Feeling great – you’re a homeowner now, and you can say goodbye to consistency the moment you turn your apartment keys over to your now-former landlord. The world is your canvas — at least, the home that you now are obligated to pay a monthly mortgage payment on or better yet fully own.
You most likely have big dreams for your new home; however, be realistic. Although there are lots of changes you can make that will update or upgrade your new home, there are others that can potentially devastate its value. This is no small thing.
If you thought that ugly entryway light fixture was a real turn-off, just read on to learn about things potential buyers will find extremely unappealing down the road.
There’s Good, There’s Bad and There’s Ugly
The fact is every homeowner will leave a mark on the homes they own, this is inevitable. The only question you need to ask yourself is if your mark will be a good one. Will you be the homeowner who planted the gorgeous maple tree that eventually turns into a beloved climbing tree or are you the one that glued neon green shag carpet to the hardwood floors?
Here is a short list of some of the most dramatic ways to destroy your home’s value without even trying that hard. Hopefully, you will have avoided these problems when you go to sell someday.
This is an important point to note: if you’re in your forever home, you can decorate however you like. Plus you don’t need to sell that puppy. Just be aware that your outrageous choices could prevent things like refinances and even reverse mortgages down the road.
Having made those disclosures, let’s talk about home value-destroying projects!
4 Things That Can Lower Your Home’s Resell Value
Learn to tune out all the advice from random people that are not pros in the field of home ownership. Most people own two or three homes in their lives, which doesn’t give them a whole lot of experience with market values and making upgrades that will make a house special.
Realtors, general contractors, and other home pros, on the other hand, make it their business to know what’s just in vogue and what’s a classic, the sort of modification that will stand the test of time. These are the people to ask when you really need a second set of eyes.
But, before you even get that far, let’s count down some of the worst ideas for your new home.
#4 Over-Personalizing the Place
Everyone wants to make their house their own. However, step away from the orange wallpaper and the lime green tiles, just for a minute, and think this through. Some buyers can see past over-personalization, while others cannot. There’s a reason Realtors used to advise sellers to paint everything beige, it creates a blank pallet for a buyer to start from.
If you want to use quirky wallpaper, choose something easy to remove when you go to sell. You should choose a mostly neutral tile that can go with any color scheme. In short, tone it down a bit. However, feel free to paint to your heart’s desire — just plan to repaint before you put the house on the market. (I have a client right now whose home we just put on the market, and before we did, she repainted the self-proclaimed ‘rainbow bedroom’ a neutral color).
The amazing thing is that some personalization can be very expensive. I saw a property once where the owner had put over $50,000 worth of Italian Marble in the bathroom… but the design was so specific, that it was like a custom painting. When it was time to sell, he wanted to get that much more out of the house… but the buyers were all wondering how much it was going to cost to remove it all…
When a buyer walks into your home, the first impression they have informs every other thought they have as they walk through. They’re simultaneously calculating two things in their heads: “How much can I afford to pay for this house?” and “How much will I have to pay to fix this place?” And every intolerable thing they encounter is another thing that goes into the repair budget. As it grows, the price they’re willing to pay shrinks.
Oh, you left the flamingo wallpaper in your bedroom? The repair budget’s getting pretty heavy. And these are just the immediately visible things, they haven’t yet gotten to the inspection period. The point here is: do you do it in a way that can be reversed before potential buyers see the house?
#3. Converting the Garage to Anything Else
There’s a difference between using your garage as a gym and making it a gym permanently. When it’s a permanent gym, you can’t push some stuff out of the way and pull the car in really quick to get it out of the rain. You probably don’t even have a garage door anymore!
Many people have made this hasty decision, turning their garages into master suites, home gyms, playrooms, and home offices. They are not considering the long-term ramifications. Then, after dumping thousands of dollars into the project, they find out that it’s extremely difficult to resell their home.
No matter how professionally the conversion was done (and some are done very well), the buyer says to themselves, “Where am I going to park my car and store my holiday decorations?”
Buyers come into a transaction with a certain set of expectations and, frankly, when they’re looking at houses in certain areas or certain prices that typically come with garages, it is quite disturbing to find one that doesn’t quite fit the model. That’s the beginning of the price-chopping spiral. Eventually, you’ll discount the house much more than you ever intended or just give up on selling, and either and rent it out or not move at all.
#2. Tearing Down (Some) Walls
This one is not a hard and fast rule. There are sometimes walls that should come out. But don’t make this call without consulting with an architect, or a general contractor, and probably an interior designer as well, since there are several things to consider, including the structural integrity and flow of the home.
The walls that you definitely should never tear out are the ones that reduce the bathroom or bedroom count; unless you have something like five or more bedrooms and three or more bathrooms. At that point, you have a little wiggle room. As long as you maintain the American standard of a three-bedroom, two-bath home (or whatever is standard in your neighborhood), you’re probably ok.
However, turning a three-bedroom home into a two-bedroom home because you wanted to expand a bedroom is a value killer. If you think about it from a market perspective, it might make a bit more sense. A larger, or more mature, family is most likely to buy a three-bedroom home. They’re going to have a bigger budget because there are two incomes, they need more partitioned spaces because there are possibly teenagers involved.
The same house with the same square footage, but with two bedrooms, is more likely to be shown to young families with small children, possibly only one income while one parent stays home to raise the toddlers or even single people. Their budgets are smaller, which means that the two-bedroom market simply doesn’t support the higher prices of the three-bedroom market.
When your home is appraised, your appraiser will be pulling comparable homes based on things like the neighborhood, square footage, and the number of bedrooms and baths. So, if the other two-bedroom homes are selling for $30k less than three bedrooms, that means yours is going to appraise somewhere well below where you might expect, maybe even below what you paid for it.
Bottom line: Don’t knock out walls without professional consultations with your Realtor and an architect or general contractor so you can understand the full impact of this decision.
#1. Unprofessional DIY Repairs
There are two kinds of DIYers: those with significant trade experience and those without. If your main qualifications involve eighth-grade shop class, you probably should not try to handle any big jobs on your own. Start small and work your way up, watch lots of YouTube videos, practice on test materials that don’t affect your home and for the sake of your house and your financial future, and recognize and accept when you’re in over your head.
A home pro is often less expensive than you might imagine if you just call them in first. When they’re asked to clean up a bad repair and still make the original correction, it can cost a lot extra.
Finding these sorts of obvious DIY repairs in a home is a distressing vision for potential buyers. When buyers see these, they wonder what else you’ve tried to repair on your own. Their thoughts go to – did you rewire the electrical box? Is the house going to burn down in the night because you did something to the HVAC?
Since they don’t know you or your level of competency, they just see that one botched repair and hyperfocus on it until they either walk away or submit an offer significantly lower than what you were expecting.
Protecting Your Home’s Value is Simple
It’s really quite simple to protect your home’s value, despite how this article may make it sound. Just ask yourself two simple questions: “Can I do this myself?” and “Is this decision one that will stand the test of time? If not, is it easy to undo?”
Now it’s time to contact me, Jeff Howard, your Realtor for life. I will be happy to recommend a company to fix the DIY things that need a professional touch before we put your home up for sale. This way we eliminate any worries by would-be buyers.
Do you have a need for commercial/industrial/retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want a guaranteed cash offer? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com
Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff