MSN Real Estate recently had an excellent article on things people do to homes that actually devalues them. I thought the list was pretty spot on, and so I want to share it with you here. I will also give you my take on each item.
Over Developing for your Area
Your home is directly affected by the surrounding homes in your area. That old adage location, location, location really does hold true. So don’t expect to get all of your money back if the surrounding properties are selling for significantly less.
My personal pet peeve is when a great old house gets gutted and made “up-to-date”. 1980’s kitchens in 1920’s bungalows and just horrible. When you remodel, try to respect the style of the home and work within it’s parameters. You must have liked it at least a little, otherwise you wouldn’t have bought the house, right?
Fully Enclosing a Front Porch
While it may be a good way to create an entry space, it really has a huge impact on the curb appeal of the house. Consider doing a partial enclosure, or perhaps screened porch.
Too Much “You” in Your Home
I once toured a house with about a 100 dolls displayed. They were having little tea parties and sitting on doilies. This creates a total distraction that most people don’t relate to. It certainly puts off potential buyers.
Messing Up the Floorplan
A floor plan should be easy to maneuver in. You shouldn’t have to go through rooms to get to other rooms such as adding a bedroom to the back of a bedroom. If it seems odd, it is.
Keeping an Above-Ground Pool
No one wants to have to remove and take away other people’s abandoned toys. They are also a bit of a monolith to look at. Get rid of it.
Tackling Big Projects Yourself
While the temptation to save money may be strong, you could actually loose money in the end. Get it done right. It needs to look like it was professionally done.
Over-stuffing a Remodel
Less can actually be more. Over-filling a space will make it feel small and cramped. Declutter to enlarge rooms. They should feel spacious and bright.
This is a tough one. If you are buying a new home, building an addition, or remodeling an existing home, you are restricted by what you can find to purchase. So the show rooms and stores are going to have what is current and popular today. I see 2 solutions: stick with classic colors and styles, or consider shopping at stores that recycle and resell house parts. The author of the article that I obtained this list from specifically mentioned the little skinny tiles currently being used in counter back splashes. It is true that they just scream 2013. But if you like them, use them. Just know that in a few years they’ll we need to be replaced.
Converting the Garage
If you do a garage conversion, leave the door and door tracks in place so that it can be easily converted back. This will preserve the curb appeal of the house and allow a future owner to retain the garage.
Not Getting Permits
Don’t even think of doing remodeling without proper permits. Not only will it create an obstacle at the time of resale, but it could have serious consequences if you ever make a claim with your home owner’s insurance.
Brass that was so popular in the 1990’s is out, out, out. You can buy bathroom conversion kits for things like shower doors, and then go after changing out the hinges, knobs, and light fixtures. This sort of project is rather labor intensive. Consider doing it a bit at a time so that after a few months it’s complete. I think this is one of the single easiest items to do to improve value.
No, purple is not a good idea. Over-powering decorating is a total distraction. Having said this, don’t be afraid of color. All white is not currently very popular either. My advice is to go and visit some new neighborhoods with model homes. Builders hire designers to tastefully select colors. You’ll get some good ideas that should be pretty safe.
This one is a bit like the frog in the pan of slowly heated water. We live in our homes and get used to them. When the house is listed for sale, all of those little things you have grown used to may be just the combination that keeps the house from selling. And the single biggest flaw that is easily fixed is cleaning the house. Clean it top to bottom, every window, every closet. Make it sparkle.
I hope you find this helpful.