17 Home Changes That Just Aren’t Worth the Cost

Written By Jill Taylor

If you plan on living in your home for decades, you can make any changes you want. However, if you’re looking to sell it for some extra bucks or to reduce your maintenance costs, you shouldn’t add these 17 features.

Whirlpool Bathtub

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Whirlpool bathtubs aren’t used as often as you’d think, and they can be expensive to install and maintain. They’re also typically larger than regular tubs, which means they’ll limit your bathroom layout options, which may not look great for potential buyers.

Extravagant Landscaping

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Boosting your curb appeal is an amazing strategy to get more bucks for your home. But it becomes a negative investment when you start adding expensive features like gazebos and water fountains. Bankrate reveals that landscaping features that are high-maintenance and too customized may put off buyers.

Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

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Wall-to-wall carpeting can easily lose appeal, even to you. This type of carpet installment doesn’t appeal to most home buyers either. What’s more, wall-to-wall carpeting is harder to maintain and requires deeper cleaning than regular flooring options like hardwood or laminate, as it traps more allergens and odors.

Built-In Electronics

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We live in a time when technology changes quickly, and anything you buy this year can become obsolete in two or three years. When you have in-built appliances, making all-important upgrades (or even repairs) can be quite expensive. Buyers may also not like the appliances you have installed.

Sunroom Addition

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If you’re big on saving yourself some money on energy bills, the sunroom is an addition that brings more financial strain than comfort over time. Heating and cooling are expensive, the sunroom may not be practical for use in extreme weather conditions, and its real value is typically half of what it costs to construct it.

Luxury Bathroom Upgrades

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Ordinarily, Zillow data shows us that the universal ROI of bathrooms doesn’t cover the cost of upgrades – 70%, to be exact. With luxury bathroom installments, like heated floors, you pay even more money for upgrades that buyers don’t particularly want to pay extra for, reducing the ROI further.

Gourmet Kitchen

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Don’t get us wrong here; kitchen upgrades have some of the highest returns on investments (ROIs) when it comes to home improvements. But the problem with gourmet kitchens is that they can easily be more expensive than people are willing to pay for kitchens in your neighborhood. And the specialized features may not appeal to all buyers.

Built-In Home Office

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The permanent fixtures in built-in home offices can reduce the room’s flexibility. The specialized carpentry used is also typically very expensive to make, alter, or remove completely. Also, this can limit your buyers in the real estate market to remote workers who are comfortable with having a home office.

Elaborate Security Systems

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Security systems are important for your home. However, when you go beyond the essentials like security cameras, alarms, and lighting, you have a system that’s more complex (and expensive) than many buyers are willing to pay for. Maintenance costs can also be too much, and the technology can quickly become obsolete with upgrades needed.

Converted Garages

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Garages only qualify as living spaces when they’re properly finished, which means they have to have appropriate walls, floors, ceilings, and heating sources. However, legal requirements are often too stringent to meet, and removing a secured parking space can detract from your home’s value.


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Like wine cellars, saunas are specialty rooms that have limited appeal in the market, give you one less livable room, and can be expensive to maintain. If you have uncontrolled high blood pressure and heart disease, Havard also reveals that they can be harmful to your health.

Designer Light Fixtures

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Designer fixtures’ trendy designs can quickly go out of fashion, and your personalized taste may not sit well with many buyers, either. The worst part is that you pay more for fixtures that don’t have any positive effect on the functionality of the lighting, reducing your ROI if you intend to sell.

Wine Cellars

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A wine cellar is a specialty room that’s only enticing to people who are as enthusiastic about alcoholic beverages as you are – this can be hard to find. Installation can also be expensive and very technical. In addition to having one less livable space, you’ll hardly get any aesthetic return on investment from them.

Expensive Window Treatments

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New window treatments should only be an option if you’re going to use them for more than three years. Why? Well, that’s because they don’t give you a complete return on investment, and expensive, high-end drapery and blinds make this even worse. The specific styles of custom treatments may also not fit the tastes of prospective buyers.

Outdoor Kitchens

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You need extensions for outdoor kitchens and the right weather conditions. On the one hand, you’ll need to spend more time and money maintaining the applications and equipment installed, and on the other hand, you can’t use them all year round or even in all climates.

In-Ground Pools

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Many buyers skim past the idea of having a swimming pool, and Forbes summarizes the many reasons for this. “Especially in colder climate areas, trying to sell someone a long list of pool maintenance chores is a daunting task.” ROI is typically around 50%, and it’ll also be hard to sell to buyers looking for a functional backyard.

Geothermal Heating Systems

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The main concern about geothermal heating systems is the high upfront cost of installing them. Many people also have experiences where geothermal units don’t deliver heating properly, and this concern is worsened during colder months or for people in colder climates.

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