4 renovations that kill a home’s value

Read a [tag]home decorating[/tag] magazine or watch a [tag]cable-TV home improvement show[/tag], and you might easily conclude that any upgrade will pay off when you sell. Not so. Even in good times, not all projects have widespread appeal. You’ll earn back virtually your entire investment in a kitchen or deck, but less than 75 cents on the dollar if you add a home office or sunroom, according to “Remodeling” magazine’s annual cost vs. value survey. What’s worse, some renovations can even hurt you in the eyes of home buyers, a costly problem if you hope to sell in a softening market like today’s. Basic Home Remodeling: Home Improvement DVD

In some areas, especially hot-weather spots like Arizona and Florida, a pool is a must-have. In the Southwest, adding one boosts your home’s value by 11 percent on average, according to a National Association of Realtors study. But elsewhere it can just as easily turn off buyers, who worry about affording the upkeep and insurance. And if the most likely buyer of your home is a family with small children, think long and hard before installing a pool. “People with younger children may be leery of houses with pools for safety reasons,” says Barry Graziano, a real estate agent with Prudential Rand Realty in White Plains, N.Y. “I’ve had families walk away. A pool can cut down on the number of people who will want to buy your house.”

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