No Bang for Your Buck-the Biggest Home Remodel Money-Wasters!

When you are setting out to remodel, improve or upgrade your Mesa home, you do it for one, because you want to and it suits your style and needs, and because you hope that eventually it will pay off. Paying off means that if you were to sell your home at some point in the future you will get a nice financial return on your investment.

Sadly, many homeowners are totally clueless what makes for a sensible remodel that is going to be worth it and which remodel is just going to cost them down the road. If you are looking to get the most bang for your investment buck, you should avoid certain remodeling projects.

biggest home remodel money-wasters

Here is our top list of expensive home improvements that aren’t worth it:

Home Office

When we are talking about a home office remodel, we mean a full decked out home office, not just the addition of a desk and a new coat of paint. Often homeowners who are working from home feel the need to create and actual office vibe in their office, because it makes them feel more official and more productive. However, a home office remodel can include such extras as rewiring, super durable commercial type carpet, expensive built ins and much more. A home office remodel that costs about $30,000 is expected to have a return of a little less than 50%. A home office will never be a draw for a potential buyer to jump on a home, it is just not as exciting as a swimming pool, modern kitchen or maybe even a movie room would be. Plus as a space that reflects personal style and needs, the home office may not be as neutral as you may think. So unless you are planning on staying in your Mesa home for a really long time or don’t care about a return on your investment, you probably shouldn’t go crazy with a home office upgrade and or remodel.

Luxury Master Suite

Often, we see spectacular master suites on TV with stunning layouts, oodles of space and dreamy additions such as a high end (gas) fireplace, hotel/spa style bathroom with dual showers, exclusive materials, a jetted tub and maybe even a kitchenette. While all this makes perfect sense in a hotel, you probably don’t need it in your home. At least not if you expect it to fetch a decent return when you are trying to sell your home.
The only way that you may be able to recover around 70% of your investment is if you live in a neighborhood where home prices are already in the range of $1,000,000. If you live in a “regular” neighborhood, you might be better off with an upgrade of your master bedroom instead of an “extreme” makeover. Leave the floorplan as is, but have some luxurious carpet installed, update your closets for utility and with a sleek look, and you can always upgrade your master bath with a nice double sink, recessed lighting and classy faucets. While a full out remodel might be a bit too much of a good thing, a well thought out upgrade can very well be worth the money spent on it.

New Bathroom Addition

This sounds like a sound plan. Maybe you feel that an extra bathroom could help with your family’s time management in the morning, but if you have to add onto your existing home and its floor plan, this can quickly turn in a rather expensive extra. By creating an addition, the roof has to be extended and the foundation as well. But it will also need outside walls, piping and more. Therefore even a smallish bathroom can easily add up to costing you around $40,000 and get you a 60ish % return on your investment. While you may feel that 60% isn’t that bad, it means that if you spend $40,000 on your Mesa bathroom addition, your future buyer will (if you are lucky) $24,000 for it. That is $16,000 “wasted”.

If you are planning on adding to your home, think about adding more rooms than just the bathroom. That way the investment is distributed across the rooms and makes much more sense. The cheapest way would be to turn an existing room into a bathroom, or not add one at all.


While having a pool in Arizona is a great thing to have, some buyers are turned off by it and even those that aren’t won’t make you back your investment. Families with small children may be turned off by the pool and rather use a Las Sendas community pool, for example. Also upkeep of a pool such as chemicals, power and regular maintenance can be quite pricey. It really is hit or miss if you pool is going to be worth it.

Addition and Luxury

home remodel money-wasters in arizonaAny improvement that includes the terms “addition” and “luxury” will never get you the return on investment you dream off. Additions by virtue of their name require adding to the foundation, extending the roof, permits, new walls and much more. And regardless if you build a luxury master suite or kitchen, overimproving can be a real sales killer, especially if it puts your home out of league with what other houses in your neighborhood have to offer. When upgrading your home, make sure you are still within the scope of the neighborhood. When our Coldwell Banker North East Mesa brokers help sell homes, we know that the buyers will check neighborhood comps and the most expensive house on the block, always sells last. That is, if it sells at all.

All that being said, remodel your home as you please, if you don’t care about a good return or are not planning on ever selling your home. Otherwise, take a step back and don’t rush into it. Talk to some trusted local contracting professionals and gather some ideas from your neighbors to gauge what would be a wise upgrade or investment.

If you are looking to buy or sell or even upgrade your home, contact us today. Our realtors would be happy to help you with our experience and insights in the local Mesa real estate market.

Published By:

Coldwell Banker Trails and Paths
2913 N Power Rd. Suite 101
Mesa, AZ 85215

Office: (480) 355-4700

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