Home Renovations That Aren’t Worth the Investment

Whether investing in small projects with a Des Moines handyman, or going all-in on a whole home remodel, value is key. You should look for value both in terms of what you end up paying, and in what you can get back if you ever put your home on the market.

There are times when it can make sense to splash out on renovations that are unique and personal. However, if you are improving your home on a strict budget, there are specific features and concepts that you might want to avoid.

Here are four areas of renovation and home remodeling that typically return little value at resale.

A Purpose-Designed Media Room

While a media room might sound like the perfect home remodeling project for film and music lovers, it might just look like wasted space when your home goes on the market. If you plan to sell at any time in the near future, this is one of the projects that should be avoided.

Home buyers look for functionality first. A media room can be the perfect place to relax and entertain, but for a growing family, it won’t make a lot of sense. This room will become even less attractive if you sacrifice a bedroom to build it.

If you plan to live in your home for life, then, sure, this could be a great project to plan and execute. However, for 90% of families, it’s a luxury that won’t provide any meaningful return.

A Smart Kitchen Remodel

Kitchens are the most commonly renovated and remodeled spaces in modern homes. If you plan a kitchen right, you could get almost all your investment back at resale. However, there are many features that will add cost without giving you anything in return.

Appliances are the biggest risk in terms of wasted budget. Smart refrigerators, dishwashers, and even ovens might seem like great ideas today, but you risk spending up to $10,000 or even more for appliances that will be dated within five years.

Smart technology is no doubt impressive, and it can make life easier. However, it’s in its infancy, and this means that the devices you buy today will be outdated by the time you sell your home. Traditional appliances won’t make your kitchen feel dated. Smart refrigerators and other devices will.

A valuation on your home won’t take smart appliances into account. Modern appliances, whether smart or not, are effectively the same things to an assessor. These appliances will be bonus features for buyers, but they won’t command resale value.

Keep your appliances traditional and invest more in lasting features like cabinets, flooring, and countertops.

Extensive Smart Security Features

Home security is another area where going smart isn’t as good as it sounds. There are countless smart security products on the market today. The sad reality is that 90% of them are gimmicks. Do you really need wi-fi connected smart sensors on every window and door of your home? A high quality security system with standard sensors, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide sensors near gas appliances are all that most homes need.

There are even traditional security features that are mostly unnecessary, and irrelevant on the resale market. A panic room, hidden storage rooms, and similar features are great… for roughly 1% of the home buying market.

Home Renovations Focused on Niche Interests

Features based on niche interests will almost never provide a return at resale. You could have Des Moines contractors build integrated racks into a wine cellar in your basement, but they’re only going to be useful for buyers with a collection as big as yours.

A home library with integrated cabinets and shelves is another example of a niche improvement that will only attract a specific type of home buyer.

You should love your home and the features that are in it. Personalization is a big part of home renovation. However, if your end goal is to sell and move up, it’s best to avoid the projects that won’t appeal to the average buyer.

Plan a Better Home the Right Way

While there are no hard rules to home remodeling and renovation, there are steps you can take to ensure that your project remains within budget. Informed decisions will ensure that you spend only what you can afford, with a focus on comfort, beauty, and long term value.

HomeWorx Iowa is the place to start if you want to plan better projects that focus on value and marketability. From the smallest changes to full scale renovation and remodeling, we can manage your project from end to end.

Get help with design ideas, budgeting, material selection, and then have expert contractors come through to complete the job. Get the full potential from your home by talking to the premier Des Moines home renovation company.

A Guide to Home Renovation and Remodeling Terms

Home renovation and remodeling is an exciting process. From designing a kitchen remodel to choosing the perfect bathroom flooring, you’ll learn a lot along the way. Despite the excitement, many aspects of the process can seem intimidating at first. Even the terms used in the renovation industry can be confusing at times.

Plan a better whole house renovation by knowing exactly what you’re talking about. By learning common industry terms, you’ll be better able to communicate with contractors to get the results that you want.

Here are the most important home renovation terms and what they mean.


For any significant home remodeling Des Moines, blueprints will be required. These documents are produced by architects and engineers to illustrate the underlying plan for a remodel. These are technical documents and highly detailed, featuring dimensions, materials, and the geometry of your improvements.

Accurate and detailed blueprints will ensure that your finished project comes out exactly as intended.

3D Modeling

Before you get to the blueprints, you’ll need to settle on a design. You can work closely with home renovation and remodeling experts to explore different concepts for your improvements. Visualizing these improvements was once difficult, and relied on physically comparing varied materials, photographs of similar builds, and artist impressions.

