As a homeowner, you want to see the value of your home go up over time, but there are some mistakes that can cause it to go the other direction.  As a Realtor, I see these value-killers every day:

  1. Above-ground pools.  OK, I know your family gets loads of enjoyment out of the pool, but the reality is that most potential buyers see it as a big liability.  They don’t want it and see it as difficult and expensive to tear out, leaving a huge depressed area with no grass.  So do yourself a favor and when you decide to sell, tear out the pool and re-landscape the area it sat in.  Your home value will say thank you!
  1. Letting your personality show TOO much.  You enjoy decorating your home and living in it a certain way.  But potential buyers can’t picture themselves living in the home if there are colors or styles they don’t like.  And they start seeing dollar signs in front of their eyes at the thought of having to change everything.  To keep this from happening, try to choose your main colors and styles (such as flooring, counters, cabinetry and paint colors) in neutral tones and spice it up with accessories and furniture.  You can even use lively paint colors, as long as you are willing to paint back to a neutral color when you decide to sell.  Being current is a good thing, being too trendy is not.  This goes for the exterior of your home too.
  1. Over-improving for the neighborhood.  If your goal is to have the very biggest and best home on the block, you might have a problem when you try to sell it.  A home value is very much influenced by surrounding houses in the neighborhood. A larger or nicer home in an area of smaller, simpler homes will usually sell for less than the same home would sell for if it was located in an area of larger, more expensive homes.  So it can be a real benefit to get some professional advice from a Realtor on this before you renovate – they know the value in an area and what would be considered over-improvement.
  1. Doing an unprofessional job on home improvements.  Everyone wants to save money on the home improvements and renovations they do, but if you don’t have some pretty significant DIY skills, you are better off getting some help from someone who knows what they are doing.  Or the money you save on the project could go rapidly down the drain when you decide to sell and the buyer is not impressed with the quality of the work.
  1. Not keeping it legal.  Yes, it can be tempting to try to save money on projects by not getting permits from your city or county before tackling the work.  But this can really backfire in the end.  There have been many cases where a municipality required someone to tear out their addition or renovation because they failed to get proper permits.  Or a potential buyer decided not to buy a home because the work had not been properly permitted.  Or a lender decided not to finance a home because the owner did not obtain the necessary permits before they did the work.  It’s just not worth it.
  1. Inconsistent renovations.  Again, as a Realtor, I see this all the time.  Someone spent a fortune on a gorgeous kitchen renovation, but the rest of the house looks like it is stuck in the 70’s.  Don’t ignore the rest of the house (and spend less on the big room renovation if you have to) even if it just means a bit of updated flooring or window coverings or paint.  Your value at resale time will appreciate it!
  1. A weird floor plan.  Again, I see this from time to time – additions have been made to a home and you end up having to walk through a bedroom to get to another bedroom.  Or you have to walk through a bedroom to get to a garage.  Things like that.  It doesn’t hurt to get some professional advice here – from a Realtor or an architect or a builder/remodeler and see if they have suggestions on how you can do your addition and still keep a good “normal” floor plan.  You don’t want potential buyers frowning and saying “I wonder why they did it THIS way”.
  1. Turning the garage into something else.  Even though you really might need the extra bedroom or family room, you aren’t helping your value if you have to get rid of the garage in order to do it.  In this case, you are better off considering an addition to get the square footage you need.  I have seen cases, though, where a garage was turned into a den or bedroom by walling off the garage door (instead of removing it) and keeping the door between the garage and house.  This, at least, would allow the buyer to take out the wall and have a functioning garage again, if they chose, without too much work or expense.  And I hate to be a broken record here, but getting some professional advice about the consequences of this would be a good idea before you do the work.

So there you have it – ways to keep from really hurting your home’s value.  If you have questions about a project you are considering, give me a call and I would be glad to give you some free advice from a Realtor’s perspective.

See more at www.BarbHutchinsonHomes.com

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The above information on Fruitland home improvement was provided by Barb Hutchinson.  Barb can be reached by email at candobarb@msn.com or by phone at 208-707-4663.  Barb has helped people move in and out of homes in The Treasure Valley in Southwest Idaho for the last 27 years.

Thinking of selling your home?  I love to share my marketing expertise!

I sell homes and real estate in the following southwest Idaho towns:  Payette, Fruitland, Parma, Emmett, New Plymouth, Weiser, Caldwell, and Nampa, ID

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