Home improvements that could damage your property's value

Is your DIY really adding value to your home - or could you actually be making it worth less?

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Home 'Improvements' That Might Hurt Your Property Value
A recent study found that almost one in three of all pensioners who had accessed their pension pot under new pension freedoms had used the cash for home improvements. This makes perfect sense, as it's your chance to make your life more comfortable and your home more valuable into the bargain - unless, of course, you make one of these classic mistakes, and end up actually making your home less valuable.

Some home improvements will really add value. Studies have shown that by far the most profitable tend to be projects that add rooms - such as loft conversions or extensions. If the home has a particularly outdated kitchen or bathroom, then installing something more timeless or neutral will definitely repay your investment.

However, there are several home improvements that can actually damage your property price. These include adding the kinds of things that are a pain to maintain and expensive to own - the swimming pool is the chief culprit here (unless you have a very high-end property where all buyers will expect a pool).

Unusual design can be off-putting too. Your teenager may desperately want black walls, but unless you're very careful with your design, they're going to need repainting (with several coats) before you move out. Likewise, you may have always wanted an astroturf football pitch or a posh formal garden, but if it's out of place outside your suburban semi, then any buyers are just going to see it as a project they're going to have to tackle.

Overly-tailoring a home to your own needs can also make selling it hard. Buyers are apparently spooked by home offices. They may be very handy for anyone who works from home and wants to stay organised, but putting office furniture into the room - including plenty of shelving - apparently makes it hard for people to imagine it as a bedroom.

Likewise, if you turn your garage into a bedroom, it may suit your family, but it may put people off if it produces an odd property layout, or deprives them of much-needed storage space.

Any work that is not done to a high standard could also do more harm than good. There's no point slapping a coat of paint on the walls if the first thing anyone thinks on seeing it is that it will have to be redone.

And research has revealed that anything that's just too fashionable could end up becoming a problem when fashions change. Anyone who ever installed pebble dashing, crazy paving, or unusually coloured bathroom suites would tell you that it's not always easy to predict which fashions will stick.

Of course, none of this should stop anyone withdrawing some of their pension pot for vital home maintenance and repairs, and to make their home a more comfortable place to spend their retirement. Perhaps instead it should encourage them to think very carefully about the long-term impact of their changes before they get the dust sheets out.

The ten most valuable home improvements

The ten most valuable home improvements