Are You Hurting Your Home’s Value?

Amanda Fallon
Amanda Fallon
Published on August 20, 2018

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 the property, you’ll find lots of ways to increase its value.  But in the meantime, here’s what not to do to.

Here are 3 ways you may be hurting your home’s value, as determined by me.

 1. Convert your garage

More than half of home-buyers want a 2-car garage and 86 percent want a garage with storage, according to a survey conducted the National Association of Homebuilders.  Almost half of the home-buyers I work with insist on a 3-car garage when possible — room for the home gym, or the man cave!

So although you may think of yours as wasted space or just an oversized junk drawer, carefully consider how converting your garage may end up hurting your home’s value.

A Sacramento appraiser found that homebuyers paid between 6 and 10 percent less on homes with no garage, regardless of what replaced it.

On a $450,000 home, that’s a loss of between $27,000 and $45,000.


If you are thinking of selling your home, consider some garage upgrades that may increase its value and make it more attractive to home-buyers. These include:

  • A new garage door if needed. 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. 
  • Adding additional storage options, 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 power-washing the floor and applying an epoxy floor coating (This Old House offers a walk-through of the process). Consider painting the walls with a semi-gloss paint.

2. Don’t report messy neighbors to the HOA

One thing is certain:  your messy and loud neighbors are hurting your home’s value and making it more difficult for you to find a buyer when your home is on the market.  If your community is governed by a homeowners association, you pay dues.  Even homeowners with low fees should expect their association to enforce its rules and regulations.

To not take advantage of their power when a neighbor is messing with your home’s value is just not smart.  You’ll want to report any of the following to your HOA:

  • 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:  Many HOAs prohibit residents from parking commercial vehicles, boats and large recreational vehicles on the property.  If yours does, and a neighbor is violating the policy, they are hurting your home’s value — contact your HOA and file a complaint.

3. Install a pool

In some parts of the country, such as Las Vegas and parts of Arizona, a pool consistently adds value to a home.  

In Southern California, a pool may or may not add value, and it entirely depends on your community.  In communities where a pool does add to a property’s value, still, you will never find the increased value to be equal to the cost of the installation of the pool (not to mention the cost of cleaning, maintenance, and electricity usage).  Before installing a pool, your real estate agent can advise you if any value would be added to your property by doing so and approximately how much.

Even with our hot weather, a pool can sometimes limit your potential “pool” of buyers, as it is considered an expensive inconvenience and a safety liability.  Unless it offers security features, the pool likely 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, and “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

“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 wish to install a pool for your own enjoyment, do it!  Just keep in mind that even in neighborhoods where the pool does add value to your home, it still won’t pay for itself and you may be limiting your audience of potential home-buyers in the future.

There may be other issues that are hurting your home’s value, like using bold and uncommon paint colors and building non-permitted structures on the lot, as well as external factors like poor ratings of nearby schools, zoning changes, and new flight patterns that increase noise in your neighborhood.

Do you have a question about your home’s value?  Begin your complimentary home valuation here.

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