Real Estate Development April 29, 2022

Santa Cruz County to Extend Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Fee Waiver Pilot program through June 2023

Santa Cruz County CA Agenda Item DOC-2022-401
Consider adoption of resolution to extend Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Fee Waiver Pilot program through June 2023, and approval of proposed new ADU Incentives Program, and related actions as outlined in the memorandum of the Interim Director of Planning

Board Letter

Recommended Action(s):

1)              Adopt Resolution (Attachment A) to extend the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) fee waiver pilot program to June 30, 2023;

2)              Approve proposed ADU Incentives Program as described in Attachment B; and

3)              Authorize the Director of Planning to enter into a contract with a qualified program administrator for administration of the proposed ADU Incentives Program as described in Attachment B, in fiscal year 2022/2023.

Executive Summary

The County Board of Supervisors (Board) launched two ADU pilot programs in 2018 to incentivize and assist in the development of ADUs and directed staff to report back at the conclusion of the pilot period with an evaluation of the effectiveness and results of the programs. Staff provided that report on December 7, 2021 and consulted with the Housing Advisory Commission (HAC) on January 12, 2022, and March 2, 2022. Staff recommends extending the current fee waiver program for one year and creating a new ADU Incentives Program for a three-year period.

Background

Board of Supervisors Actions

The County initiated two ADU pilot programs in 2017-2018: a pilot ADU fee waiver program for ADUs of 640 square feet or less, and an ADU forgivable loan program. These pilot programs were intended to increase the local affordable housing stock by incentivizing and supporting the development of ADUs. Due to the concurrent enactment of several new state laws streamlining the development of ADUs and decreasing the cost of permits, and historic decreases in mortgage interest rates, the impact of these County programs has been limited and/or difficult to evaluate, as detailed in the staff memo to the Board dated December 7, 2021.

On October 30, 2018, the Board approved Resolution 241-2018 authorizing a three-year pilot program starting January 1, 2019, to waive certain permit processing fees for ADUs of 640 square feet or less in floor area. The purpose of the program was to encourage the development of smaller ADUs, which are considered “affordable by design.”  The fee waiver did not have an income or needs-based test and did not require that ADUs be deed-restricted as affordable units. The loan program was also implemented, offering loans of up to $40,000 that were forgivable after 20 years.

The Board requested a status report on the performance of these programs, which was provided on December 7, 2021 (Item 85, see link attached). At that time the Board directed the Planning Department to review and develop, in consultation with the Housing Advisory Commission (HAC), a recommendation for alternative ADU Incentive Program(s), and report back to the Board no later than April 27, 2022.

Housing Advisory Commission (HAC) Actions

On January 12, 2022, the HAC heard a presentation by nonprofit agency Hello Housing on ADU incentive programs operating in the San Francisco Bay Area. Several other agencies and members of the public involved in ADU programs participated in that meeting. The HAC heard public comment and provided the input to staff to retain the fee waiver program, allow the loan program to sunset, and launch a new technical assistance program. Minutes of the meeting are provided in Attachment D.

At the March 2, 2022, HAC meeting, the HAC considered staff’s proposed new ADU Incentives Program (Attachment C) focused on technical assistance and containing a version of the fee waiver program, now targeted to moderate-income homeowners and those willing to build ADUs that would be deed restricted for affordable rents. The proposal was developed based on input received from commissioners at the January HAC meeting and recognition that the need for design, construction and permitting assistance was a significant hurdle to potential ADU builders that was not being addressed. The HAC considered the proposed program, heard public comment, and voted unanimously (excluding one absent commissioner) to make the following recommendation to the Board (Option 2,as listed in the Staff Memorandum to the HAC):

2. Approve ADU Incentives Program as described in Attachment III, to be funded and launched in Fiscal Year 2022/23 as a three-year pilot program, with the following modification specified by the HAC:

Continue the current ADU fee waiver pilot program, and increase the allowable ADU size for the fee waiver to 750 square feet (consistent with the size threshold for impact fee waivers).

Draft Minutes of the March HAC meeting are provided in Attachment E.

At both of its 2022 meetings, the HAC expressed strong support for the existing fee waiver program and the new proposed technical assistance (TA) program, and agreed that it made sense to sunset the loan program, for the reasons provided to the Board in December. Members of the public also expressed interest in the proposed technical assistance program.

