5 Awesome Renovation Projects that Probably Won't Add Value to Your Home

Is your tax return burning a hole in your pocket? Adding creative, whimsical additions to your house might seem like a great idea to increase equity. But when it comes time to sell, a potential home buyer might not be willing to pay for a non-traditional improvement. Think about it, Bruce Wayne’s bat cave was a perfect addition for him. But another family might have a heck of a time converting that space back to a wine cellar. Here are a few things you might love that might not be worth it to potential buyers:

Outdoor kitchen

An outdoor kitchen seems like a dream come true. But an outdoor kitchen means a lot more maintenance. If you have cold winters, you’ll need to keep the pipes from freezing and the stone from cracking. And in the spring, you’ll have a constant battle to keep pollen off all your cooking surfaces. The truth is, an outdoor kitchen can be a great space for entertaining and extending your living space outside. But unless your home buyer is a professional chef or a master griller who craves the outdoors, your extra kitchen probably isn’t going to bump the property value up that much. It might even deter first time home buyers who aren’t willing to put up with the extra maintenance. Also? That built-in frozen margarita machine? Super fun, for sure, but probably not a great idea. (But if you decide to do it anyway, call us. We'll bring the guacamole!)

Swimming pond 

Swimming ponds are chemical-free pools that are designed to look like part of the landscape. They’re beautiful, unique, and a great way to relax during the warm months. But they’re also an insurance nightmare. There are a ton of things your homeowner's insurance is going to ask you to do to make your pool safer. And once your gate is up, your alarms are on, and your rocks have anti-slip paint on them, no one’s going to mistake your swimming hole for a natural part of the landscape. When you try to sell, a lot of home buyers are going to either avoid your house or ask you to fill in the pond so they don’t have to deal with the liability.

Secret room (aka Bat Cave)

A secret room sounds like a great play space for the kids. And be honest, you want to feel a little like a secret agent when you pull down that candlestick door handle. But when you try to sell and your home buyer is probably going to expect to be able to use all of the house’s square footage, without having to enter a room through the bookcase. On the other hand? True Story: I know a woman who bought a house, was completely satisfied with it as it was and found the room behind the bookcase after she moved in. She never told the kids, and put all of her sewing materials in there. She also set up a large jigsaw puzzle, which she enjoyed doing to relieve stress, and the kids never knew. Brilliant. Just make sure your home buyers know the room is there.

Bunk bedroom

This is another one that’s fun for the kids, but not so much for your property value. We’re talking built-in bunk beds, ones that can't be easily removed. But if you choose to build in several bunk beds for a whimsical kids or guest room, a potential home buyer might not be quite as charmed as you were. They’ll either be stuck with a room that has a lot more beds than they need, or they’ll be forced to remodel. As tempting as it may be to recreate a camp-type atmosphere in your home, remember that the kids will grow out of it, buyers might hate it, and you might be just as happy with movable bunks.


A moat is likely to have most of the same homeowner's insurance issues as a pool. But whereas a pool might help you make friends with the neighbors, a moat just says “stay away." Besides, think of the cost of the drawbridge installation. The upside? You could have the coolest house at Halloween. And you could turn it into a lazy river with your next tax return. A moat is spooky and unfriendly, but a lazy river is awesome! Just throw in a few tubes to let neighbors know the river is open.

Have you ever made an improvement on your home that was just for you? Not every renovation is designed to increase resale value. Some of them are just for personal happiness!