3 unexpected ways home sellers overcapitalise

8 Aug 2016

When you're looking to sell your house, it's important to know what increases and decreases your home's value. Sellers often end up spending too much on features that don't add any value to their property whatsoever.

In an attempt to lure more buyers, sellers often overcapitalise. They focus on the wrong things in the hopes of selling for more and wind up disappointed when their selling price isn't as high as they anticipated. While these three additions may sound like they would add value to your property, they actually do the opposite.

Swimming pools and other water features

Swimming pools always seem like a great idea at the time, especially when that Melbourne summer sun comes out, but they can seriously narrow your market come auction time.

"Swimming pools are a large investment, and they will not give you a bang for your buck," property investor Orsolya Bartalis tells realestate.com.au. "While you may like it, others possibly think 'hassle', 'danger', 'expensive to maintain' and the likes."

This also goes for other water features like a hot tub or a pond. A lot of buyers consider these added expenses and extra maintenance. Additionally, there are rules and regulations to abide by when you have a pool on your property.

The Victorian Building Authority has very strict requirements concerning fencing of any pool or spa with water of more than 30 centimetres in depth. These rules were put into place to restrict access of young children to the potentially dangerous area. There's also building permits that come with such a project. When homes for sale have a water feature, the buyer becomes liable for the maintenance and repairs of the pool barriers, and they're rarely keen to take on that responsibility.

Fancy landscaping or no landscaping

Similarly to swimming pools, fancy gardens scream "high maintenance" and are often a turn-off for buyers. Then again, no garden at all is a deal-breaker for a lot of families. A happy medium would be a simple, easy-to-maintain garden design. It's best to avoid anything over-the-top like bird baths, paving or fruit trees. On the same token, don't go removing all the trees. Science Network states that one broad-leafed tree, ideally located on a street verge in front of the house, can result in a median property price increase of more than about $16,000.

A photo posted by @nationalgardensscheme on

Extravagant renovations or dodgy DIY work

Spending more won't always pay off in the long run. Forbes says it's a common misconception that renovating key spaces such as the kitchen and the master bedroom will ensure a higher offer on your house. There actually is a lot of focus on these particular spaces, but renovating them requires some caution.

Features that are too excessive or not neutral enough in design could devalue your house. When you venture into design or high-end territory, you're essentially selling to a niche market. Imported cook tops, fancy handles, extravagant taps or finishes and delicate tiles are all subject to personal preference, and they're something the buyers will happily invest in after buying the property.

Don't spend too much on unnecessary features, but the other side of the spectrum is best avoided as well. Know when a problem is just a light bulb that needs changing or something that requires hiring a professional. Money saved on labour could be money lost on sale if your house shows subpar DIY work. Dodgy jobs and quick fixes are easy things to spot at home inspections, and could cost you dearly.