Analysis

Technical Assistance (TA) Program

The proposed program included outreach and education available to the general public, and TA for homeowners wishing to develop an ADU. Homeowners would have to meet eligibility criteria to join the TA program, as described in Attachment B, in order to focus the program on those properties most feasible and reasonable for ADU development, and on affordability criteria to enable the program to target less-resourced homeowners and homeowners willing to create deed-restricted ADUs that would be offered at affordable rents. Affordability criteria would also allow the program to be funded with special Housing Funds, rather than the County General Fund.

TA would include the following services:

•              Feasibility assessment of the property, review of local codes

•              Coordination and guidance with all aspects of ADU planning and construction: design, cost estimating, contracting, insurance, budgeting, and financing

•              Support with permit applications and permitting process

•              Construction management

•              Landlord training and tenant matchmaking

As presented to the HAC in March, the proposed program included a version of the fee waiver program, in this case combining the waiver with the TA program and extending the waiver only to income-qualified property owners and those willing to deed-restrict their ADUs. Following the March 2, 2022 HAC meeting, staff revised the proposed ADU Incentives Program to remove the needs-based fee waiver component, based on the HAC recommendation to extend the existing fee waiver program instead, as explained below. Please see Attachment B for further details on the final proposed TA Program.

Fee Waiver Program

At the March HAC meeting, staff recommended allowing the existing ADU fee waiver program to sunset on its current end date of June 30, 2022, for several reasons, and that a modified program that includes a means test for eligibility be substituted. A modified program would be targeted to the homeowners for whom the waiver would make the most difference in the financial decision of whether to construct an ADU and could be funded by affordable housing funds rather than the County General Fund.  The existing program cannot be funded with housing funds because it is available to all property owners for ADUs smaller than 640 SF, regardless of income and assets, and because the resulting ADU is not required to be deed-restricted to guarantee it will rent at an affordable level. Please see Attachment C for further details on staff’s March recommendations to the HAC.

During the March HAC meeting, commissioners expressed strong support for the existing fee waiver program in its current form, without any income-screening or affordability restrictions on the new ADUs. That strong support was articulated in the HAC’s recommendation to the Board, excerpted above.

Following the HAC meeting, staff further explored the HAC’s recommendation in light of the performance of the waiver in incentivizing small ADUs relative to the cost of the program. Staff understands the HAC support for the current fee waiver program. Nonetheless, most ADUs built today, particularly new detached units, will cost $400,000 and up, depending on size. Conversion ADUs and JADUs can cost less, however those can still cost several hundred thousand dollars, depending on how much retrofitting of the existing structure is required to meet current codes.

The Planning fees waived through the fee waiver program represent a very small percentage of the total cost to develop an ADU (1% to 5%), so it is unclear, based on limited data available, whether these fee waivers are making a key difference in the property owner’s financial decision about whether to construct, and at what size. Further, the pilot period of the existing program coincided with passage of new state laws that significantly streamlined the process for ADU development and expanded the situations in which new ADUs could be developed. The number of ADU applications increased during this period, but it is difficult to attribute this increase to the fee waiver program alone, given so many other changes to the process.

For this reason, staff is now recommending a modest revision to the HAC’s recommendation, which is to extend the fee waiver pilot program in its current form for one more year, after which the effectiveness of the waiver and the cost of the program can be re-evaluated. Staff also recommends that the ADU size threshold that qualifies for a waiver remain at 640 square feet, rather be increased to 750 square feet. Staff initially recommended the increase to 750 square feet so that the County fee waiver program would use the same size limit as is used in state law for various fee exemptions and other incentives, to minimize confusion. However, upon further analysis, it is recommended that the threshold not be changed, so that permitting trends in ADUs within this size range can be tracked consistently across the 4-year period of the program. Maintaining the 640 SF threshold would better reflect any impacts of the fee waiver program, which is the only incentive that uses that 640 SF size limit.

Financial Impact

The recommendation to extend the current fee waiver program for one year will cost the General Fund an estimated $76,000 in waived fees for Planning Department permitting services. This amount may be higher or lower, depending on how many ADU permit applications in the applicable size range are received during the year.

Staff estimates that the recommended new ADU Incentives Program (Attachment B) will cost approximately $711,000 for a three-year period. The program goals include assistance in completing development of 18 to 20 ADUs through partnership with participating homeowners. Funding for this program is available in the Affordable Housing Impact Fee (AHIF) and Subdivision In-lieu Fee funds, as shown in Attachment B. Staff requested a total of $711,000 in appropriations for this program, including costs for administration of the contract, in the Planning Department’s FY 2022-23 Requested Budget.

