Five Mistakes that Kill Your Home's Value

The housing market is hot — so hot that many homeowners are considering selling their homes or making improvements to enhance their home’s value. Before you dive into either selling or improving, it’s helpful to know that certain features can actually reduce your home’s value and ruin your chances of a profitable sale, whether it’s now or several years down the line. These are five common mistakes to avoid.

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1. Ignoring Curb Appeal

Before you host an open house or snap your listing photos, consider addressing your landscape. If your home’s exterior looks unkempt, buyers may reject your property based on the photos alone. Landscaping tends to yield a high return on investment — and if you’re staying put, it’s a great way to enhance your home to your benefit— but a good sprucing and a few simple flower pots can also make a big impact.

2. Banishing the Bathtub

An outdated bathroom can detract some buyers, but it’s bathtubs and the number of bathrooms that have the most influence. Homebuyers — those with kids, in particular — tend to seek homes with two or more bathrooms and at least one bathtub, according to real estate experts. So, resist the urge to swap every tub in your house for a spa-like shower. And, if you’re going to build an addition or finish your basement, consider adding another bathroom to your home.

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3. Echoing Another Era

While some buyers are certainly in the market for a home they can renovate and make their own, the majority are looking for something move-in ready. Features to update include outdated and busy wallpaper, popcorn ceilings, old carpeting, wood paneling and peeling linoleum floors. You can remove wallpaper and popcorn ceilings yourself, but both are messy and time-consuming. (Note that if your home was built before 1977, your popcorn ceiling may contain asbestos, which requires professional remediation.) You’ll typically pay about $1 to $3 per square foot to hire a pro to remove a popcorn ceiling — and you’ll pay an average of 55 cents to $1.50 per square foot to hire a pro for wallpaper removal, according to the Angie’s List Pricing Guide.

4. Masking Dirty Truths

Two aspects of your home that are practically invisible but greatly influential are pests and odors — and both can ruin a home showing in a hurry. Smoke, in particular, can get into drywall and carpets, making it tough to mask or remove. And if you have pests, federal law requires full disclosure to potential buyers. So, it’s worth your time to handle the infestation before resale. If you need help, pest control, cleaning and carpet cleaning pros can help restore order — and an inviting smell — to your home.

5. Leaving a To-do List

Look at your property through the eyes of a buyer: Would you want to purchase a home with damaged tile, scuffed paint, leaky faucets and outdated electrical work? Leaving repairs and cosmetic work to buyers can make your home harder to sell. And, in many cases, touching up the paint, doing a deep clean, and replacing stained or smelly carpets can add thousands to the resale value of your home. If you need help, consider calling a handyman. They can lend a hand with all kinds of home maintenance projects — from small plumbing jobs to window repairs — and most charge between $50 and $100 hour.

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