Avoid these Home Improvement Mistakes to Sell Your Home Faster

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Zion Realty

Owning your home means more financial responsibility than merely being an occupying tenant in a rental property. There are a considerable amount of additional costs that go in to purchasing a house such as Home Owners Association fees, insurance, maintenance, and repairs. In spite of the extra expenses having a place to call your own gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment as well as provides a fantastic investment opportunity as equity is built over time. 

One of the best aspects of purchasing your own residence is the ability to put a personal touch in to the decor and style. Paint colors, flooring, lighting, or total room redesigns are all just waiting for you to choose and customize. However, a home owner not only needs to keep their finger on the pulse of todays shifting trends and styles. They should also be thinking of a future when they themselves will be selling the place they called home and new buyers will be viewing their property with as much scrutiny as they once had during their home search. 

Personalizing your home can backfire when taken too far. Potential buyers may be turned off by the custom touches you thought were picture perfect. Here are some home improvement mistakes to avoid that might turn your home in to a hard-to-sell property:



Converted Bedrooms

Most individuals want rooms to serve their original purpose when the home was built. During your time as the home owner whether you closed in a closet, knocked down a wall, or expanded an opening to install french doors, most buyers will have a hard time accepting your alteration. Chances are you probably converted a room to fit your personal needs. But most likely your needs will not be those of the potential buyers viewing the home. These major changes to a floor-plan will also bring in to question the quality of the rooms alterations and whether or not a buyer should be worried that the transformation was done professionally.  


Enclosed Garages

Enclosing a garage space can also turn out to be a negative selling feature. Especially here in Arizona, a garage can serve two very important functions. First and foremost, it shields our vehicles from the damaging effects of the intense Summer Sun. Secondly, most homes built in Arizona do not have basements or attic space for storage so residents use some or all of their garage space to make up for this shortcoming. If you enclose a garage it takes away two desirable features of a home that potential buyers could view as unfavorable. 



In recent years, wallpaper has made a major comeback in design styles. Modern and sophisticated colors and patterns have replaced the stripes and florals of the 80's and 90's. However, that doesn't mean wallpaper is universally accepted as a desirable decor choice. Think twice before adorning your walls with this style option. Potential buyers may view wallpaper as a headache to remove and take your home off the list of possible options.  


Pet doors

Constantly opening the door for your four-legged friends every time they want outside can be a never ending task. Installing a pet door can help maintain an animal owners sanity as well as provide consistent and convenient access to the outdoors anytime nature calls.  But not all home shoppers are pet owners. There are many individuals that will view a large hole that's been placed in the side of a home or through a door as an eye sore as well as a repair item that will need to be addressed if they purchase your home. Over time doggy doors can also get damaged, and become covered in dirt and pet hair if not properly cleaned and maintained. A filthy pet door in poor condition will alienate a large pool of potential buyers. Before having one installed, take this in to consideration. 


Face lift Fails

We've all been to the house of a friend or family member who decided to tackle a home improvement project based upon an on-line article they read or perhaps a YouTube video inspired them to try their hand at home enhancement. Either way, poorly refinished kitchen cabinets, crookedly laid floor tile, or incompetently installed light fixtures can spell disaster when attempting to resell your home. If you are handy with a hammer or skilled with a saw then by all means, enjoy the satisfaction attained from upgrading your property on your own. But if you are unable to replicate that which a professional can accomplish then you may want to lay aside your tools and call in the experts. 


Overbearing Landscapes

Plenty of homeowners have a green thumb and a desire to improve their yards by planting lush bushes, tall shade trees, seasonal flowers, and decorative water features. What you may consider a relaxing paradise others may view as a maintenance nightmare. Not everyone in the market to purchase a property is looking for a never-ending weekend landscaping project. If you go overboard with your outdoor improvements it could be a turn off to a large pool of home shoppers who don't have the same appreciation for nature. There's nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of your labor being able to walk barefoot across your perfectly manicured lawn and trimming your carefully sculpted hedges. Just keep in mind that a garden utopia for you might mean a tough sell in the future as some individuals simply don't have the time or desire to handle the upkeep. 


Shabby Sheds


Having a designated outdoor covered and enclosed storage space to lock-up and protect tools, equipment, seasonal holiday decorations, and any other item of value can be an appealing feature to a home buyer. But if your outbuilding has seen better days and is one more heavy rain storm away from completely falling apart then this property upgrade will be considered more of a hazard to those viewing your home. Thoughts of how to tear down and dispose of the dilapidated structure will begin to run circles in a buyers head distracting them from other more positive aspects of your dwelling.  If you are going to enhance your home owner experience by adding a shed to your property then be prepared to keep it looking as fresh and neat as the main home itself, otherwise it will be a major detraction when it comes time to sell.  


Home improvements are a marvelous way to add your personal touches around your residence and is just one of the many positive aspects of home ownership. However, these  enhancements should be carefully considered with an eye on the future not just on the present. The overwhelming majority of individuals will own and sell multiple properties in their lifetime meaning at some point you will need to attract potential buyers for your home. Your property will need to appeal to the tastes and desires of a broad audience if you hope to compete against other available abodes on the market and have your home sell quickly. 


If you or someone you know are interested in purchasing or selling property in the Gilbert, Arizona or East Valley areas then contact us today at ZionRealtyAZ.com. We'll give you our expert and professional advice on how to prepare your home for sale, or what to look out for when buying a home. 



Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Trisha Bush-LeFore 11/19/2015 04:02 PM
Home Improvement
Arizona Homes
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nicole doty

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Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

Most people don't think "resale" when they customize, as perhaps they should. 

Nov 18, 2015 11:30 PM #29
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Nicole, great post for homeowners, and have seen many of these rehab projects and it does make the home less desirable to the public.

Nov 19, 2015 12:19 AM #30
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

This is a great list.  Love the photos too.  Thank you for posting.  

Nov 19, 2015 12:20 AM #31
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com

Olga - Some people legitimately think that when they purchase a home they will be living in it forever so they can do whatever improvements they want. But that's not often the case. 

Joan - Especially the poorly done DIY versions.

Rob - Good morning Rob. Thanks for much for the read!

Nov 19, 2015 12:35 AM #32
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

You've done it again, Nicole. Another great list of do's and don'ts to save homeowners time and money. So true too. 

Nov 19, 2015 12:35 AM #33
Danielle Doucet Personal Real Estate Corp
Kamloops PropertyFor Sale - Kamloops, BC
Kamloops & Kelowna Real Estate

Hi Nicole, great post, might have to repost on my blog... NIce one.

Nov 19, 2015 01:05 AM #34
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Nicole, you did an excellent job on this post and these are all items homeowners might want to think twice about before proceeding. I love the photo of the pet door with the dog, too cute. 

Nov 19, 2015 02:14 AM #35
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

I have never understood why folks will leave these rusty sheds, thinking they are an asset. Great job with your post, a well deserved feature.

Nov 19, 2015 02:16 AM #36
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Congrats on the well deserved Feature!  Excellent advice....home owners should always consider resale!

Nov 19, 2015 04:06 AM #37
Paula McDonald
Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury - Granbury, TX
Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

The garage conversion is rarely a good thing in my market.  Really hurts the resale significantly.

Nov 19, 2015 04:20 AM #38
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com

Debb - Some people may think their home improvement project was a good idea until their house is sitting on the market for 6 months because buyers disagree.

Danielle - Absolutely. Feel free to re-blog away!

Amanda - Pet doors are a time saver until they become old and dilapidated. Then buyers will look at them as an eye sore and a repair cost. 

Joe - They are a pain to remove and sellers usually want to pass the headache on to someone else. Meanwhile buyers don't want to deal with it either. 

Sharon - Home improvements can be good if done right. But when they're not a homeowner better buckle up because their home might sit on the market for a while. 

Paula - It's the same thing here. If you have a garage turned in to livable space you better plan on being in that home a long time because it's going to be hard to sell. 

Nov 19, 2015 05:32 AM #39
Bob Collopy
Fort Lowell Realty - Phoenix, AZ
We Really Do It All!

Very true about the overbearing landscapes see that problem often in Arizona. 

Nov 19, 2015 05:34 AM #40
Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Richmond, TX


 That is so true we do limit the changes we allow but we are more flexible than any other production builder here!

Nov 19, 2015 09:42 AM #41
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Nicole, I was in a home last week, that the sellers had converted their garage into a sunroom, and then added a new garage. 

Nov 19, 2015 11:38 AM #42
Kathleen Vetrano
RE/MAX Gateway - Falls Church, VA
Helping YOU Achieve YOUR Dreams

This is a wonderful post Nicole.  So important for homeowners while living in their home and deciding on improvements and how to do them.  Thank you.

Nov 19, 2015 12:33 PM #43
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Home and Condo Specialists

We had a listing where the seller turned the 3rd bedroom into a closet. They said they would convert it back to a real bedroom, but buyers really wanted to see it as a REAL 3 bedroom home. 

Nov 19, 2015 06:20 PM #44
Larry Lawfer
YourStories Realty Group powered by Castles Unlimited® - Newton, MA
"I listen for a living." It's all about you.

Well deserved Feature Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert you have hit so many nails directly on their head. Thanks for this incredibly informative post that can be shared over and over again with all the appropriate credit going to you my AR friend.

Nov 19, 2015 09:19 PM #45
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com

Bob - Not everyone likes to do yard work.

Yolanda - But once an owner takes possession there's no one stopping them from making some of these possible "improvement" mistakes that can come back to haunt them. 

Rebecca - That situation might not be as bad since they added back the garage space. 

Kathleen - Home improvements can be good when homeowners think about the bigger picture. 

L & S - Most buyers can't see past what's in front of them. Promises of changing a room back to what it should be isn't enough to get a buyer to envision the possibility. 

Larry - Thanks Larry. I hope to share this article with people many more times in the years to come! It's relevant information now and in the future. 

Nov 19, 2015 11:51 PM #46
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

This is a great list.  Some of the choices can hurt them down the road when it comes time to sell.

Nov 20, 2015 02:13 AM #47
Maria Gilda Racelis
Home Buyers Realty, LLC-Manchester, Bolton. Vernon,Ellington - Manchester, CT
Home Ownership is w/in Reach. We Make it Happen!

Good Afternoon Nicole:

I hope that current and future homeowners can read your dos and don'ts of home improvement.

If they do want to infuse their personal touch, they should be thinking of living in the house for a long time. Not less than 5 years.

Great post!!!

Nov 20, 2015 02:21 AM #48
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Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com
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