1. Artificial grass
Artificial grass offers the ultimate in low maintenance. Lay it down once and you can forget it until it wears out. But it frightens off many potential buyers, particularly those with children who want an area to play. With a replacement cost averaging $3.50 per square foot, many buyers prefer to avoid it. One estimate found that sellers could be looking at a 5% reduction in the sale value if a garden has artificial grass.
2. Outdoor water features
Large water features could pull down your property value by also be negatively affecting your property value by $2,500-$10,000, depending on the size and how it is “plumbed” into the garden. While they are great for attracting bees, birds, and butterflies, some buyers see water features as more work to maintain and would want to have it removed if they purchased the house.
3. Unkempt garden
An untended garden that hasn’t been given any TLC could knock 1 to 2% off your asking price.
And go big: According to the Virginia Extension survey, a big and showy garden has the most return, while putting in a couple of scrawny plants actually hurts home value.
An unkempt garden will turn off those who don’t want to do much work, especially first-time buyers and young families.
4. Broken fence panels, cracked walls
Good fences make good property values. We appreciate that they set boundaries for children, keep our animals in, keep other animals out. They offer privacy and seclusion. They’re also pricey to build, repair, or replace, which is why most house-hunters look for a property with an unbroken fence. In fact, research has shown that broken fence panels or cracked walls can remove $1,000 from the value of your house.
So if you’re looking to sell your house, fix that fence. First.
5. Swimming pools, hot tubs
You may think that when someone sees your pool, they will conjure up splashing children, lazy afternoons, and happy summer memories. Let that idea floatie away. No matter how many great summer days you spent around a pool, many buyers see only maintenance headaches, additional insurance requirements, and constant worry about safety. Many buyers won’t even look at a home with a pool.
Overall, the return on pools is also quite low at 43%.
However, that advice flips around for luxury homes that sit on large properties. They tend to do well with pools.
So do homes in certain price ranges and areas of the country, such as Florida, Arizona, California, and Texas, where a pool can be an expected amenity.
But know what you’re getting into. This is a hefty investment: Installing an 18-foot by 36-foot in-ground pool that’s about 3 to 7 feet deep costs about $58,000, including the standard filtration system. For an estimated 43% ROI, it’s not worth taking on just to sell your house. Plus, you may eliminate some buyers who aren’t “pool people” or who don’t want to deal with the maintenance.
6. Sports court
Think your daughter may be tennis’ next Coco Gauff? Or a Steph Curry 3-point specialist? Custom building a tennis or basketball court may suit your needs and your child’s, but it’s unlikely to enhance your property’s value. Specialized patches of asphalt where the buyer expects a beautiful expanse of yard will get more boos than standing O’s from buyers.
7. Big concrete patio
A little concrete is good. But a lot feels more industrial than homey. A broad expanse of concrete creates a parking-lot type of yard where rain collects in puddles. It can look unsightly, become a heat producer, while also posing a safety hazard to friends and family.
8. Fruit trees
Figs? Yum. Cherries? Love them. Apples? More than one a day. But tending to a fragrant orchard isn’t everyone’s idea of Eden. They attract insects, need constant pruning, and highly productive trees give you an extra chore: How do you get rid of all that fruit?
Many potential homebuyers would rather prowl the farmers market than prune the tree. So while you may be up to the task of maintaining the trees and harvesting their bounty, most others won’t. If you don’t plan to stay in a house long enough to reap the fruits of your landscaping choice, do a gut check and decide whether it’s right to let out your inner Johnny Appleseed. From an economic standpoint, you’re better of to opt for ornamental trees instead.
9. Old-outdated garden decor, furniture
An old picnic table rotting in the backyard could put a splinter in your home’s value. According to Housebeautiful.com, it costs about $4,000 to upgrade outdated garden decor and furniture, and you’re unlikely to recoup the cost at the time of sale. Garden furniture, often used only seasonally and subject to the rigors of harsh weather, can fall into disrepair more quickly than the furniture kept comfortably inside.
A worthwhile compromise: Do your best to spruce up what you have. You can often refresh garden furniture by giving the fabric coverings a good washdown, and adding a lick of paint or stain to the wooden areas.
10. Highly personalized niche landscape design
We get it. You love gnomes. And over the years you’ve collected a couple hundred of them that, in your view, fetchingly peek out from every niche.
Your friends and family tolerate, or even encourage, your quirky tastes. But homebuyers are a more cold-hearted lot. Too-personal touches are a turnoff. New York City real estate professional told GoBankringRates.com he advises against “too-personal touches.”
“They can be a turnoff to buyers who might want to develop the yard with their own style,” he said.