When it comes to things that reduce home value, you may think you've heard all. A crumbling roof, peeling paintwork, scruffy backyard, and dated decor all are well-known culprits of reduced value home sales. Most people who want to sell their home are aware of these. However, this is not an exhaustive list of home-devaluing features, and buyers are often caught off guard when encountering the following.
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1. Broken (or non-existent) gutters
Gutters are boring. Fixing broken or blocked gutters is boring. And having functional gutters does not add value to your home, because, well, they're boring and people just expect them to be there. However, leaving your gutters broken will detract from the value of your home, with buyers asking that the home value be reduced by $1000 or more. They're right to: a poorly functioning or broken guttering system can lead to leaks, erosion, and even damage to the foundation of the property. In some areas, especially those prone to storms and flooding, mortgage lenders won't even lend on a home with broken gutters, so you'll have to repair yours before selling.
Find out how to fix guttering in our guide.
2. Living next to a bad school
This, unfortunately, is outside your control as seller, but living next to a poorly performing school can detract a disturbing 22 percent from your home value. This figure may be lower if you're not selling a family home, but either way, it proves that you need to do your research on the neighborhood schools before you move somewhere, even if you yourself don't have school-age kids.
3. Installing a swimming pool (unless you live in Florida)
This is a perpetual dilemma – do swimming pools add value? Can they really detract value? The answer is not straightforward. Investopedia adds up the costs of a swimming pool – and they are huge: anywhere between $15,000 and $100,000 for the pool, and another $500-$4,000 in maintenance per year. It is no wonder that buyers in many areas are wary of pools and the costly maintenance, but that's not even the reason why pools present poor value for money for sellers. At the appraisal stage, many appraisers will value the pool at less than it had cost to build, so you will lose money on it for certain.
Unless you live in a high-end neighborhood in Florida, where not having a pool will likely detract from your home value because other homes have them. In this case, find out how to add a swimming pool in our guide.
Home values always depend on what's around them, and on what people are prepared to pay when looking for a home in that particular area.