Body

Strategic Plan Element(s)

2. Attainable Housing: A. Affordable Housing and C. Local Inventory

The recommended actions implement Strategic Plan elements 2A and 2C by providing incentives and assistance for the development of ADUs by and/or for lower- and moderate-income households, and/or small ADUs that are affordable by design.

Working From Home April 26, 2022

Online Office Safety: 11 Work At Home Security Tips

Online Office Safety: 11 Work At Home Security Tips

For the past few decades, as the digital revolution expands, more and more people are working from home than ever before. In fact, the percentage of American workers who did their jobs from home has been growing steadily since 2000, reaching an all-time high of 5 percent just last year.

However, as we know, the year 2020 has prompted rapid growth in the number of people working from home as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions to abandon their offices and turn their dining rooms or spare bedrooms into workspaces.

Yet even as some businesses start to open back up, including offices, many companies are electing to allow their workers to continue working from home at least through the rest of the year. This may still extend further even after the virus is successfully contained. Recent estimates indicate that around 20 percent of companies will make their pandemic work-from-home policies permanent, representing a significant change in how we work.

For many, this is welcome news. But working from home comes with some risks, as your home network tends to be less well protected against cyber criminals than a corporate one. Implementing the right defenses is essential to keeping yourself and your company safe, and below, you can find out everything you need to make sure your home office is fully secure.

Cyber Security Threats in 2020

Before going into the specific things you can be doing to maximize your home office’s security, we wanted to discuss the various threats that are out there so that you can better understand why these measures are necessary and what they do.

There are many different dangers out there, but the most prevalent include:

Hacking and Data Theft

Hacking just means that someone who does not have the authorization to access a system manages to get into it, which almost always leads to data theft. Hackers want things such as credit card numbers, bank information, login details, social security numbers, and anything else valuable they can get their hands on and then sell for a profit.

The typical line of thinking is that hackers tend to go after larger companies as that’s where the useful data is (and also because they can get more information with one hack, increasing their efficiency). But these large companies also tend to have the strongest defenses, making them the most difficult to hack.

As a result, small businesses are increasingly becoming the preferred target for hackers and other cybercriminals, mainly because their defenses tend to be weaker, yet they still hold valuable data. In fact, around 43 percent of all cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses. The logic is that it takes the same amount of effort to hack several small companies, and produces more results than trying and hack into a big company.

If you thought you were safe because you work for a small company, “no one would bother to hack,” know that this is no longer the case, and you need to be taking cybersecurity as seriously as everyone else.

Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when a cybercriminal assumes your identity and then does things on your behalf. In a worst-case scenario, they get a hold of your social security number and other personal details. They then use this information to withdraw money from your accounts, make charges to your credit and debit cards, and even open up new credit lines that could get you into real trouble with creditors.

If you’re working from home, identity theft becomes even more of a concern because if your identity is stolen, cybercriminals may be able to gain access to your company’s servers, compromising its data and potentially costing a lot of money.

Viruses, Malware, Ransomware, and Worms

While all slightly different, these are all programs that make their way onto your computer, usually because you click a bad link or open a dangerous spam email. They do various things to your computer. For example, ransomware will literally hold your device “hostage,” shutting it down until you either hand over sensitive data or give money.

Malware is more common and can often go undetected. It slows down your computer, and at best is a nuisance that can get in the way of your productivity. At worst, it can take personal information off your device and send it to people who will use it to steal from either you or your company.

Cyberbullying

Not typically thought of as a cyber threat, cyberbullying is quite prevalent in our society, and, contrary to popular belief, it’s not just something that kids do. A study by Pew found that around 40 percent of adults have experienced some sort of online harassment, and 75 percent of adults have reported seeing it taking place around them.

If you’re new to working online, it’s essential to be aware of how you’re interacting with others. Comments or jokes that might have gone unnoticed, or were better contextualized, when spoken in the office, can seem aggressive or harmful when typed out in a message.

Being aware of this is vital to protect yourself (cyberbullying is a crime, and even if you’re not convicted in a court of law, it can lead to termination) and those you work with. Both are important aspects of keeping your company moving forward.

