After you’ve bought your home and have all the boxes unpacked, most homeowners start thinking of their home’s unlimited potential.
In your walkthrough, you were likely picturing a remodelled bathroom, a wall taken down, or a finished basement. Once the place is yours, these renovations become an exciting first priority (and they should be!). That said, you need to use extreme caution, as there are many home renos that could cause your home value to decrease, even if it’s a change you might love.
Here are a few changes to mull over before putting the sledge through the wall:
Removing a bedroom to make yours larger
Want that king-size bed with plenty of room for a chaise? Just knock down the wall to combine that small bedroom with the master, right? Wrong.
Making a larger master bedroom may seem like a good idea—it makes the biggest bedroom bigger, meaning more functionality, space, and overall happiness. That happiness will disappear, though, when you go to sell the home in ten years and are one bedroom shy of finding a ton of potential buyers.
Long-story-short, bedrooms bring value. When people talk homes, they say the number of bedrooms first. It shows opportunity, versatility, and has innate financial worth. So, instead of tearing down that wall, just make your spare room a reading nook or office in which you can still be comfortable.
Converting your garage into living space
On the other hand, if you see your garage as unused space, you may be thinking of adding another bedroom, to make use of every square foot in your home. This is also a big problem.
Most homes with garages are in areas where commuting is a reality. While you may not make use of your garage, the next owner might have an extra vehicle, or be used to using the garage on a daily basis.
There is an alternative (that can be tricky to do): if the garage door is new and insulating, leave it on during your conversion. That way, the next owners can transition the room back into a garage, if they want. The more options you give potential buyers, the better.
Making a room too specific
We’ve all seen those mansions with bowling alleys in the basement or a yoga studio in the back. And those are terrific when you have ten other basic rooms to play with. In a typical family home, transforming a bedroom or your rec room into something more specific seems cool, but will limit your potential buyers in the future.
For example, if you’re a photographer, don’t change a bedroom into a dark room. There are only so many photographers out there searching for homes, and the chances of them finding yours and wanting an in-house dark room are beyond slim. Make practical renovations that suit your lifestyle without altering the basic fundamentals of the home.
I’m like the rest of you: I hate waking up in the morning and stepping down onto a freezing floor. (First-world problem, I know.) That’s why most bedrooms have wall-to-wall carpeting.
However, if your home has hardwood or concrete floors, covering them up semi-permanently could be a big mistake.
Carpet can look less expensive (and fast) and collects animal dander, thus making your home less appealing to some buyers. The better option is to refinish your floors and put down an area rug.
Over-landscaping your yard
Okay, I’m not saying don’t take care of your yard. Please take card of your yard.
But we all know those yards that are converted into a miniature Roman garden with statues, paths, stones, birdbaths, and bonsai trees. If you’re one of these over-landscapers, you should know that it’s all. too. much.
Prospective buyers will see this as an obstacle or a headache, something they’ll need to take care of before they can feel comfortable and settle in. Just like the points above, you’re limiting your options when you go to sell, unless you plan on converting your yard back to normal a season prior.
Introducing too much wallpaper
We all remember our grandma’s kitchen with that flowery wallpaper, right? (Or is that just me? It turns out that it might only be our grandmas who want wallpaper. The vast majority of homeowners don’t use wallpaper; when they do, it’s used sparingly.
A potential buyer doesn’t want to see room after room covered in wallpaper. Just like the crazy yard, wallpaper is seen as something that will have to be removed. And if there is more than one layer of wallpaper, or if the wallpaper has been there for a while, it can be understandably (and exhaustingly) difficult to remove, which could dissuade a buyer. Instead, paint your walls colours that suit you (without going nuts) so prospective buyers see the décor as something easily changeable.
The common thread
In case it’s not blatantly obvious, the theme in all of these points is to leave your home with plenty of options and no obstacles.
Of course it’s fine to decorate your home and make improvements, but just be certain that those changes aren’t going to be regrets down the road.