AusFinance Gazette

These renovations should be avoided if you want to add value to your property

I know what you’re thinking. It’s starting to get hot again. There’s definitely enough room in the yard for it, and you’ll use it all summer. But before you go excavating a pool-sized hole in your lawn, you might want to keep reading.

Not every renovation project is a good idea, and even fewer guarantee you’ll see a greater return than what you put in. While last week we covered the best projects to plump up a price tag (remodelling the kitchen, renovating the bathroom, and laying new wooden flooring), this week we’re looking at the renovations that will add the least value—or in some cases, even reduce the value of a property altogether.

Installing a Pool

Everybody loves pools until they own one. Once you do, you’ll understand why all your friends were so excited about the prospect and keep blowing up the group chat with water emojis you swore used to mean something else. Pools are a lot of work. They are expensive to install, and both costly and time consuming to maintain. The upkeep never ends, even when summer does. And for some buyers with young children, they also present a possible safety hazard.

In Australia, fibreglass pools cost anywhere between $20k-40k to install, while concrete pools draw an average price tag of $50,000. It’s estimated that most homeowners only recoup around 40-50% of that cost at best, making it the kind of addition that will impress few potential buyers but deter many.

Master Bedroom Remodel

Transforming a mid-range bedroom into a spacious master suite is one of the most expensive renovations you can make. It also usually involves pinching space from an adjoining room to increase the size of the master bedroom and make room for an en suite. So while your luxurious sleeping quarters look fit for a king, the second bedroom now presents as a broom closet. If you weren’t really using the space you sacrificed then it’s no big deal, but it might be to a future buyer, particularly if they have a family and need all the space they can get.

Additionally, a potential buyer might not appreciate your taste in bathroom tiling or find the high-end fixtures clash with the rest of the home—both issues that can be expensive to fix. Depending on how deluxe you go and how extensive the renovations are, a master bedroom remodel can set you back well over $100k without adding much, if any, extra value to your property.

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Upscale landscaping

It’s one thing to keep the grass cut, but quite another to keep a patio full of rare and exotic plants alive. A well-considered landscape project can actually increase the value of your home, but a poorly planned garden can do the opposite—even if it looks good. Taste and upkeep are two of the biggest factors you need to consider when investing in luxe landscaping. Firstly, spending tens of thousands of dollars to make your back patio resemble your favourite holiday villa in Bali might fulfil your dreams, but future buyers could prefer an entirely different aesthetic.

Steer away from distinct or personal themes, and instead opt for a clean and modern vibe. Upkeep-wise, not everyone has the time, patience, or interest in spending hours a week tending to high-maintenance hedges and flowerbeds. One of the biggest mistakes some people make when embarking on a landscaping renovation is splurging on flowers and plants that are completely unsuitable for Australia’s hot and dry climate. There’s also our ever-changing water-restrictions to take into account—last summer, during the peak of NSW’s drought, councils reportedly received a flood of exception requests from nervous property owners desperate to keep their expensive gardens alive.

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