The Top 10 Home Improvements That Could Devalue Your Home

By
Real Estate Agent with Akerly Real Estate Team

By Donna Dazzo of Village Confidential 

Donna Dazzo of Designed to AppealSometimes, 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?".

About the author:

Donna Dazzo is a Village Confidential contributor.  In 2007, she decided to combine her talent for interior decorating and love of interior, architectural and industrial design with over 20 years of experience in project management and marketing, and formed Designed to Appeal, LLC

A self-described residential real estate junkie and HGTV addict, Donna will help you to maximize the profit from a house or apartment, whether for rent or for sale.  Donna is always investigating the latest interior design and real estate trends from her home in New York City and her Hamptons retreat. 

For more information, see www.DesignedToAppeal.com.

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Rainer
57,540
Mark Nehs
Mortgage Loan Officer Waukesha Wisconsin - Pewaukee, WI

Good points in fact 10 of them and good things to keep in mind for things not to do.  Thanks for sharing the article Mike. 

Mar 23, 2011 08:28 PM #1
Rainer
31,908
Nina Gail Betancourt
North Country Sotheby's International Realty - Croton on Hudson, NY
Westchester County NY

It's amazing how some of the very items that can add value, can detract if not done in a widely appealing way. Great points.

Mar 23, 2011 08:36 PM #2
Rainmaker
242,839
Marge Draper
Keller Williams Realty Palo Alto - Menlo Park, CA
REALTOR, Keller Williams Realty, Menlo Park CA

This is a good list.  I saw a home not too long ago that was very tastefully staged.  The sellers had up-dated a 1950's house with a granite on the counters kitchen (so far, so good), then put a huge refrigerator in that overwhelmed the kitchen.  Sure the buyers could change it out, but it's no longer move-in ready.

Mar 23, 2011 08:36 PM #3
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Rainer
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Akerly Real Estate Team Manhattan & Brooklyn Real Estate

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