The Reality of the Threats We Face

Now that you have an idea of the threats that are out there, here are some numbers that should help drive home just how serious this issue is and why it requires so much of your attention.Cyber Attack Facts 1[1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7]

Whether you’re new to working online from home due to the pandemic, have been at it for a while, or plan to continue to do it moving forward, all of these numbers should be concerning. However, the last four are particularly troublesome. They point to the massive expense a cyber mistake can force your company to incur, and they also indicate that you, as an employee, are the one most likely to be responsible for such a mistake.

Don’t let this strike fear into your heart. If you take the proper steps to protect yourself in your new home, then you can be sure that you won’t be the one who brings on this data breach that could have catastrophic consequences for not only yourself but also your employer.

11 Work at Home Security Tips

Now that you are aware of the threats that you face when working from home, as well as their prevalence and potentially catastrophic consequences, it’s time to look at what you can do to make sure your home office is secure.

1. Review Company “Work From Home” Policy

When you begin to work from home, the very first thing you should do is review the company’s existing “work from home” policy. This should include all the information the experts have deemed necessary for you to know about the dangers you might face, and there should also be plenty of information about best practices you can use to make sure you’re safe.

These policies will typically provide instructions about passwords, data sharing, access, authentication, and more. If you read through it and come across things that aren’t entirely clear, then make sure to speak up and ask for clarification; your entire company’s cybersecurity might be resting on it.

A copy of this policy should be given to you once it has been established that you’ll be working remotely. If it’s not, ask for it. If it doesn’t exist, then you should speak with your manager about making one since a document like this is often essential to making sure employees are educated and informed about what they need to be doing.

2. Make Sure Everything is Password Protected

Although they seem simple, passwords are a huge component of cybersecurity. They act as the first line of defense against potential hacks or other unwanted access attempts, and not using passwords is equivalent to leaving the front door of your house unlocked. Ignoring them means cybercriminals will be able to get past your first safeguard without much issue, significantly increasing the chances of a full-on hack and data breach.

When we say password protect everything, we mean everything. This means your computer, laptop, smartphone, and all of your accounts. Make sure you’re mixing up the passwords you’re using, i.e., you’re not using the same one for multiple accounts, and that you are practicing good password habits, which include:

Four Aspects of Good Password Habits 1

  • Overall, setting passwords and following good habits is easy to do, but it is one of the most significant defenses you can use against hackers and other cybercriminals.

3. Lock Computers Not in Use

One good habit to adopt is to make sure that you’re locking your computers when you’re not using them, especially those you’re using for work. This means either turning them off or using the lock feature found by pressing “CTL + ALT + Delete.”

For those who have lots of experience working in an office, this is probably not something new, but it’s reasonable to think you don’t need to do this when you’re at home. Getting into this habit will ensure that you never leave your devices vulnerable to attacks from hackers and other cybercriminals.

4. Improve the Physical Security of Your Home Office

Now that you’ve moved into a home office, you need to accept that there might be additional threats you didn’t face before, such as a break-in. Of course, we all don’t want to think this is possible, but there is no limit to what cybercriminals will do if they’re chasing after what they perceive to be valuable information.

As a result, you will want to take some steps to ensure the security of your office. This includes making sure there is a working lock on the door, installing locks on desk drawers and filing cabinets, and making sure computer screens are not visible from the outside.

Of course, if you live in a secluded area where there’s no chance someone sees inside your home, this last step might not be entirely necessary. Still, those living in bigger cities where there are more prying eyes would do well to ensure they’re working in privacy while in their home office.

5. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is a security feature offered by lots of companies and organizations providing online services. All it means is that you need to go through two identity verification stages to gain access to your account. Usually, this means entering your username and password and then providing a code that is sent to your phone or email (which you have provided) to confirm you are indeed the person you claim to be.

This is particularly effective because while hackers might be able to get past your password if they are really savvy, it’s almost impossible for them to guess this second part, making it that much more difficult for them to get access to your account. It’s also a great way to detect when your account is under attack; if you get a code sent to your phone when you haven’t tried to access that account, you know something is up and can take swift and effective action.

However, while many places are now offering this service, it is often not put into action until you yourself activate it, so you will need to seek it out and actively set it up, which we cannot recommend more that you do.

6. Train Yourself to Detect Phishing

As we’ve already mentioned a few times, phishing is one of the main ways hackers and cybercriminals do their dirty work. For those who don’t know, phishing is when hackers use emails or other disguised messages to look legitimate so that you will willingly hand over sensitive information. Other forms of phishing, such as spear phishing, target specific individuals and are often much more personalized, making them more effective.

