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5 Upgrades That Simply May Not Add Up if You are Planning to Sell Your Home Soon

When it comes to listing a property, I get plenty of questions from my clients that sound something like this:

“What renovations or repairs should I do to my home to get top dollar?” Or, “Will I get a higher price for my home if I put in new luxury vinyl plank flooring?”

Of course, the answer is never simple and honestly, the answer varies from home to home and neighborhood to neighborhood.

But today, I decided to flip the question on its head and ask, “What upgrades are unlikely to reap financial benefits if I plan to list my home soon?”

Although every home is different, it might be wise to think carefully before engaging in some of the following improvements if you are hoping to increase your home’s selling price:

Upgrade #1: State of the art utilities

Replacing pipes or wiring in your home? Great! It’s important to perform high quality repairs for infrastructure and you may opt for highest quality building materials. However, do not expect buyers to necessarily pay a premium on resale for these upgraded building materials. In fact, such materials might be an expectation for buyers rather than an upgrade. It’s important to get the repairs done safely and effectively, but high-end isn’t necessarily in your financial favor. Review your options carefully.

Upgrade #2: Extensive landscaping

Buyers love a well-maintained yard and it is an important feature for any newly listed home. However, because landscaping is highly dependent on personal preference, often a simple update with fresh flowers and sod may entice buyers just as effectively as a major landscape overhaul. For example, although you might enjoy having a water feature or a koi pond, prospective buyers might see it as a negative feature that will require constant upkeep and it may not be a cost-effective use of your money.

Upgrade #3: Backyard pool or hot tub.

If you decide to install a pool for your family to enjoy, by all means do so! Pools are great for kids, families and neighbors to enjoy getting to know each other and provide great exercise and fun. But remember, that some buyers see a pool as a money pit or a safety hazard for small children. If you decide to get a pool or hot tub in your backyard, make sure you are installing it for the right reasons and proceed cautiously. If you are adding a pool to increase the sale price of your home, spend the money elsewhere.

Upgrade #4: Trendy flooring and fixtures

Home interior trends change quickly. So, when choosing flooring, countertops, fixtures, and appliances, try to avoid the latest trends which may become dated quickly. Buyers appreciate a timeless look. Choose a neutral color palette and let the Buyer imagine herself living in the timeless, classic color scheme.

Upgrade #5: Solar panels

Solar panels are an outstanding way to cut down on energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint, but you may not recoup their value when you sell your home. In fact, some home sellers may be responsible for paying off the remaining balance on a payment plan before selling their home. Leased panels can become a pain point in sales negotiations as well. It’s important to make sure that you are installing solar panels because it is something you want to do and that it’s good for the earth, not because you think it will attract potential buyers.


If you are performing improvements for your own family to enjoy and a home sale is not on the horizon, by all means add solar panels and enjoy basking in the sun by your new pool. It’s simply important to be aware that certain home improvements may be less likely to reap financial benefits than others.

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Content by Forkas Home Team Walnut Creek Realtors

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