The Top 10 Home Improvements That Could Devalue Your Home

By
Home Stager with Designed to Appeal, LLC

Sometimes, making an improvement to your home could actually hurt you when you try to sell it. 

Here are the top 10 home improvements that can make your home harder to sell: 

1. Kitchen Renovation. Any renovation of a kitchen that is too taste-specific or extreme in design. For example, a kitchen equipped with a restaurant-level stove or multiple refrigerators may not appeal to the buyer who is a simple cook. You want to appeal to the broadest range of buyers when selling a home, and if a buyer thinks they need to spend money re-doing what you've done, they will offer less. 

2. Bathroom Renovations. The same can be said for bathroom renovations. Any design that is over the top could detract from the value of the home. It's best to avoid garish sinks, faucets, and tiles.  And skip the heart-shaped bathtub!

 3. Painting. Painting the walls is a great way to freshen up a space prior to putting your home on the market, but painting with bold colors such as red, orange, purple or even black (I've seen this) is a sure way to turn off a potential buyer. Buyers want to feel like they can move right in and not have to re-paint the walls to match their own tastes and their existing furniture.  The same goes for painting the exterior of the home - no bright blues, yellows or greens please!

4. Water Features. Having an in-ground pool, hot tub, waterfall or pond can also devalue a home, as buyers may perceive these as extra maintenance expenses they don't want to incur. Also, buyers with small children may be fearful of these as well. The only exception of an in-ground pool definitely adding value is if the home is an investment property in a resort area where renters find homes with a pool to be more desirable.

5. "Wasted" Square Footage. Taking valuable square footage in a house and using it for a specific, personalized purpose can make the house harder to sell and/or detract from its value, for example, turning a garage into a gym. Also, on the Bravo TV show, Nine By Design, the hosts of the show were trying to sell their NYC townhouse. The ground floor was taken up by a basketball/squash court because the owners liked to play these games. However, most buyers would see this as wasted space and an expensive project ahead to change.

6. Redecorating. Redecorating in a highly taste-specific style, such as Asian, country clutter or extreme modern can turn-off potential buyers. When selling your home, you want to appeal to the broadest range of buyers, so it's important that the furniture and décor is neutral and broadly appealing.

7. Illegal home improvements.  Decks, driveways, expansions, etc.  not approved by the local town authorities  can devalue the home as you will probably be forced to correct the situation prior to selling which could result in something as extreme as actually removing it.

8. Laminated Wood Flooring.  Installing laminated wood flooring instead of solid wood in an upscale home can also cause a buyer to think "I've got to rip this out"!  Better to refinish existing hardwood floors, if any, or cover floors with new but inexpensive wall-to-wall carpeting.

9. DIY Home Repairs. While needed repairs and maintenance should be done to a home before putting it on the market, doing these yourself could end up costing you money in the end as buyers perceive your shoddy workmanship as something they have to spend money correcting, and therefore offering you a lower price.

10. Gardens and Landscaping. A high-maintenance garden and landscaping could also lower the value of a home. If buyers are not avid gardeners or don't want to spend money watering or on hiring someone to constantly weed, trim and rotate your plantings, this could be a real turn-off.

So, before you decide to make that improvement to your home, stop and ask yourself: "Will most buyers find this desirable so that they would be willing to pay for it, or is it just to satisfy my own needs and tastes?".

Do you know of any home improvements that could devalue a home?

© Copyright 2010 Designed to Appeal, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.

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Re-Bloggged 26 times:

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Rainer
2,868
Teresa Ramey
ReDecorating with Style

Great blog.  Thanks for posting it.  Sometimes people get excited about reinventing their homes and may not realize that it could be hurting more than helping.

August 11, 2010 07:19 PM
Rainmaker
44,581
Donna Dazzo
Home Stager in the Hamptons & New York
Designed to Appeal, LLC

Thank you all for your comments and support.  Just today I went to an owner occupied apartment here in Manhattan to do an estimate for bringing in some furniture and in the kitchen was a purple Viking Stove (the owner said it was blue) and granite countertops in a terrible shade of Hunter green.  The real estate agent told her that he had received many comments such as "why did they put that thing in here?".  She said, well I like color.  I explained to her that this will not appeal to most buyers and they will just think they have to spend money replacing it.  This is a perfect example of a homeowner making an improvement (Viking stoves are expensive) to satisfy themselves without a thought to the future resale value. I also had to tell her to remove the wall of family photos.

See the picture for yourself. 

August 11, 2010 09:03 PM
Rainmaker
821,559
Marc Swartz
CPA, CA - Toronto, Durham & York Regions, Ontario

Donna - It is rare to see articles written from the perspective of renovations that can DEVALUE home value.

August 18, 2010 06:48 AM
Ambassador
2,272,402
Patricia Kennedy
For Your Home in the Capital
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc.

Donna, you certainly earned your gold star with this one!  Excellent advice!

September 01, 2010 12:24 PM
Rainmaker
971,395
Sharon Alters
Your Fleming Island Relocation Agents.
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty

Donna, here in Florida a pool is usually a plus but I can certainly understand that in colder climates it wouldn't be as desirable. Great list!

October 23, 2010 11:42 PM
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Rainmaker
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Donna Dazzo

Home Stager in the Hamptons & New York
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