Beware of Value-Killing Home Renovations

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

That old adage should be a warning for homeowners. What you do to a home -- in terms of renovations, furnishings and additions -- is all well and good while you sleep under its roof. But if you plan to sell, your efforts could diminish rather than boost its selling price.
Some home renovations that seem like a good idea can drive away buyers and drive down price. Pools can be a delight or a hassle, for instance, depending on the homeowner.

A miniature backyard skate park, indoor basketball court or basement lounge complete with a stripper pole and smoke machine are the sorts of extravagances that may not directly push down your home value, but could nevertheless drive away prospective buyers or provide room for them to haggle down the price. A bright pink paint job and lawn cluttered with gnomes and flamingos is going to offer little in the way of curb appeal. That koi pond you love so much may be just a headache for a new owner.

"Swimming pools and landscaping can both backfire," says Brendon DeSimone, a Realtor in California and New York and blog contributor for online real estate database Zillow ( Z) who has been featured on the HGTV television shows Curb Appeal, Bang for Your Buck and My House is Worth What?

"They are nice to have because they show really well and will lure buyers in," he explains. "But when buyers are assessing pros and cons of the home or comparing it to other homes, the upkeep -- or safety, in the case of the pool -- will factor in. Some people just may not want to sign up for having to do landscaping or pay the landscaper. So while a swimming pool or beautiful manicured lawn might reel in potential buyers, eventually those things could turn them off. Gardening and over-the-top landscaping is for a very specific buyer."

There are always exceptions to be had if the right buyer comes along. A pool in warm-weather Arizona or Southern California is certainly more attractive than one at a home in Maine where it gets only a fraction of the annual use.

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