3 ways to wreck your home’s value

Hank Bailey
Hank Bailey
Published on February 25, 2019

As a homeowner you know that the best way to protect your home’s value is by maintaining it. And, when it comes time to sell, just look from Pinterest to HGTV and you’ll find lots of ways to increase its value.

On the flip side, there are fewer folks that will share with you how you just might inadvertently wreck your home’s value along with steps to avoid this costly course of action!

Use this list of tips as a cautionary tale of what not to do to lower your home’s value!

 1. Convert your garage

More than half of homebuyers want a 2-car garage and 86 percent want a garage with enough room for storage, according to a survey conducted the National Association of Homebuilders.

So, although you may think of your garage as wasted space or just an oversized junk drawer, carefully consider what a garage conversion can do to your home’s value.

In a recent conversation with an appraiser, he conveyed that he’s found that homebuyers paid between 6 and 10 percent less on homes with no garage, regardless of what replaced it.

On a $200,000 home, that’s a loss of between $15,000 and $20,000.

Ouch

What can increase the value of that garage space in the eyes of the home buyer today? If you are thinking of selling the home, consider some garage upgrades that may increase its value and make it more attractive. These include:

  • A new garage door. According to Remodeling Magazine’s “Cost vs. Value” report, homeowners who installed a new garage door saw a 98.3 percent return on their investment.
  • Additional storage, such as shelves and cabinets. Consider overhead storage, suspended from the ceiling, to utilize the wasted space above the cars. It’s quite popular and will catch a buyer’s eye.
  • Make the garage look brand new by pressure-washing the floor and applying an epoxy floor coating (This Old House offers a walk-through of the process). Then, paint the walls with a semi-gloss paint.

2. Turning a ‘blind eye’ to neighbors who violate HOA and community guidelines

If your community is governed by a homeowners association, you pay dues to make sure things are kept up and the neighborhood is governed by covenants and deed restrictions setting out the planning and development, along with the maintenance of the community. Even in neighborhoods with no active HOA however you typically do have rules and regulations filed in the local courthouse many years before that lay out certain rules and guidelines regarding the community.

You need to have a copy of the neighborhood covenants and deed restrictions no later than the day of your closing and know them!  Ignorance may be bliss as the saying goes, but it’s costly as well! Not just for keeping a watch out on others’ activities and how they impact your property values, but to make sure you don’t violate neighborhood etiquette either.  Some of the issues that could impact your home’s value would be the following occurring in your neighborhood;

  • The hoarder: Nearby property that is cluttered with a homeowner’s junk can reduce your home’s value by 5 to 10 percent, according to the Appraisal Institute. If the exterior is extra-packed with debris, you may lose even more value.
  • The loud neighbor: Most associations have a noise ordinance in their rules, and for good reason. Not only are loud neighbors disruptive to other residents, but their (and their pets’) noise can reduce home values by another 5 to 10 percent.
  • Unsightly vehicles: This is a big one. Many HOAs prohibit residents from parking commercial vehicles, landscape trailers, boats and large recreational vehicles on the property. Some neighborhoods don’t let you park a vehicle on the street overnight. If yours does maintain any of these rules and a neighbor is violating the policy, contact your HOA.

If you’ve paid more to be in a community that has an HOA, amenities, perks, and that perfect location, then you want everyone to play by the same rules and work together.

3. Installing a pool

In some parts of the country, such as Las Vegas, Florida, and parts of Arizona, a pool adds value to a home. It may also add value if you live in a neighborhood where most of the other homes have pools.

In other regions and other neighborhoods it may or may not and in yet others, a pool is considered an expensive inconvenience and a liability and can drag down the value of your home.

Not only that, but a pool knocks some buyers out of contention. Unless it offers security features, the pool won’t be popular with families with young children.

Consider that the average cost for a complete pool installation will cost between $30,000 and $100,000 according to Jean Folger at Investopedia.com.

Then, in some states and municipalities, fences around the water feature are mandatory, so factor in that cost. Find out if yours is among them at signs.com.

Ongoing maintenance may cost a bundle as well. “The pump and heater, if you have one, could drive up your utility costs by $100 a month or so,” according to the folks at daveramsey.com.

“You’ll spend about $600 during the swimming season on chemicals if you maintain your pool yourself. If you live in a climate where you’ll use the pool year-round, budget $15–25 a week for DIY maintenance,” they continue.

If you must install a pool for your own enjoyment, keep in mind that it won’t pay for itself when you sell the home and you’ll likely take a hit on your home’s value.

No, these aren’t the only things that negatively impact a home’s value. Many of the others are out of your control. For those issues that are within your control and you are working towards putting your home on the market in the near future, act on them.

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