Remodeling Mistakes for Home Sellers to Avoid

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Real Estate

A Swimming Pool

Judy Dutton from advises against installing an in-ground pool due to its high cost (typically $30,000 to $60,000) and low return on investment. Pools are especially unpopular in cold regions with limited use and neighborhoods lacking similar amenities, as many buyers worry about safety, maintenance, and insurance costs.

Big-Ticket Appliances

Outdated appliances can deter buyers, but splurging on expensive upgrades can be just as problematic. For instance, showing a $30,000 oven in a one-bedroom apartment to a buyer planning minimal kitchen use highlighted excessive spending. Realtor Peter J. Rooney advises removing old appliances and offering a buyer allowance instead, a tactic often used by builders with success.

Built-In Tech

High-tech features that initially wow can quickly become outdated. Avoid built-in electronics and custom cabinetry that are hard to update, warns Moss.

Personal Details

While personal touches can add charm, overly unique features might deter potential buyers. Rooney recalls a home with a great master bedroom but struggled to rent due to an unconventional internal balcony. For a forever home, feel free to customize, but for resale, consider mainstream appeal.

 Lackluster Layouts

"Closets are a key selling feature," Rooney emphasizes, noting that buyers often lament insufficient storage. He suggests converting small adjacent rooms into walk-in closets for larger homes. Moss adds that empty-nesters prefer fewer, larger rooms with ample closet space, while second home buyers prioritize different features. Consulting local experts can help you cater to buyer preferences effectively.

Top-of-the-Line Tubs

Dutton suggests avoiding expensive luxury upgrades in bathrooms if you aim to recoup costs when selling. Instead, opt for budget-friendly options like re-glazing the tub for a fresh look, costing around $1,500.

Quirky Carpeting

Carpeting can be a tough sell, caution Rooney and Moss. Rooney recalls a property with new blue carpets that required a significant discount for buyers to replace with hardwood floors. Moss advises that while carpet is popular in bedrooms, color choice can limit buyer appeal.


When renovating or selling a home, prioritize timeless features with broad appeal to maximize market interest and potential resale value. Avoid overspending on trendy or niche upgrades that may not align with prospective buyers' preferences. Consulting local experts can provide valuable insights into what features are most desirable in your area.