8 Factors That Devalue A Good Home

By Janet Fowler | May 13, 2011 AAA
8 Factors That Devalue A Good Home

If you're considering selling your home, there are a number of factors you should consider regarding the resale value of your property. Some of these issues may devalue your home or scare some potential buyers away entirely, even if your home is an otherwise outstanding property! Consider these eight factors when listing your home.

TUTORIAL: What is Real Estate?

1. Location, Location, Location
Many real estate television shows repeat this phrase over and over. Buying a home in an area that provides residents with access to services and effective transportation is important - though many buyers don't wish to live too close to airports and busy roads for fear of noise.

Visual appeal is another concern. Cell phone towers and power lines can be seen as eyesores - or possibly even having potential health hazards. Local school closures can also deter potential buyers who have children or who are considering having children in the near future. Some buyers may be leery of purchasing homes that are on flood plains.

To ensure maximum resale potential, consider how many of these types of issues exist near the properties you're considering. Remember, though, there's no way of knowing exactly how a neighborhood will evolve over time. (A lazy or incompetent real estate agent could spell disaster. For more, see Finding A Good Real Estate Agent.)

2. Good Renovations Gone Bad
If your home looks like a DIY nightmare, this can definitely devalue your home. Though putting money into renovations generally increases the value of a home, poorly done renovations can have the opposite effect. If buyers feel that the renovations will have to be redone, there's a good chance they'll make a lower offer or keep looking for a move-in ready home.

3. Overly Creative Customization
That bright pink feature wall might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but the truth is that unusual paint choices - both inside and outside the home - can turn buyers off, even if your customization is the cutting edge trend in current home design magazines. Customizing spaces so that they may not be functional to future buyers, like turning the garage into a home gym or a granny apartment, might make some buyers reluctant to buy your property.

The same can be said for unique landscaping choices or renovations that are too high scale for the house. A professional chef's kitchen or marble bathrooms in a modest home suited to first-time buyers won't likely provide a good return on investment. (Don't put the sale of your home at risk by committing one of these dirty deeds. For more, see Selling Your House? Avoid These Mistakes.)

4. Unappealing Curb Appeal
The first thing potential buyers will see is the exterior of the property. If the house appears to be outdated or in poor repair on the outside, people will assume it is the same for the inside. Water features or swimming pools and overly landscaped green space may turn off some buyers since people tend to associate high maintenance yards with expensive upkeep and unnecessary headaches. Old fences and sheds can also devalue your home, especially if they look like they're in dire need of replacement. Keep the gardens weeded and the lawn mowed so that potential buyers can see how nice the property is, inside and out.

TUTORIAL: Buying and Owning Real Estate

5. Pets Gone Wild
Many people won't mind buying a home that has had resident animals, but no one wants to live with constant reminders of former owners' pets. Damage to carpets, walls or a strong smell of animals will put off some buyers - especially those with allergies. Consider letting your pets live elsewhere while the property is for sale. Also, a good cleaning and repairing of any visible damage will help to mitigate the potential devaluation of your home associated with pet ownership.

6. Not-So-Nice Neighborhood
A dodgy neighborhood with a high crime rate or homes on your block that look unkempt can scare potential buyers away. Even if your neighbors have unusual-colored homes or have made strange additions to their homes, this can be perceived by potential buyers as an eyesore. (A "for sale" sign won't sell your house. Find out what it takes and whether you can do it all yourself. For more, see 7 Things To Consider Before Selling Your Own Home.)

7. Sinister Reputation
Well-known crimes, deaths or even urban legends associated with your house or neighborhood can decrease the value of a home immensely. Most people don't want to live in a home where they feel that something awful has happened, much less move in with your alleged resident ghost! Though these kinds of issues may be out of your control, they may certainly have an impact on the resale value of your home.

8. Frightful Foreclosures
Many buyers are leery of purchasing foreclosures that are being sold on an "as-is" basis. The fear is that the home could be a money pit or require a huge amount of repairs before being move-in ready. Some good homes may be available through foreclosures, but it's important to do your research, ask lots of questions and don't be afraid to bargain. It's also crucial that you get a home inspection so that you know exactly what you're getting into. There's a good chance that some work will be required when buying a foreclosure, but you may get great value for your money if you're willing to put in a little work.

The Bottom Line
Neighborhoods change over time, so there's no way to be totally sure when you buy a property how the area will look in the years to come. However, you should always make your best efforts to address any issues with your property that are within your control. Play up your home's strong points and get involved with your realtor to ensure that any special features of your home and neighborhood have been highlighted. (Find out what you can do to improve your chances of having a quick sale. For more, see 6 Tips To Sell Your Home Faster.)

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