A few weeks back we talked about the 5 renovations that pay off but these week we are discussing the opposite: which renovations don’t add value to your home? Depending on your personal taste and interests, you might be surprised to see some of the items on this list.

To be clear, if you already have a home that has one of these things, that’s not automatically a bad thing – just realize that each of the mentioned points below make it a bit harder to sell. The key theme here is trying to cater your home to the largest group of people so it has a much easier time selling.  

1. Deck

I know what you’re thinking…who doesn’t love a deck? While it’s true that a deck usually increases desirability of a particular home, it doesn’t necessarily mean the value will increase. If you think that building a deck before putting your house on the market will help you fetch a higher price, think again.

If you’re one of the few in the neighbourhood with a great deck, it could be the deciding factor for some buyers but don’t do it if it’s because you want a higher price tag during the sales process.

2. Swimming Pool

Here’s another interesting dilemma…everybody loves the idea of having a swimming pool but very few want it bad enough to deal with the maintenance that comes along with it. In many cases, a pool can actually be a deal breaker, let alone increase the price tag.

This is definitely one of those renovations that don’t add value to your home so steer clear unless you’re prepared for the responsibilities that come along with it.

3. Skylights

Style At Home reported that skylights tend to get a paltry 0-25% return on investment. Natural lighting is great but don’t expect your buyer to recover the high cost of doing this renovation after the initial build.

4. Unnecessary Expensive Additions

You might love that custom stained glass window in the bathroom or that chandelier you bought from Tiffany’s but those details are irrelevant to potential buyers with different taste. If it isn’t necessary, they won’t want to pay extra for it and will keep a mental note of these details when it comes time to negotiate.

5. New Carpet

If somebody wants new flooring in their home it’s not going to be carpet! Especially if they don’t like the choice you made. “We just changed the carpets” never has the same impact as “brand new hardwood floors”. It’s either go big or go home in this department.

6. Specialty Rooms

It’s great that you decided to turn that spare bedroom you never use into a giant walk in closet…until you want to sell. Some of the worst renovations that don’t add value are those that involves expensive room conversions that only appeal to specific interests. Not everyone wants a wine cellar in their basement or a converted garage instead of a place to store their car in the winter.

7. Landscape Overkill

Curb appeal is huge when it comes to valuation and overall desirability but there is a certain point when nice landscaping turns into a maintenance nightmare. Strike a good balance between beautiful landscaping and something that will be easily managed.

 8. “Over Improving” For The Neighbourhood

Beautiful homes always sell better but be careful that you don’t become the most expensive place in the neighbourhood. The Appraisal Institute of Canada warns on its website that if the value of your house exceeds the average market value in your neighbourhood, your renovations will not yield much return.

They also mention that if your house value is below the average, you can recover a larger part of the renovation costs. Consider the area you are in and invest accordingly.

And Remember…

If you already have one of these renovations that don’t add value in your home, it’s not the end of the world. There is a buyer out there that will want your home – after all, you bought it! Keep in mind that limiting the items on this list will open you up to a broader market and likely a quicker sale.

Have any questions about selling your home? Feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to me directly.

Posted by Chris Proctor on


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