You've heard this countless times: Your home is your biggest investment.
It really is! What else would you be willing to buy for hundreds of thousands of dollars?
This year, house hunting has turned into my second job, and there's a lot I've learned about what increases a home's value - and what decreases it.
What we want to make sure we don't do is hinder the value of our property. Of course, we all want a comfortable house to live in, but we also don't want to jeopardize our biggest investment.
According to realtors I've spoken to, here are seven things many of them agree on that can bring down the value of your home.
1. A swimming pool
Kids love it, but most homeowners aren't crazy about swimming pools.
It's an added expense, meaning that new owners have to shell out hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars every year to maintain this water feature.
And if a home inspector discovers that your pool has some sort of damage, that might be enough to make potential buyers say sayonara.
2. Doing renovations yourself
My family and I were so close to buying a gorgeous property by the lake until we learned that all the upgrades and renovations were done by the homeowner himself.
The thing is, he had absolutely no prior experience, and admitted that he learned off of "YouTube" videos. It showed, because once the home inspector checked the wiring, it was all off.
Even if these renovations are done by a professional, if they're not done properly, they're going to significantly affect the value of your home by encouraging buyers to ask for a lower price.
If you're not a contractor, make sure you're doing your research to find someone that can get the job done the right way, even if it may cost you a little more money.
3. An "eerie" feeling
Have you ever walked into a home and couldn't wait to leave it? Our homes also carry negative energies or can show signs that it's haunted.
Believe it or not, one home in New York was voided because the seller didn't disclose that supernatural events were happening in her home after the buyers discovered that she talked about these unusual occurrences on national media.
There are many ways you can cleanse your home to rid it of negative energies.
For example, burning sage and placing plants like ferns and lucky bamboo in your home are believed to guard your safe space from unwanted spirits.
4. Too many upgrades
You're probably scratching your head wondering how upgrades could be a bad thing.
As a buyer, when I go into a home, that's the first thing I look for. For example, in my head I have a check list like this: granite countertops, nylon carpets, nice hardwood floors, fireplace stone facing, and the list can go on and on.
These things are definitely great, but it may not up the value of your home as much as you may think it does.
According to U.S. News & World Report, similar homes in the same subdivision are typically worth the same price.
Of course, if your house has a few more upgrades than a similar home being sold in your area, then yours will stand out, but if you've spent like a hundred grand on upgrades, buyers tend to opt for the cheaper option.
5. Your neighbors or pets
No matter how much of a pet lover many people are, they're not willing to move into a zoo.
If you have misbehaving or dirty pets that have damaged your home, it's really a game changer for a potential buyers.
The worst is pet odor, and don't try to mask it either, or buyers will think you're hiding something else too.
Now if you don't have pets, but your neighbors do, that could also be an issue too. Aggressive or noisy animals can deter people from purchasing your lot.
And if your neighbors are rowdy or hoarders, those are big red flags in the eyes of home buyers.
6. The name of your street
A group of high school girls teamed up with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the University of Sydney, and a Melbourne real estate agent to identify a strange trend that's been going on for decades.
They discovered that property prices in streets with silly names were 20% lower than properties that had normal names.
While this hasn't been confirmed to be the case in America, it's definitely something to consider.
If you're convinced that your street name is affecting home prices, you can request to get it changed.
You'll have to contact your town's city hall and see what steps you have to take to get that done.
7. Power lines
According to SF Gate, being close to power lines can lower your property's value by up to 30%. For your biggest investment, 30% is a lot of money.
Personally, I'll never buy a home that's close to a power line. If I can see the lines, it's a no for me.
In light of all the studies done on the effects of electromagnetic fields by power lines on our health, and that none of them have discovered anything conclusive, many home buyers are hesitant to go forward with purchasing these properties.
If you live close to a power line, you're probably wondering what you could do about this.
If your home is gorgeous, and the only deterrence from someone buying your home is your close proximity to a power line, contact the electric utility company and request an on-site reading.
That might put a home buyer's fears to rest.