Jim's list of things that can devalue your house
So, you’ve decided to sell your home. It’s an emotionally challenging time. You may take great pride in your home, it has been through a lot over the years good and maybe not so good. Did you take care of it or let things go? Now you’re facing the facts when it comes time to list it. You may love it but will potential buyers?
Will they be attracted to the exterior initially? What about their first impressions when they open the door? Think about these things that might deter a buyer.
- Neighbors. Did you stay up to date with the neighborhood? Did the neighbors get their driveways sealed, houses painted or new vinyl siding, new roof? Your city or state sometimes dictates what is current and attractive to buyers.
- A neglected house. Maybe a neighbor moved out and the house is in disrepair, that’s no fault of yours and no matter what you do to yours it’ll be a deterrent. You can’t help that, hopefully someone will restore it soon!
- Fracking in some states effect the value of homes nearby.
- Safety. Walk around your yard, is the sidewalk a trip hazard? Are there pits in the driveway, what about that front step? Fix those before you get someone to give you an estimate for your house.
- Unkept lawn. Does your lawn need to be mowed or raked? Simply trimming the bushes makes a big difference. Neaten your yard, weed the gardens, put in fresh mulch, remove dead branches and clear debris. Overgrown trees need to be cut back, for safety as well as looks. Your front door could stand a painting, brighten it up with a fresh coat and the trims too. You don’t want flaking, dull window trim.
- Remember that statue (fountain, fairy garden or any unusual item) that you had to have? Get rid of it from your yard. It may have brought you happiness, but buyers won’t have that connection and don’t want it there.
- Pools. Some people love them and just as many don’t want anything to do with them. Be prepared to have to take it down if your buyer doesn’t want it. Some buyers just aren’t into the maintenance, insurance and extra costs to keep it going. If you have a high-end house and neighborhood it could very well be a good selling point however-if it’s been properly maintained.
- Koi pond – this again is a unique item; many people have no idea what to do with them. Have you kept it up perfectly? If not, your buyer will be turned off to a dirty unkept pond.
- Siding. All houses have some type of siding, wood, cedar, aluminum, vinyl, asbestos, etc. Some improve the looks of the house, others certainly don’t, also if you picked an unusual color that could sway a buyer to look the other way.
- Foreclosures, like zombie houses, not much you can do about it, even more so to have your house look well-kept.
- Neighbors. Again, not much you can do about that either. In fact, they may be the reason YOU’RE moving. Loud partyers, rude, noisy cars, etc. even sex offenders can move into your neighborhood which can certainly deter a buyer if they have done their research.
- Busy road. Is it difficult to get out of your driveway with all the traffic? Have to wait for a chance to pull out quickly? You’re tired of it, buyers may notice it immediately after looking at your house and trying to get out of your driveway, they may decide against your house and look to one on a quieter street, even around the corner from yours!
- Noise. If you’re near a railroad or airport or possibly a business that is loud. Some people may not mind it at all, especially if your house is priced right. However, others may prefer not to deal with the noise at all and walk away.
- Undesirable buildings. Are you near a cell tower, power plant, cemetery or even a landfill, etc.? That could certainly affect the value of your home.
- Odors. Let’s hope you don’t smoke, but if you do, your entire house has that smell in everything in it. Pet odors the same. Urine in the rugs and floors no matter how much you keep your house clean some of those smells don’t go away easily. You can try to mask the odors by using other techniques and cleaning solutions.
- Knick-knacks etc. You love them and don’t want to get rid of them. Ok, pack them up for now. Pictures on the walls, especially family pictures, political or religious anything should all be tucked in boxes out of sight. Selling your house is just that – not your personality.
- Permits. You had a deck installed and by-passed getting permits. Or you added a kitchen or bathroom, built an addition. Without the proper paperwork this could delay a new buyer purchase. The town, attorneys, banks, etc. will require proper documentation that you can’t provide.
- Interior. Is there something in your home that is completely outdated? Maybe the colors scream 1950’s, old paneling, counter-tops, you know.
It could be a simple fresh coat of a neutral color paint to make your house look updated. Get someone’s opinion to see what needs a quick fix. Take a good look at your flooring too. Dirty carpets, or cracked floors are not appealing. Remove or replace them.