Some good examples of phishing attacks can be found below. One is made to look like a message from Netflix, and another is designed to look like something from Amazon. They show just how good hackers can be at what they do and why they can dupe so many people into handing information over that they should be safeguarding.

Netflix Phishing

Amazon Phishing

[Image Source]

  • As a result, you need to learn how to be extra vigilant so you can spot phishing attempts and keep yourself safe. Some things you can do to spot phishing include:
    • Double check the sender address in an email. Fake emails will often come from somewhere different and not from where communications from that company typically originate.
    • Hover over links you’ve been asked to click on to see if they really lead where they say they do.
    • Look for spelling mistakes or other errors; hackers are notoriously lazy.
    • Do a quick Google search to see if the claim being made in the email is real. If it’s not, there’s a good chance that the company in question will have issued a statement.
    • Familiarize yourself with the different policies being used by the services with which you have accounts. Some say they would never ask for credit card information in an email, so if that’s happening, you know it’s fake.

    Learning how to spot phishing is a bit of an art, and it takes practice. Luckily, to help you, Google has put together this tool to help teach you to spot phishing. Play around with it so that the next time a suspicious email comes through, you can spot it.

    We should note that your email client’s spam filter should catch a lot of this, but plenty of stuff still sneaks through. Don’t think that having spam filters activated is going to completely protect you from the many different threats out there.

    7. Use Anti-Virus Software

    Anti-virus software is pretty much a no-brainer when it comes to keeping your home office secure. It will identify threats as they come up, guide you to safe websites by alerting you when you’re visiting one that isn’t secure and help you remove milder versions of malware while minimizing the damage they can do.

    For PC users, the need for anti-virus software is even greater, but this doesn’t mean Macs are entirely safe. In this case, it’s probably best to speak with someone at your company. They may have a preferred software they want you to use, and if this is the case, they should be able to provide it for free or at the very least at a discounted rate.

    8. Ensure Your WiFi is Protected

    The security of your home WiFi network is a key part of your overall home office security strategy.

Ensure Your WiFi is Protected 1

9. Download a VPN

One thing you may want to consider is installing and using a virtual private network (VPN). These programs encrypt your WiFi connection, which puts up another layer of security and also hides your online activity, helping to improve privacy and keep hackers away.

Depending on the size of the company for which you work, doing this may be a requirement to be able to work from home. But even if it’s not, it still might be something to consider as it will make your network that much more secure.

One thing to note is that using a VPN will likely slow down network performance, so you might not want to use it constantly, or you may want to look into upgrading your connection so that using this security feature won’t slow things down.

10. Ask About Data Encryption

Encrypting data on your computer means that it can only be accessed by those who possess the key that unlocks the encryption. It’s typically used as a safeguard in the event a device is stolen; the person who has it would be unable to access the information stored on the device.

For those using a company device, there’s a good chance this is already installed and activated, but you may want to ask if there is anything you need to do to make sure it’s appropriately set up. If you’re using your own device, there’s a good chance it does not have this feature, so you may want to find out if this is something you should set up to make sure you’re fully protected from any possible threat.

11. Back Up Files Regularly

Losing files is frustrating and can be dangerous if they happen to fall into the wrong hands. If your computer does come down with a virus, sometimes the only thing you can do is wipe the hard drive and start again. All of this means that if you haven’t backed up your files, this can be catastrophic.

So, set up a system to make sure everything is regularly saved somewhere else. You can either do this manually using an external hard drive or by using a cloud service. If you do it manually, set up a reminder on your calendar to remember to do it frequently. Should you choose to use a cloud service, you can usually automate this, but maybe speak with someone at your company to ensure you’re using a service that meets their security standards.

Enjoy the Security of Your Home Office

Working from home provides tremendous benefits to those who have the opportunity to do it. However, as we’ve established here, it can also expose you and your company to a wide range of threats. But this shouldn’t be used as an excuse not to take advantage of the many perks of remote work. Just implement the security strategies discussed here, educate yourself about newly emerging threats, and remain vigilant at all times.

Ready to Sell? April 8, 2022

8 Home Improvements That Add Little Value

: Big home improvements that do not add value.

