5 Things That Could Devalue Your Home

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5 Things That Could Devalue Your Home

When it comes to listing your home on the market, a common concern is wanting to increase its value and allow it to stay competitive in the local area. Many people work to remodel their property or make minor upgrades to increase the selling potential of their home. Although you should   take certain steps to increase what your home is truly worth, there are a few mistakes to avoid to prevent reducing its overall value. There are many different factors that determine the property value. If you know which ones are working against your home then you can prevent losing equity

1. Using Bold Paint Colors

To appeal to a larger group of buyers, use neutral paint on the walls and with the trim. Bold colors stand out like a sore thumb in neighborhoods and can allow them to look outdated or too customized.

Similarly, using colors that are quirky or unpopular in the interior space can detract from the property value and is seen as an extra expense for buyer who will want to repaint the space. Stick with contemporary shades and use an accent wall in one or two rooms of the home for added detail that looks modern. A general rule of thumb is to avoid using colors that are too specific to your personal taste.

2. Remodeled Kitchens

Known as the most important room that buyers focus on when shopping for a property, kitchens are often remodeled and upgraded by homeowners in hopes of increasing their property value. Although having a kitchen that includes fancy appliances and a decorative backsplash can look appealing, it can also be overly done and appear awkward in the average house.

Upgrade your kitchen to a certain degree without going overboard and causing the room to look awkward. It should still match the style and design of the rest of the home to ensure that it flows well and feels comfortable. Avoid overly customizing the space, but instead keeping it neutral to ensure that it appeals to more buyers.

3. A Neglected Yard

The yard and landscaping of your home is what ultimately makes the first impression with buyers and will determine their interest in the property. If you can’t win them over with the exterior of the home, then you likely won’t sell them on the interior space if you’ve already left a bad taste in their mouth.

The lawn should be manicured and tidy without children’s toys or yard tools left out. Add shrubs, flowers, and potted plants around the house to fill in bare spots and enhance how welcoming the home looks. If the yard is well-cared for, it will assure buyers that you’ve also worked hard to maintain the property and have kept up with repairs. If the curb appeal is lacking, it will cause buyers to question how much it’ll cost them to redo the landscaping and will work against your chances of getting a higher offer.

4. Bad DIY Projects

With Pinterest and DIY Home Renovation shows a hit in today’s society, it’s common to see homes that have incomplete or poor DIY projects that were performed by the homeowners. Unfortunately, many of projects look unprofessional and hoaky for a feature that can quickly reduce the selling price of the home. Buyers will want to avoid making an offer due to the time and money that they’ll need to invest in redoing the projects themselves or by hiring a professional. Hire a contractor who can redo the projects before listing your home to ensure that everything looks complete and attractive to potential buyers.

5. Wasted Square Footage

Your home may be too big for your family, but it doesn’t mean that you need to neglect the square footage that isn’t being used. Show buyers the potential of every room in the home by creating a purpose for the space. If you have an attic that is filled with junk, transform it into a home office or entertainment room. For basements, consider refinishing the space and using it as a guest room or home gym. Refinishing specific areas will also increase the property value with the added square footage that can be used.


Before listing your home on the market, there are a number of features and rooms to inspect to ensure that you avoid reducing your property value. By preventing common mistakes and maintaining a neutral style, it will work to increase the overall appeal of your property and help you sell at a higher price for a home that you can truly be proud to show to future buyers


Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Nina Hollander 01/20/2015 08:32 PM
  2. Winston Heverly 09/05/2015 01:44 PM
  3. Tina Parker 11/20/2015 01:35 AM
Home Selling
New York Suffolk County Sayville
home value
home improvement
the mortgage outlet

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Marilyn O'Donoghue
Long & Foster Avalon - Avalon, NJ

Great point regarding the outside.  Many sellers focus on the inside but curb appeal is important as well.  Buyers search online and then drive by the property.  Sellers need to show they care about their house starting with the outside.

Jan 21, 2015 06:20 AM #36
Janelle Ancillotti
Seneca Home Staging - Syracuse, NY
HSR Certified Home Stager, Syracuse, NY

Great title, David. #5 is something many people don't consider. I just saw a home that had a formal living room and a formal dining room that were devoid of any furniture that would suggest their purpose. Such a waste!

Jan 21, 2015 06:42 AM #37
Sergio & Jan Hernandez
Downing Frye Realty Inc - Naples, FL

All great points!  That first impression is what can make or break that sale!

Jan 21, 2015 06:50 AM #38
Rita Harris
W.P. & Assoc. - Seattle, WA
Specialty: Immigrant families & vintage homes

Thank you for posting.  

