Property renovations that provide the least returns

Renovating rundown houses is one of the most common and often most successful ways of making money on property.

But renovators beware! You want make sure your renovation ideas are money makers and some reno ideas are more successful than others.

Domain has released what it says are the nine worst home renovations in terms of returns gained.

Wine cellars and gyms

Love your wine and love staying in shape? It doesn’t necessarily mean buyers will be falling over themselves to buy your home with a gym and a wine cellar.

These features also take up a lot of floor space and are expensive to install.

Expensive trendy kitchens and bathrooms

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in renovations and properties for sale. You definitely want to have a slick, nice kitchen to make your home appealing.

As a renovator however, you might want to avoid super-expensive on-trend kitchens and bathrooms that might get the return on the big expenditure. You may even turn off buyers you have their own taste and style if you have pushed trend too far.

Swimming pools

In some suburbs a pool isn’t worth the investment. They do increase appeal but it might be a better idea to sell on the basis that your property has the potential for a pool if the buyer wants one.

Removing rooms

Reducing the number of accommodations in a property most often reduces its value. Also be careful not to expand space that cuts out a parking spot if you live in an area with limited parking.


It’s often bets to keep your sale property open to as many people as possible. Making renovations too personal by using striking paint schemes for example, will reduce the number of people interested and will reduce the sale price.

Quirky features

Similarly to over-personalisation, quirky features can be great for a specific few buyers, but if they don’t happen to be in the market at the time, they are wasted and a turn-off for other potential buyers.

Built-in wall units and bookcases

Any type of storage is good storage right? Wrong. Additional storage is always on buyers’ want list, but it’s built-in TV units and bookcases that aren’t…avoid. They take choice out of the buyers’ hands, make rooms smaller, become outdated and remind them of the previous owners.


Renovating the exterior of your property can have a negative impact if the style doesn’t fit in with the surrounding neighbourhood and could make the money spent a waste.

Renovating without approval

Trying to do renovations with council approval and getting caught means fines and huge expenses in fixing work that hasn’t had inspections.

If you need planning approval then you need to allow six months and $10,000 in approval fees.

Getting this wrong can turn your renovation dream into an expensive nightmare.


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