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5 Things That Could Decrease Your Home’s Value

A house viewed through a lens.

In a previous blog, we talked about ways to increase your home’s value. But what are the things that could decrease the potential worth of your home? Some projects can be a wise investment. Other projects, however, allow little opportunity to recover the costs when it’s time to sell.

Swimming Pool

At the top of the list are swimming pools. Swimming pools were once thought of as something desirable for potential buyers, but now most house hunters aren’t looking for the added cost and hassle of maintenance. While it is true that some buyers might be enticed, the overall outlook for homes with swimming pools is trending downward. In some states with more consistently warm weather this might not be a problem, but in areas of the country that have winter closing a pool is a hassle. Those with small children might shy away from purchasing as well.

Extensive Landscaping

We’ve mentioned in the past that landscaping can add value to your home. This is true, but should have an asterisk. A simple bed of flowers or a tree that provides shade can make all the difference to a home buyer, but expensive landscaping decoration will not increase the value of your home, but rather increase the maintenance required for it. Exotic plants or elaborate gardens will purge the potential market for your home. Make sure your gardens are beautiful, but simple and easy to maintain, and that any decorative additions can be easily removed.


Home buyers today may cringe at the idea of having wall-to-wall carpeting. Just like everything else, flooring has its trends. Hardwood floors are back in a big way. Hardwood or tile floors are now the standard for desirability. Carpets are hard to maintain and even the most decadent carpeting gives off a feel of cheapness. There are also health concerns with carpeting. Since carpet is manufactured from synthetic materials, they contain toxic chemicals. These chemicals can release gas for many years. When you walk into a carpet store, that smell wafting through the air is the gas/chemicals from the fibers, color/dye, fire resistant coating and stain proofing.

Personalized Rooms

This is an obvious one, but it’s sometimes surprising the lack of self-awareness sellers can have. Having a room painted an odd color or installing quirky fixtures might add personality to your home, but it more than likely won’t sit well with potential buyers. If you must use a bedroom space for a home office, be sure to avoid any bulky built-in desks or shelving units. That way, when it’s time to sell, you can easily stage the space back into a bedroom for potential buyers to see. Today, more professionals have the opportunity to work from home, and some might consider creating a dedicated home office space to get the job done. If the new office space was formerly a bedroom, this could be a costly mistake. Not every buyer will be looking for a room with a built-in desk or shelf.

Unseen Updates

Installing a new plumbing system or HVAC unit might be necessary, but don’t expect it to recover these costs when it comes time to sell. When the inspection time comes the last thing, you want to do is fail, so we are not suggesting you DON’T make these improvements but thinking that the new roof or concrete sidewalk will increase the home’s value would be foolish. Home buyers expect these systems to be in good working condition and will not pay extra just because you recently installed a new water heater. On the flip side, if these systems are older, it will decrease the value of your home. Buyers who are savvy might notice these upgrades, but don’t expect them to pay more.

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