7 Home Improvements Sellers Wish They Never Made

When selling your home, it's wise to do some small, targeted home improvement projects.  A touch of something new here and there can do a lot for the way potential buyers see a home, so minor investments of a few hundred dollars each may add thousands to your asking price. Many of the best projects don't even take long to complete.

And then there are the ... "other" projects.

Selling your home can be a hectic time. If you let the stress get out of control – say, by not having a trusted real estate agent on your side – it can really influence your decision-making.  That might explain why so many sellers are attracted to costly and unsuccessful renovation projects. The idea that "bigger is better" can seem much more attractive when you're on a tight deadline and handling everything on your own. Most of the time, however, it's just not true.

Let's look at seven home improvements projects you might skip when selling your home:

  1. Ultra-Trendy Fixtures and Other Decor
    While it's a good idea to replace old light fixtures with shiny new ones, there's never any call to go bold when it comes to style. "New and neutral" should be your watchword when replacing things like doorknobs, faucets, light fixtures, and panels. A trendy new style won't necessarily appeal to the average buyer and could go out of date before your house even gets off the market.
  2. High-Tech Home of Tomorrow
    While smart home technology can be fun, the people using it today are still very much "early adopters." Updating your lighting, air conditioning, and other systems to respond to your phone may be fascinating, but it won't appeal to most buyers – especially older ones.
  3. A Guesthouse Worthy of Royalty
    A guesthouse is great ... if you have guests. Many people will find that they never use it. The plan to rent it out on Airbnb never materializes, either. That means buyers face the prospect of paying to cool, heat, light and maintain a space that they don't enjoy.
  4. An Olympic-Sized Swimming Pool
    While some people do consider a swimming pool to be the ultimate luxury, it won't charm every buyer. In particular, families with small children are often wary of pools. If you don't have a pool yet, don't add one! If you do, put up a fence to enhance safety.
  5. A Spa-Quality Bathroom
    A new bathroom can certainly make a strong impression. The problem comes in when you think about the huge costs associated with a new tub, a sink, a toilet, or even a quality tile floor. If you're going to make a larger investment, the kitchen is more likely to pay off.
  6. Wall-to-Wall Carpeting
    Updating your existing carpeting if it looks old may be a fine idea. Adding new carpet, however, can be a dead end. Hardwood and tile are attractive for their own reasons, and a home that's nothing but carpet can seem like a chore to clean. People with allergies may be turned off, too.
  7. High-Maintenance Landscaping and Water Features
    While a nice garden can be enticing, complex topiary or any other labor-intensive approach to the lawn is a definite "no." A healthy, well-maintained lawn will boost curb appeal, but keep it simple and straightforward. Otherwise, only green-thumbed gardeners will take an interest.

As you're selling your home, less is more. A real estate agent can advise you on the best ways to improve the market value of your property. That way, you make more on your sale and get to closing faster.