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House prices: 8 surprising things that devalue your property

·5-min read
House prices: Gold taps are having a moment, but it won't last.
House prices: When it comes to baths, chrome it seems outdoes gold. Photo: Getty

You might think having a swimming pool, hi-tech lighting and a colourful kitchen add to the value of your home but that isn't always the case. We spoke to the experts about the surprising things that can knock thousands of pounds off the value of your property.

1. Gold and copper fittings

Gold and copper fittings in kitchens and bathrooms are currently having a moment — but a moment is all it is according to those in the know.

"Gold and copper hardware, like other metallics, are likely to fall back out of fashion," says Sylvia James, interior design expert at Homehow.

"You might think they’re timeless classics, but just take a look at brass fixtures and fittings. They were big in the 1980s but quickly looked dated and chintzy in our homes."

Play it safe and stick to silver — it goes with everything and isn’t going to turn anyone off.

Watch: Will UK house prices ever fall?

2. Too much tech

Several experts flagged overly sophisticated tech as a big minus when buying a house.

"Complicated lighting and audio-visual systems almost always go wrong. Buyers generally spend considerable sums removing these and installing simpler, easier-to-use systems," says Marc Schneiderman, director of Arlington Residential.

Even if the complicated technology works when you buy a house, it might be hard or even impossible to fix in the future, flags Marlon Lloyd Malcolm, sales director at Lurot Brand.

"Both inside and outside, technology should simplify rather than complicate. Steer clear of any technologies that may be obsolete in function 3-5 years later," he adds.

3. Swimming pools

Mature man in flip flops cleaning the swimming pool with a vacuum cleaner.  Man working as a cleaner of the swimming pool, he standing with special equipment for cleaning at poolside and working
You might think a swimming pool in the garden would make your house more desirable, but in reality British weather is rarely warm enough to use one, and they cost a lot to maintain, so prospective buyers tend to be put off by them. Photo: Getty

Surprising as it may seem, in the UK swimming pools add very little to a property and may even deduct from its value.

In this country, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to use an outdoor swimming pool for a significant amount of the year, but they still require a lot of maintenance that can be costly.

"Indoor basement swimming pools usually they have little, if any, natural light and, as a result, are not much fun to swim in [but] are very expensive to maintain," says Schneiderman.

Read more: UK house prices hit new record high as mortgages outpace rents

4. TikTok-inspired interiors

TikTok might seem like a great place to go for interiors inspiration but beware as some of its ideas might actually do more harm than good.

ConservatoryLand found there are three TikTok trends in particular you should steer clear of:

  1. Inside Nature — adding natural materials such as rattan and bamboo to your interiors

  2. Maximalism — based on busy gallery walls, mis-matched furniture and loud, bright wallpaper

  3. Dark Hues — painting certain parts of your home in bold black rather than the typical neutral shades

"Social media is a double-edged sword in terms of interior design. It’s ideal for sharing ideas between enthusiastic homeowners and renovators but, although it’s great for providing endless inspiration, it can’t provide amateurs with the skills they need to create a cohesive room or a good finish," warns James.

5. Nice-to-haves

Beautiful bathroom with white bath and sauna and shower in a modern home
There's no doubt that sauna's in gyms are lovely: but do you really want the expense of running and maintaining one at home? Photo: Getty

While it may seem like a great idea to install fancy features such as wine cellars, saunas and treatment rooms, like a pool, they tend to require maintenance and be based on a personal choice rather than necessity.

"These additions will almost certainly have been added at great expense to a property to suit the current owner's requirements but may have little or no appeal to prospective buyers," says James Moran, head of London sales at Middleton Advisors

6. Artificial grass

Anything low maintenance tends to add value to a home, but that can’t be said for artificial grass. While it’s easy to keep looking good, buyers still want the real thing for their garden — for both aesthetic and environmental reasons.

Read more: How to reduce your stamp duty bill

"Artificial grass can reduce the value of your home by as much as 5% as today’s buyers veer towards more sustainably minded choices in their properties,” says Paul Stringer of Norton Finance.

Hand holding an artificial grass roll. Greenering with an artificial turf.
Hand holding an artificial grass roll. Greenering with an artificial turf.

7. Basement dig-outs

Basements dig-outs can add much-needed square footage but, before you take on a big project, be aware that this space is not as "valuable" as if it were above ground.

"Basement dig outs can add valuable space but will always lack natural light," says Moran. "Due to the lack of light and, with space to fill, architects will often suggest a home cinema or games room which sound fun but realistically can often be very under-used."

kitchen interior design
You might adore your baby pink, green and gold kitchen, but prospective owners might not share your taste.

8. Colourful kitchens

It’s a truth widely acknowledged that kitchens sell houses, and, for this reason, you need to really think about the way this room, in particular, is decorated.

Avoid bold colours on the walls and cupboards and keep tiles plain rather than patterned, as these might put-off a would-be buyer.

Read more: My house earns more than me

"Be careful when doing anything that is expensive to undo," says Marco Helliwell, founder of mypropertyadvice.com. "If you’re decorating your house to sell, and not for you to stay in long-term, I would stay away from making any design choices that are too bold in the kitchen. Keep it simple."

If you want to increase the value of your property, as well as speaking to architects and interior designers, talk to a local estate agent who knows your street and can advise you on what is likely to demand a premium.

Watch: How much money do I need to buy a house?

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