If your house isn’t brand new, you probably have a list of improvements you’d like to make. Renovating your home can increase its usability, coziness, and aesthetic appeal. And if you ever decide to sell the property, all of these criteria are critical. While some renovations are worth your time and money, some aren’t, and if you decide to sell your property, you may be dismayed to realize that you won’t recoup your investment. There is nothing wrong with making your ideal home a reality. But you have to be aware of the home improvements that do not add value.

1 Upgrades on utilities

You can’t ignore the maintenance that comes with owning a home. It is critical to upkeep the boiler, plumbing, and electrical wiring in a home. You should invest some money in repairs, especially if they require hiring a professional to help you out. However, upgrades of these systems do not add value. They only keep it at the average comp. It’s better to save your money and do something else, like getting a new coat of paint, if the systems in your house are already in good working order.

2 Massive Landscaping Projects

If you go overboard with landscaping, you’ll waste your money and lower the value of your home. Spending on exotic plants, flowers, and trees will not add more value to your house. Instead, aim to remodel your backyard on a budget and find cheap ideas to spruce it up, as that’s all you need. For example, you can lay down sod to make your lawn look lush and beautiful. Add some splashes of color with simple decorations, or paint your fence. These small details will surely add value to your property and attract potential buyers.

3 Lighting

When you’re selling a house, you might think that it’s okay to splurge out on things such as lights. After all, when you’re preparing your house for sale, you’re most likely doing it according to your own perception of what the buyer might want. And you’re right to think about lighting! Buyers want homes with lots of light, especially if it comes from windows that face the sun. However, they will not pay for your pricey lighting enhancements. There is no need to spend large sums of money on fancy lighting fixtures that will not increase the value of your home. Replace expensive chandeliers and high-tech lights with more affordable options- pricier isn’t always better!

4 Garage conversions

It can be tempting to upgrade the garage into an additional useable room, such as an office or another living area. In most cases, however, this isn’t a worthy investment. Adding a room at the expense of a garage isn’t something everyone wants to do. It might also be a huge undertaking. The number of other renovations you will have to do will be stressful enough. And what you want to do is make home renovation simpler, not more complex. You should find ways to ease the process with more straightforward and affordable touch-ups. Garage conversions are costly and lengthy home improvement projects that do not add significant value.

5 Incorporating a sunroom

Most of us love the spring season and the sunshine it brings. And if you’re someone who likes getting their home ready for spring, building a sunroom might seem like a good idea. However, adding a sunroom won’t be worth it in most cases. A sunroom addition is one of the projects with the most negligible influence on resale value. An aesthetic sunroom can help you attract buyers, but it’s just one of those home improvements that do not add value. Instead of building one, brighten your walls and remove any drapes or curtains. This way, you will brighten up your home without an expensive sunroom construction. Not to mention how much time and energy you will manage to save by forgoing this time-consuming renovation project.

6 New floors

New floors can be pricey, and buyers may not like your material of choice. If you have wood flooring, have them sanded and coated instead of refinishing them. If your tiles are cracked, and you need to replace them, play it safe. Remember that your taste won’t necessarily match the buyer’s taste. So it’s best to go with a neutral pattern without any flashy colors.

7 Wall-to-wall carpeting

Even though new carpeting is still a selling point in real estate listings, homebuyers may be put off by the prospect of having all of their rooms covered in it. Due to its ability to trap allergies and the chemicals used to manufacture it, carpeting is becoming less popular among families with children. Excessive carpeting in your home might lower the value of your property. Most buyers nowadays prefer the shine of hardwood floors. That being said, restoring or installing hardwood flooring is almost always preferable.

8 A swimming pool

Swimming pools are among the most common home improvement projects that do not add value. Pools are costly to install but no less expensive to maintain! A pool may deter prospective purchasers due to the additional costs and the safety hazards it presents. Buyers with pets or children, or older couples looking to retire will rarely go for a pool for these reasons. It’s better to use the backyard space as a blank canvas for your potential buyers. Some of them will want space for their dogs or children to play. Others might wish to create a barbecue area to hang out in. Nevertheless, they will imagine the kind of space they want, which might increase their will to buy.

Final words

Some things you might think are desirable when, in reality, they do not add value to your home. We hope this guide has helped you identify those home improvements that do not add value. Think about that when you want to sell your house and before making any home improvements. If you plan to sell your home soon, it’s best to keep it neutral. Do a minor touch-up here and there rather than splurge on unnecessary features. Happy remodeling!