As a homeowner, there are countless tweaks and additions you can make to your abode. If you’re enthusiastic, Home Depot can eventually start to feel like an all-you-can-eat home improvement buffet of fun. But before you go home valueinto project-planning overdrive, slow down! It’s important to be selective with your add-ons because some changes can actually devalue your home. Here are six things to double-check.

  1. Removing a bedroom. If you’re an empty nester, it can be tempting to convert that unused boudoir into the home gym you’ve always dreamed about. But the number of bedrooms in your home directly affects its value, so ask yourself: do you really need the new room? If the answer is “yes,” just make sure the changes continue to meet building codes for a bedroom (these can vary, so it’s best to check with a professional). That way, you can still market the space as a bedroom. Note: Even if the room meets bedroom building codes, its perceived value will drop if it’s being used for something else. So if you’re planning to sell in the near future, it may be best to leave the bed!

  2. Mediocre renovations. A quality, well-installed kitchen island is a great way to boost your home’s value. But imperfect work is easy for potential buyers to spot, and if they feel like your renovations will need to be tweaked (or redone entirely), they may lower their offer. To avoid this problem, carefully weigh the pros and cons of doing a project by yourself before you begin. If you decide to hire help, make sure you vet your contractor thoroughly!
  3. Showcasing a satellite dish. Let’s be clear: there is absolutely nothing wrong with 1,000 premium channels of HD entertainment. The more the merrier! But if a prospective buyer can see your satellite dish as soon as they turn onto your block, your curb appeal is going to take a hit. If you get a dish installed, work with the technicians to place it in an out-of-the-way spot.
  4. Sporadic home maintenance. Big renovations tend to take the spotlight when it comes to increasing your home's value, but regular maintenance can be just as important! In fact, without proactive maintenance – like cleaning lint from the dryer or changing your furnace filter – your home could lose up to 10 percent of its value. Routine maintenance not only protects the value of your property – it can also enhance curb appeal, ensure safety and prevent simple problems from turning into costly repairs. If you’ve fallen a little behind, that’s not a problem. It only takes one hour to get back on top of things.
  5. Smoking inside. The whole “post-intimacy” cigarette looks cool in movies, but it’s not as suave when it comes to your home’s value. In fact, one survey revealed that some buyers believe smoking inside of a house can lower its value by as much as 29 percent! When you combine this with the fact that fires caused by still-burning cigarette butts are the leading cause of home-fire fatalities, smoking outside becomes a no-brainer.
  6. An above-ground pool. Depending on where you live, an in-ground pool can bolster your home’s value by as much as 11 percent. However, the above-ground counterpart isn’t as popular. Since they aren’t as visually appealing, buyers will tend to focus on the negatives of the pool (maintenance costs and safety hazards), and your home’s purchase price may take about a two percent hit. Note: If you and your family simply can’t live without some pool-side fun, don’t let this deter you! You can’t put a price on epic water-basketball matches or fun Marco Polo sessions.
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