3D modeling is the evolution of that process. Home designers and architects can now produce highly detailed computer models so that you can see changes almost as soon as they are conceptualized. The technology reduces the time and cost that it takes to design home improvements.

Building Inspector

Some improvements will require permits and approval before work can commence. A building inspector works for the city government, and reviews blueprints to ensure that remodeling Des Moines is in line with existing building codes and other regulations. A building inspector will also review completed work.

Not every job requires a permit. Smaller home improvements that don’t change the structure, wiring, or plumbing, can usually be completed without bringing a building inspector into the project. If you do need any permits, the best Des Moines contractors will take care of the paperwork for you.

Home Footprint

The footprint of your home is the actual area it takes up on the ground. Think of it as the top down dimensions of your home, including the main structure, attached garage, and porches or decks etc.

Some Des Moines remodeling projects will require a change to the house footprint. A larger footprint usually means having more functional living space, so you could potentially increase the value of your home.

Keep in mind that the footprint is different to the functional square footage of your home. I.e., a two story home will have more actual floorspace than its footprint.

In most jurisdictions, the footprint only relates to areas that are covered by roofing. Decking and other features may not be calculated in the footprint of a home.


While this term might sound drastic, in most cases the actual demolition work will be quite tame. Demolition simply relates to any process where existing structure or materials will be removed. If contractors pull up an old floor in your bathroom, this will be considered demolition. If you remove a kitchen wall to open your living space, this is also considered demolition.

This process clears space for renovations or remodeling to begin. It’s one of the earliest stages of any project. The exact amount of demolition required will be relative to the improvements that you have planned.

General Contractor

The general contractor is the primary point of contact who is responsible for overseeing the entire remodeling or renovation process. In most cases, the general contractor will take on the role of project manager.

The best general contractors will be experts in construction and renovation. They also need to possess strong organization and communication skills. Choosing and vetting a general contractor is one of the most important things you will do when beginning home renovation or remodeling.


While a general contractor may perform some of the physical work on site, most tasks will be carried out by subcontractors. These are specialty contractors who are hired to perform a specific function. Plumbers and electricians are examples of subcontractors.

When working with a full-service home improvement company you won’t need to hire subcontractors directly. Your general contractor will choose the most suitable professionals based on the work that needs to be performed.


This term relates to any professional that has specialized in a trade. Roofing, tiling, flooring, and drywall tradespeople are common on home remodeling and renovation projects. They are hired as subcontractors to work on your home.


Every home needs a strong footing to ensure that it will last for generations. Footing is the base structure of a home foundation. It is a large mass of reinforced concrete that prevents movement of the completed structure. Any significant additions to your home will need reinforced footing.

This is the first element of the load bearing structure.

Load Bearing

Load bearing is a term used to describe any part of a structure that supports the weight of overlying parts. Footing is the first element, followed by the rest of the foundation. Other load bearing elements can include pillars, beams, and walls.

Load bearing elements need to be carefully considered when planning remodeling Des Moines. Major structural changes or additions will need to be considered carefully in terms of the load bearing elements that they will require, and how they might affect elements that are already in place.

Design Build Company

When a home renovation, remodeling, or construction company is design build, it means that it handles everything from design and architecture, right through to the physical work. As a homeowner, it’s always beneficial to work with a design build company, because you will deal with a single point of contact throughout every stage of the project.

This makes for a more convenient remodel or renovation, and it can also ensure that costs are kept low through consolidation and close management of different services.

Gutting a Room

Some projects will call for the gutting of a room. This simply refers to the process of removing everything inside the room, right down to the framing and subfloor.


Flooring replacement is a popular home renovation project in Des Moines and throughout America. What some homeowners don’t realize is that there’s an entire subfloor beneath the materials that you actually see. The subfloor is mounted directly to the joists, and it ensures stability of the final flooring material. You may need to replace the subfloor on some projects if it has deteriorated or become water damaged.


Finishing is a process that converts any space into usable living area with walls, floors, and a ceiling. Basement finishing is the most popular type, although its also common to finish attics, garages, and even garden sheds.

Finishing is a valuable home improvement because it can give you more space for an expanding family. Finishing could also increase the value of your home.


Here’s a term that usually stumps homeowners when it is seen on an invoice or work order. R&R simply refers to remove and replace. If your plan a kitchen remodel, then the R&R would cover the removal and replacement of cabinets, fixtures, hardware, appliances and other features.


