20 Home Renovations That Can End Up Costing You More

Written By Babatunde Sanni

Home renovation projects are expensive endeavors, and while some can leave you with an ROI that makes your investment worth it, others never deliver the expected returns. Here are 20 renovation projects that are known to leave homeowners with less value than they wanted.

Upscale Kitchen Overhaul

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Kitchen remodels are amazing projects to take on, as they generally increase the value of your home. However, spend too much on them and this benefit goes away. Zillow shares that upscale kitchen remodels have an ROI of only 56%, costing an average of $127,000 too.

Bathroom Remodel

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When bringing your bathroom back to crisp condition, you may not initially take hidden costs like water damage repair and plumbing upgrades into consideration. And, in the end, you end up spending tens of thousands of dollars. The worst part? The New York Times tells us that these remodels only come with an ROI of about 60%.

High-End Landscaping

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Upgrading your outdoor space with intricate landscaping, water features, and exotic plants can be incredibly expensive. Maintenance costs also add up over time, making it a continual financial commitment. It’s easy to exceed your budget with such elaborate plans, although with a more manageable typical ROI of around 83%​.

Room Additions

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Room additions are some of the most expensive home improvement projects, and they’re stressful too. You spend money on structural changes, electric work, and HVAC systems, and you also go through hectic processes to get permits. In the end, you’re left with an ROI of only 50% to 60%.

Basement Conversion

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When you convert a basement into a living space, you engage in extensive work, including waterproofing, insulation, and installing egress windows. Unexpected issues like mold or foundation cracks can further inflate costs, and this renovation, offering about an 86% ROI, often becomes more expensive than initially projected​​.

Attic Transformation

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Turning an attic into a usable space requires significant investment in insulation, ventilation, and structural support. Additional expenses for staircases and skylights can add up quickly. And you’re eventually left with an average ROI of 75% as well as final costs that often far exceed your initial estimates​.

Swimming Pool Installation

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Installing a swimming pool involves not only the initial construction costs but also ongoing maintenance, repairs, and higher utility bills. While pools can add value, the ROI is typically low, often only around 7% in certain areas, making it a long-term financial drain​. This result is almost always sealed if you have your house situated somewhere with a cold climate.

Luxury Flooring

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It can also be costly to upgrade to high-end flooring, such as hardwood or natural stone. The price of materials, professional installation, and potential subfloor repairs add up quickly too. In the end, expect an ROI of 65%, or something much closer to 100% if you DIY the installations.

Custom Windows

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Custom windows enhance aesthetics and energy efficiency but come with a hefty price tag. Measurements, manufacturing, and specialized installation can significantly drive up costs. Many homeowners find themselves spending much more than planned, with an ROI often around 60%​, according to Fixr​.

Roof Replacement

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Replacing a roof is a substantial investment that can become even more costly with unforeseen issues like structural damage or water leaks. High-quality materials and professional labor add to the expense, and these make it more of a major financial undertaking with an ROI of approximately 60%​.

Foundation Repairs

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Foundation problems are essential for your home’s structural stability; however, projects here often involve extensive work and high costs. Excavation, underpinning, and waterproofing can lead to skyrocketing expenses, and you only have an ROI of about 50% to show for it. Sadly, despite how financially draining it may be, it’s one of those projects we can’t push aside.

Home Automation Systems

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Integrating smart home technology can be an attractive upgrade, but the cost of devices, installation, and potential system updates adds up quickly. It also requires ongoing investment to keep up with advancing technology, and these make it a more expensive choice with around 50% ROI​.

Exterior Painting

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When you take on a project like painting the exterior of your home, it can seem simple. But high-quality paint, surface preparation, and professional labor can surprisingly dig deep into your pockets. Weather conditions and surface repairs further increase the overall expense, and you only get an ROI of about 55%.

High-End Appliances

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Upgrading to luxury appliances promises better performance and aesthetics but comes with high upfront costs and potential installation fees. Repair and maintenance costs for high-end brands can also be significantly higher than standard appliances, and these typically come with an ROI of about 52%​.

Garage Conversion

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It also requires substantial investment in insulation, flooring, and HVAC systems to transform a garage into a living space. Compliance with building codes and permits adds to the complexity and cost, and the final bill can easily get much higher than anticipated. Although not as low as many on our list, you still lose on the 80% ROI Realtor says you get here.

Energy-Efficient Upgrades

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Investing in energy-efficient windows, solar panels, and insulation upgrades aims to reduce utility bills but involves significant upfront costs. Installation and potential structural adjustments further increase expenses, with an average ROI of about 60%​​. Thankfully, like we said, you can find solace in your long-term savings with these.

Open Floor Plan

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You’ll also need to make structural changes, electrical work, and possible HVAC adjustments when you create an open floor plan by removing walls. These modifications often uncover hidden issues that drive up costs, turning a seemingly simple project into an expensive endeavor with an ROI of only about 50%​.

Home Office

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Building a home office requires more than just a desk and chair; electrical outlets, internet connectivity, and adequate lighting must be considered. Custom furniture and built-in shelving further add to the cost, making it an unexpectedly pricey project, and you get an ROI of only about 48%.

Driveway Replacement

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Replacing a driveway is a major project that involves excavation, materials, and professional labor. Unexpected issues like drainage problems can add complexity and cost, and we see many homeowners surprised by the final bill for this renovation, which sadly also has an ROI of about 50%​​.

Custom Cabinetry

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Custom cabinets provide a personalized touch to your kitchen or other functional spaces, but they also come with a high price tag. The cost of materials, design, and skilled labor adds up quickly. And homeowners, along with often finding themselves spending more than they initially planned, are left with an ROI of around 58%​.

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