The kitchen comment - I guess it depends on where you are in the country, yes?  In my area, sellers used to get by with just having a "nice and clean kitchen."  Now I hear weekly about how some buyers MUST have granite counters and new cabs, or, if one is on the upscale side of things, the Maple cabs and granite are passe and the buyers have a different expectation.  Houses with the "wrong" presentation don't always sell....

LOVED your other points, especially about the curb appeal.  Again, in the grey and drizzle of Seattle, it's wonderful to come across a yard freshly planted with color spots and new bags of bark spread.  Someone else's comment about the front door - cracked me up!  Ick on those dark fingerprint smudges and old hardward.  You wanna tell the seller, "Duuuuuuude....."  LOL

All the best from the Northwest!

Rita Harris, Broker
WP and Associates (Seattle)

Jan 21, 2015 07:10 AM #39
Liane Thomas -Top Listing Agent
Professional Realty Services® International - Corona, CA
Bringing you Home!

This is a wonderful list! I especially agree with the neglected yard. In our warm corner of California, buyers expect a green lawn all year around.

Jan 21, 2015 07:54 AM #40
Lynette Bruster
Long Realty Company - Tucson, AZ
ABR, Associate Broker

The DIY channels have created MONSTERS!!!  

Jan 21, 2015 08:39 AM #41
Cat Zwicker, CRS
Desert Sky Real Estate, LLC - Redmond, OR
Down to Earth Service; Out of this World Results!

Spot on David. This is a great short list to share with sellers. 

Jan 21, 2015 09:08 AM #42
Trent Dalrymple (248) 854-0625
Texana Bank - Bloomfield Hills, MI
Allowing Mortgage Professionals to Lend Nationwide

The problem most homeowners will have with improvements is they only want what pleases them, not a future buyer.  Let's face it, if we stay in our homes long enough even we won't care for what we've done to the place!

Jan 21, 2015 09:27 AM #43
Jacy Bowers
Cherry Creek Properties - Westminster, CO
"Working at the Speed of YOU!'

Yes, agree with all of those. I've see a few good DYI kitchens, but  if you usually look close, you can see the homemade job. It always looks easier than it is..

Jan 21, 2015 10:25 AM #44
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear David,

Today, I showed a home that was generally clean & neutral. The kitchen had a white 4" tile back splash. However, someone went to town with accent tiles: several were nautical, several were tropical fish, above the sink, they had graphic flowers, there were fruit & vegetables & all the outlet covers were water color flowers. Really crazy. Sticking to just plain white or going with only one theme might have been better. Regarding walls, I do not mind bold colors, since they are quickly redone, but I like ceilings, trim & floors to be reasonably neutral.

Jan 21, 2015 12:24 PM #45
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

David, these are all good points. I like the detail that you added to the five topics.

Jan 21, 2015 02:06 PM #46
RVA HomePRO Michael Hottman
RVA HomePRO Realtor with Keller Williams serving Hanover, Henrico, Chesterfiled and Richmond, Virginia - Glen Allen, VA
Helping you achieve goals in life & real estate

Home improvements don't always improve the value of a home. When ever you do remodeing projects you have to think about what it really means when you go to sell.

Jan 21, 2015 02:38 PM #47
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning David,

I came over from Nina's re-blogg of your post and I'm so glad I did! Excellent post and your 5 tips are right one! These shows have fostered so many projects done by homeowners and really is a shame. I live by a motto "I do what I do best and hire the rest!"

Jan 21, 2015 09:08 PM #48
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

IMO, the most important valuation is the neighborhood. The list you have are also important, however, if the neighborhood is not appealing, whose going to pay top dollar for a home, especially if your adjacent neighbors property is unkempt? 

Jan 22, 2015 04:11 AM #49
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

You are so right!  This is exactly why I tell my clients, "If you are going to remodel please call me so I can advise you."  Hey - sounds like a great blog in the making!

Jan 22, 2015 11:36 AM #50
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

This is a great list. You are right to be careful with the remodeling. I have seen many improvements that do not recoup their cost.

Apr 04, 2015 02:54 AM #51
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

David Bailey - sellers think ususally that they will get more than what they are investing in a home. Does not happen that way. In fact, doing few thing as you mentioned may reduce the value of the home.

Sep 05, 2015 02:37 PM #52
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

David - There are certainly things one doesn't want to do when getting ready to sell their home. Buyers have a hard time looking past the things you mentioned.

Sep 06, 2015 02:05 PM #53
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Thanks for the list David, certainly things that we should be aware of while getting homes ready for market.


Sep 06, 2015 04:40 PM #54
Tina Parker
Keller Williams Select Realty - Bedford, NS
CNE, REDM, SRES, CSP Home Staging REALTOR, Halifax

Great list. I agree with all of them.

Nov 20, 2015 01:32 AM #55
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