21 Projects That Will Actually Hurt Your Home’s Resale Value

Updated: Jun. 27, 2024

While some projects instantly increase resale value, others can cost you in the long run. Check out these projects that may hurt your home's resale value.

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Luxury Bathroom

Although an upgraded bathroom can add value to your home, steer clear of going too high-end if you’re planning on selling soon.

That freestanding or whirlpool tub may be your pride and joy, but a buyer may see it as a waste of space, according to Realtor.com. Overly opulent bathrooms definitely fit in the category of projects that will actually hurt your home’s resale value.

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Bold or Dark Paint Color

While you may be tempted to go bold with a paint color, it’s best to play it safe if you’re getting ready to sell.

According to Zillow, dark colors may leave buyers cold. Instead, go with neutral and lighter tones that won’t bother potential buyers or hurt your home’s value. Choose the right colors with this paint color guide.

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dfh17sep044-10-1200x1200 glass bathroom tile

Tacky Tile

Tile can add value to your home if it’s an on-trend style that’s installed correctly and there aren’t outdated materials in other rooms. While experts agree that hard surfaces improve your home’s appeal and add more value than carpets, room-to-room consistency rates just as high, according to HomeLight.

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Young couple painting walls in their new house, do it yourself concept
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Low Quality Paint

Streaky, chipped or low quality paint can make a home look cheap and unfinished. It will certainly turn some of the more picky buyers away. So when repainting walls or ceilings within your home, make sure you buy a high quality paint.

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Too Much Wallpaper

Buyers may accept some trendy wallpaper in your powder room or on an accent wall, but don’t go overboard. According to MSN, too much wallpaper and texture can be overwhelming to some home buyers who see it as just another project to add to the list if they buy your home.

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Over-Done Kitchen

Buyers want an upgraded kitchen, but renovating your kitchen high-end won’t guarantee you’ll get your money back when it’s time to sell. A major kitchen remodel typically returns about 59 percent of your investment, according to a CNBC report. Instead, focus on the most worn or dated parts of the kitchen, such as flooring and countertops, and go for mid-range appliances if they need of an upgrade.

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FH06JUN_469_05_004 layers of flooring carpet
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Carpet, Carpet Everywhere

New carpet can be an inexpensive upgrade if you’re planning to sell, but hardwood offers more bang for your buck in resale value. That’s because, according to Realtor.com, home buyers prefer hardwood. Buyers with allergies tend to look for hardwood because it doesn’t harbor dust like carpet does.

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Paneled Panache bedroom wall

Huge Bedrooms

You may like big bedrooms, but that doesn’t mean potential buyers will. If you combine two small bedrooms to make one big bedroom, you may turn off buyers looking for more bedrooms to accommodate a growing family. Homes with more bedrooms, according to Realtor.com, can usually command higher prices.

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popcorn ceiling

Textured Ceilings and Walls

Fancy, textured ceilings and walls may seem like a simple way to make a room stand out. But if buyers don’t like the texture, they may set their sights on another home with a smaller refurbishing list. Most people consider popcorn texture on a ceiling outdated. Instead, stick with textured accessories and decor.

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screen porch after

Three-Season Porch/Sunroom

Remodeling Magazine notes the cost of the average sunroom runs about $70,000, yet the resale returns a little more than $33,000 to the homeowner. That’s not much of a return. A sunroom can add lots of enjoyment to your home if you plan on staying there for several years, but it’s not worth the cost if you plan on selling soon. Find out the difference between a sunroom and screened porch.

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reader built home theater steps

Home Theater

Just because you’re a movie buff doesn’t mean potential buyers share your enthusiasm. The investment required for an in-house theater and all its related electronics evaporates when a buyer sees it as a waste of space. If you’re into tech, when you sell Digital Trends says you should go with upgrades with broader appeal, such as smart thermostats and security systems.

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Garage Conversion

Some convert their garages to a home gym. Some may turn the space into a family room or even a game room. But if you’re selling, buyers may put higher value on a garage over extra living space.

Experts on Realtor.com note certain markets put much higher value on garage space, so a home without a garage becomes much harder to sell. Plus, depending on where you live, there may be tight restrictions on converting garages to living spaces.

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bathtub removal
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Removing a Bathtub

If you’re remodeling the bathroom, think twice before you remove a bathtub. While you may value a walk-in shower over a tub, buyers with families will likely still want a bathtub. Realtors suggest you can remove a bathtub as long as there’s one in a second bathroom.

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New Roof

While a leaky roof may present a problem for buyers, many real estate agents say a new roof is seen as more of a maintenance issue rather than a remodeling project that increases value.

A 2020 market survey by Remodeling Magazine estimates a new roof increases home value by about $16,287. But agents suggest looking at it this way: If you didn’t redo the roof, how much would you discount your sale price to entice buyers.

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Solar Panels

Solar energy installations have dropped in price significantly in recent years and their value to prospective buyers keeps rising. However, that does not mean you will cash out by installing them.

Quicken Loans reports that contract terms on installations vary. That can saddle your property with a lien or other obligations that may cause mortgage companies to back away. Although the market is moving to embrace homes equipped with solar panels, boosting home value may not yet be the primary reason for installing them.

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Over-the-Top Landscaping

Not all landscaping is created equal. While you may see a lot of native plants and an extensive vegetable garden as a selling point, buyers may see them as a lot of work and upkeep. Realtor.com notes that to get the most value from your landscaping at selling time, keep it tidy and simple with easy-to-care for flowers, plants and trees.

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Backyard Pool

The high cost of pools does not end after installation. Routine maintenance also is expensive. A Kiplinger report shows the average expense to maintain a standard 14-ft. x 28-ft. pool is $177 a week, which doesn’t include repairs and insurance it may require. That additional expense can turn off buyers.

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All About Space/Shutterstock

Closet Removal

Beware of the consequences before you take out a closet to expand a bedroom. Michele Silverman Bedell, a chief executive at a residential real estate agency in New York, noted she had a client remove the closet from the master bedroom. That made the home much harder to sell.

“People need closets,” she told MarketWatch. “They’ll walk in and count the number of closets per room.”

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FH02NOV_02733_029 home office renovation
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Home Office

While more people are working from home, consider how much money you put into that home office if you’re planning on selling soon. Unfortunately, sellers on average only recouped about 55 percent of their remodeling expenses at resale, according to Remodeling Magazine.

Bottom line: Make sure you can easily convert your home office back into a bedroom.

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Zastolskiy Victor/Shutterstock


Buyers may be dazzled by the fish and coral in a built-in aquarium, but they likely won’t see added value. Instead, they’ll just see maintenance costs. A quick search online shows the cost of just installing a built-in aquarium can be thousands of dollars, not including fish and upkeep.

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hot tub
Nadezda Murmakova/Shutterstock

Hot Tub

Buyers tend to see hot tubs like swimming pools when it comes to resale value —  a costly maintenance issue. While you may associate it with relaxation, don’t be surprised if buyers want you to get rid of it before they sign on the dotted line.