Five Projects That May Not Increase Home Value

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For many homeowners, there is no better project to save for than an in-ground swimming pool. But aside from helping you cool off on a sweltering day or making your summer parties more attractive, this home improvement -- along with these four others -- may need to be reconsidered if you plan to sell your home.

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1. In-ground swimming pool

Depending on the size and depth of the pool you want, expect to fork over at least $20,000 to a contractor. Heating and filtration systems can jack up the price considerably, and the cost of many in-ground pool models can easily surpass $50,000, not counting the yearly maintenance expenses. But despite the obvious day-to-day benefits of a pool, it is one addition that can actually detract from your home's value if the buyer doesn't want one. According to, many buyers will insist that the seller pay to dismantle the pool and fill in the ground as a contingency of purchase.

2. Expensive landscaping

If you're going to spend thousands on eye-catching landscaping, do it for your own enjoyment, but don't expect it to pay off when your home is up for sale. According to Smart Money, a meticulously manicured lawn and garden will certainly increase your home's aesthetic value, but they won't add to the bottom-line sale price. Some buyers without a "green thumb" will look at the maintenance responsibilities as an added cost.

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3. Wall-to-wall carpeting

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Carpeting may seem like an obvious way to make your home more desirable, but one person's decorating tastes can often turn out to be the complete opposite of what a potential buyer prefers. The cost of a refinished hardwood floor is more likely to be recouped at closing time. Homeowners should also pick neutral colors if they foresee their home eventually being on the market.

4. A Rushed Finished basement

A well-done finished basement is sure to land in the "pro" column for prospective buyers, but if the job was not done right, you could be looking at costly repairs once a home inspector is called in.

Experts caution that any moisture issues must be addressed first, otherwise the room will be susceptible to harmful mold growth. Avoiding putting down carpet in a basement to avoid any issues with mold. 

5. Home Office

If your job requires extensive work from home you may be compelled to turn a spare room into an office. If you choose to do so, realtors recommend that you do not add anything that cannot be easily removed before moving day. Potential buyers could offer less if they have no need for an office, and feel they need to renovate the space. Realtor magazine estimated that the return on investment for a home office can be as low as 52%.