not one of the home renovation projects that is worth the cost.

The average price tag on an upscale multiple car garage renovation is over $82k and the return on investment is only approximately 58%. That's not a great way to spend your reno budget. Investigate other options for protecting your cars from the elements (or storing extra goodies, if it's the space you're really after) before you make this decision.

Luxurious personal spaces

According to Style at Home, additions such as saunas and hot tubs are a thing of the past. "Once considered chic, these are now often seen as just expensive, energy-guzzling extras." Consider how much enjoyment and use you'll really get out of an upgrade like this and compare that with how much money you'll recoup when you sell your home. Is the money loss worth it to you?

Before you bite the bullet on any big, spendy upgrades, talk to a contractor and do some research online about the smartest way to spend your dollars.


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