10 (plus 2) things that reduce the value of your home

February 1, 2021

Do you know what negatively impacts the value of your home, making it harder to sell? Amanda Prischak, in a December 16, 2020, piece for Family Handyman.com, sure does. Here’s what she says…

  1. Bad neighbors – Do you have a neighbor with junk in his yard, loud dogs, or pick-up trucks and cars parked on the lawn, crowding the driveway or street in front of the home? This will not only discourage buyers, but erode the value of your property, as well as theirs.
  2. Poor quality exterior paint – Your home’s exterior is the first thing a buyer sees. Exterior paint that’s faded, cracked or peeling is a turnoff.
  3. Deferred maintenance: Does your home have damaged siding, a leaky roof, wood rot, outdated electrical, cracked driveways and walkways, or an HVAC system that’s seen better days? If so, it’s best to tackle these before putting your home on the market, as a home inspection will reveal them, and the buyer will probably ask you to repair or replace them anyway.
  4. A garage conversion: If you’ve converted your garage into a family room, home gym, office or anything that prevents cars from being parked there, it will lower the value of your home. Most buyers want space for their cars and lawn equipment. If you’ve converted your garage for a different use, try to do so in a way that makes it easy to convert it back to a conventional garage.
  5. Neighborhood foreclosures: A foreclosure close to your home hurts your property value, for two reasons: First, appraisers look at the homes in your neighborhood to compare with yours. The lower value of a foreclosed home may lower the value an appraiser puts on your home. (A home appraisal is required for any home whose buyer is getting a loan. It’s not required when a home is purchased with cash, because no bank is involved). Second, a foreclosed home may sit vacant for a time, with both deferred maintenance and sporadic lawn care. Empty homes may mean an area is more prone to vandalism, deterioration or even squatters.

Writing on July 23, 2020, for HomeLight.com, Presley Attardo adds these…

6. Noise pollution – Some people don’t mind noise, but it’s not a positive for most buyers. Living near a highway, train tracks, a factory, an industrial area or an airport will be negatives when selling your home.

7. Proximity to certain facilities: Studies show that living close to a cemetery, a funeral home, a shooting range, a power plant or a hospital, for example, reduce the value of your home.

8. Local crime rate and registered sex offenders – A real estate agent is not allowed to provide these statistics to you. The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discussion of crime rates, demographics or any other statistics that could be used to discriminate against any protected group. However, some of this information can be found online or be obtained from the local police department. A buyer might also look for indications of potential crime by observing whether there are bars on windows and doors, or graffiti on buildings.

9.  Home improvements or additions not to code – Building additions without a permit will come back to bite the hopeful seller. Such additions are illegal and will not count as extra square footage when the home is appraised. When revealed to a buyer, he or she may expect the seller to reduce the sale price, as the buyer may have to pay to bring the work up to code, or try to obtain a retroactive building permit.

10. Outdated kitchens and bathrooms – It’s a real estate truism that kitchens and baths sell homes. Nothing dates a home like original cabinets, countertops, appliances and fixtures, which evolve over time.

11.  Too much carpet – Today’s buyers prefer wood floors (laminate or hardwood), or Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) instead of carpet, although they usually don’t mind carpet in bedrooms. Lots of carpet dates a home. 

12. Too much personalization and clutter – Buyers want to picture themselves living in your home, but family pictures, banners of sports teams, decor specific to the seller’s taste, and rooms crowded with too much furniture and too many knick-knacks will make this more difficult.

So, there you have it. Now you know many of the things that will reduce the value of your home and result in a lower sales price. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.