In a seller’s market, homeowners often dismiss calls from real estate agents to maintain, repair or update their properties. They assume because the market is hot, buyers are desperate and available homes are so limited that their home will easily sell for top dollar. However, there are a number of surprising things that could bring down a home’s value. From botched remodels to patterned wallpaper, keep reading to learn which design choices turn buyers away.
It should come as no surprise that your funky wallpaper, stamped linoleum or colorful glass tiling might not be someone else’s cup of tea and could therefore bring your home’s value down later when you go to sell. Real estate agents often warn sellers to avoid polarizing colors, textures and patterns with limited appeal. Instead, they suggest neutral wall paint, classic tiling and simple flooring. Homeowners should look at their home from the buyer’s perspective, considering how they might be swayed either towards or away from making a purchase. Most buyers will wish to change something about your home, even if willing to pay the asking price. As such, doing away with difficult to replace finishes like pasted wallpaper or tiled flooring makes a property more attractive to finicky buyers. Creating a fresh, modern, depersonalized space is key to selling a home for top dollar.
Typically, any element within a home that echoes or amplifies sound can reduce the property’s eventual sale price. Of course, external noise like that from local businesses, neighbors, barking dogs or passing traffic can also reduce the appraisal value of a home. In a recent article for Realtor.com, Kimberly Dawn Neumann writes that noise pollution can significantly discount certain residential properties. For instance, those located within “a 2-mile radius of an airport will discount prices 13.2% from other homes in the same zip code.” Proximity to railroad tracks, highways and other traffic can also hurt the value of your home.
Unfortunately, internal noise can be just as — if not more — offensive for prospective buyers. High ceilings, poorly insulated walls and hollow floors can all exaggerate noise within a house. Vaulted ceilings and large rooms can produce “flutter echo” throughout the space. “Flutter echo” refers to the echoing of multiple sounds at once within a single space. This can make entertaining difficult and privacy impossible. Poorly insulated walls and floors can also impact noise pollution within the home.
There are a few ways in which homeowners can fix poor acoustics before listing their property for sale. Heavy furniture — such as a bookcase set against the wall — can limit echoes from traveling around the room by diffusing the sound. Those with creaky hardwood floors should consider area rugs or carpeting (particularly upstairs) to prevent foot traffic noise from drifting downstairs. Window treatments, strategically placed potted plants and large-scale artworks can also limit sound from bouncing around a room. If a home is plagued by excessive external noise pollution, homeowners might consider replacing windows and doors with tightly sealed versions before listing.
Not all renovations, remodels or updates increase a home’s value. In fact, some can actually leave a home sitting on the market far longer than expected, eventually selling below the asking price. Incomplete home improvements and poorly executed renovations rarely produce a favorable outcome for the seller. This is because they signal to a prospective buyer that he or she must finish or undo these “improvements.” Furthermore, incomplete improvements — particularly those of a structural nature — can affect a buyer’s ability to secure a mortgage for that home.
As such, incomplete home improvements can scare buyers away. In the event that incomplete home improvements do not scare buyers away, prospective buyers might include a contingency clause within their contract. The buyer might either require the seller to meet an appraisal value or to complete the renovations before the property changes ownership. Either way, unfinished renovations can cause homeowners unnecessary headaches while costing them significant amounts of money.
There is a reason that real estate agents and home stagers emphasize curb appeal when listing a home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). To a certain extent, perception is everything when marketing a home for sale. Peeling paint, disjointed shingles and messy landscaping can kill a deal before buyers even step foot inside the home. Some realtors estimate that a disheveled front yard could reduce the eventual sale price of a home as much as 10%.
In an article for Homelight.com, Dena Landon explains why buyers judge homes by their exteriors. According to Landon, “many homebuyers view curb appeal as an indication of how meticulous you are keeping up other parts of your house.” They assume that if the homeowner “takes pride of ownership on the exterior, this carries through to the home’s interior.” As such, homes that look more like the “neighborhood’s ugly duckling” than the shining star of a street tend to sell for less.
Main takeaway: whether you are planning to sell or stay in your home, it is important to prioritize home maintenance on the exterior and interior to avoid bringing down your home’s value. Click here for The Ultimate Home Maintenance Guide to help assist you in that process.
Between the 1930s and 1990s, popcorn ceilings were all the rage. They were popular due to their ability to mask flaws and improve the acoustics of a space. Viewed as aesthetically outdated, difficult to clean and costly to remove, textured walls and popcorn ceilings have lost their appeal and bring a home’s value down. As such, keeping popcorn ceilings or textured walls could peel a few thousand dollars off the asking price of your home.
While some buyers will place a lower bid, others will instantly walk away from a home featuring popcorn ceilings or textured walls. This is because savvy home buyers often assume textured surfaces were applied to hide leaks or disguise damage. According to an article for Homelight.com, removing a popcorn ceiling could “add $25,000 to $35,000 in value” to an upmarket value home.
The last on our list of things that could lower the value of your home is lack of consistency. Buyers prefer homes with consistent quality and style throughout the interior. For example, a buyer might be turned off by a home with an updated powder room and an older master suite. Similarly, homes with competing themes or finishes from room to room can confuse or distract a buyer.
Creating a cohesive interior is key to optimizing a prospective buyer’s experience when exploring the home. To avoid lack of consistency, follow Lauren Flanagan’s advice in her article “How To Decorate Rooms So They Work Together” for The Spruce. Flanagan suggests opting for a singular neutral color palette. She also suggests repeating textures throughout the entire interior and choosing one flooring material — particularly in spaces with open floor plans.
As detailed above, neglecting your home’s exterior or decorating inconsistently can bring your home’s value down. Falling prey to remodeling trends or leaving improvements incomplete can also prevent your home from selling for more. Feel more confident when listing your property by investing in the right home improvement team. VanderBeken Remodel has decades of experience transforming outdated spaces into those that welcome and delight potential buyers. An added bonus, after remodeling your home, you might just decide you want to stay there after all. Contact us today to explore the possibilities.
We are a local design|build remodeling firm with 30+ years of experience building beautiful spaces for fantastic people in Snohomish County, Washington.
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