Some home improvement projects are relatively simple and low cost. When retrofitting is an option, you will usually be able to minimize your renovation bill. Retrofitting is the process of directly replacing a feature with a more modern solution. Installing direct replacement windows is a form of retrofitting. Installing a new air conditioner but retaining the same ducting system is also a form of retrofitting.

Retrofitting is also seen when upgrading plumbing. If you have older pipes that are worn and in need of replacement, you could have a contractor retrofit new ones without actually changing the basic design or layout of your system.

HVAC System

Has your contractor recommended that you upgrade or replace your HVAC system? Homeowners rarely use this acronym, but it is common throughout commercial and industrial environments. It refers to Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. If you have a mini split system at home, it’s a type of HVAC system. Furnaces and air conditioners are HVAC systems too.

Extensions to your home could require additions, such as ducting installation. If your unit is incorrectly sized for your home, then it may need to be replaced. Older HVAC systems can be replaced with more modern ones to improve efficiency and comfort. While a new HVAC system might seem like a costly investment, you could actually save money over the lifetime of your home by choosing a system that uses less energy.

Plan a Successful Home Renovation or Remodel

You know the jargon, now it’s time to talk to professionals in the industry and build your dream home. You can turn run down or outdated living spaces into ones that you’ll be proud of. For a home that matters, you can work with expert contractors at HomeWorx Iowa.

We are a complete design build home renovation and remodeling company, covering everything from the smallest odd jobs, right up to large home improvement projects. We manage your project from planning and design, all the way through to installation and modification.

Contact us today to start exploring your options. You deserve the best home possible, and the team at HomeWorx can turn your concepts into reality.

How Does a Finished Garage Change Your Home Value?

With home remodeling, the addition of new living spaces can transform the way that you see your house. Similar to basement finishing, a finished garage can give you a new bedroom, a studio to work in, or even a secondary living room, games room, or mancave.

If your home just doesn’t feel big enough, then finishing your garage could be the most cost effective home remodeling option. You won’t need to add an extension, because you’ll already have space and a structure to work with.

One thing that could influence your decision is whether a finished garage will add value. This will depend on several factors, all of which are unique to your home. Before you invest in your next project, learn how a finished garage could change your floor plan, the function of your home, and even the practicality of it.

Are You Willing to Sacrifice Parking Space for a Garage Finishing Home Remodel?

Most realtors find that even a small single car garage can add at least $5,000 to a home’s value in the average neighborhood. If you live someplace where parking is limited, then a single garage could be particularly attractive to buyers. It won’t always be about the total valuation. Simply having a garage could make your home competitive with similarly priced listings that one.

This is something you’ll need to think about before you start home remodeling. If you take away your off-street parking, then you could make your home less attractive when you sell in the future.

If you have a larger garage, then consider finishing some of the space while leaving at least the functionality of a single car garage.

Lack Living Space in Your Standard Floor Plan?

A lack of living space can slash up to 25% off your expected home valuation. Modern house are open and spacious. If you have an older home that lacks large living areas, then buyers simply won’t be interested once you list on the market.

With a home remodeling project that finishes your garage, you could take back some of that 25% and make your home more competitive with newer builds. Try adding a large games room, living room, or den. Include a bathroom in your garage and you’ll make the space even more inviting for potential buyers.

Is Your Garage Detached or Attached?

This point really matters. With a detached garage, you could easily create a self-contained unit for your teenager, or a guest house for family and friends who visit during the year. An attached garage would be more suited to a new bedroom, or a family living space.

There will be a few things to consider if you are converting a detached garage. You’ll need to make it feel like part of the house, which will mean adding a covered walkway if you don’t already have one. Try to incorporate materials that allow for a unified look and feel. Your finished garage should never feel like an afterthought.

Get a Code-Compliant Garage Finishing with Home Remodeling Experts in Des Moines

Any renovation needs to meet building code and general industry standards. Low quality improvements won’t return value. In fact, they could turn buyers away if you decide to sell in the future. The average family doesn’t want to buy a home that requires extensive patch up work and modifications.

Do things right for your own peace of mind and to ensure a better return at resale. If you are thinking about garage finishing, it’s time to talk to the friendly team at HomeWorx Iowa. We can help you to convert unfinished space into usable living space. Whether you need an extra bedroom, a self-contained unit with all the amenities, or even a secondary family room, we can help you to achieve your vision.

Our designers will work with you to find materials that suit your taste and budget. We also offer a complete 3D modeling service so that you can visualize changes as the project evolves.

Finish your garage right and get a real return on your investment. Contact us today to start your next home remodeling project.