Five Mistakes that Kill Your Home’s Value
1. Ignoring Curb Appeal
You shouldn’t host an open house or snap your listing photos before addressing your landscape. If your yard doesn’t cut it, buyers may reject your property from their cars or from behind their screens. And a recent Zillow survey found that curb appeal is one of the top five factors in resale.
Fix it to list it: “To get maximum curb appeal for minimum effort,” Shugrue advises, “you need to maintain the yard, get colorful flowers and put them in nice pots, mow the lawn and handle any brown spots.” These are easy and affordable tasks, whether you hire an expert or do it yourself. You could also add beds, borders and shrubs – the most important elements of a front yard, according to the Houzz 2018 Landscaping Survey.
To get an idea the budget you’ll need, check out our expert-informed look at Tips for Landscaping Your Lawn on a Budget.
2. Avoiding Bathroom Problems
An outdated bathroom is a big faux-pas, but it’s bathtubs and the number of bathrooms that have the most influence right now. Realtor.com reports that 75 percent of buyers want and expect homes with two bathrooms or more. This leaves one-bathroom homes with a limited buyer pool.
And where tubs have been nixed for showers, the pool is further limited. “People tend to want at least one bathtub,” Shugrue says. “It’s not just about being able to relax: What about children? Have you tried to shower a baby? Bathtubs help resale a lot.”
Fix it to list it: A new bathtub itself costs $300 to $3,000, depending on the material. And professional installation adds $500 to $1,600. To add a new bathroom or update an existent one, you should consult with a bathroom remodeling expert. Remodeling projects can be difficult for homeowners to navigate on their own, and there are many ways they can go wrong without expert help.
3. Echoing Another Era
You may think your old-fashioned home has character, but buyers may see that character as a future expense. “Old features are terribly unappealing,” Shugrue warns. “In our competitive market nationwide, buyers are coming up with more money than they might’ve wanted to, and they don’t want to sink money into a home. They want to move right in.”
Features to update include: outdated and busy wallpaper, popcorn ceilings, all-over carpet, wood paneling and flooring with old-school patterns. “If you can remove wallpaper before you sell your home, please do,” Shugrue says. “You’ll make thousands more.”
Fix it to list it: You can try removing wallpaper or popcorn ceilings yourself, but both are messy and time-consuming. And your popcorn ceiling may contain asbestos. Expert popcorn ceiling removal costs $1 to $3 per square foot and wallpaper removal costs 55 cents to $1.50 per square foot.
4. Masking Dirty Truths
Two aspects of your home that are practically invisible but greatly influential are pests and odors. “Odors can ruin a home showing immediately,” Shugrue says. “It’s hard to imagine moving into your dream home that smells of dog or cat. The worst smell for most buyers is smoke. It gets in the drywall and carpets and can be really hard to remove.”
And if you have pests, federal law requires full disclosure to potential buyers. It’s worth your time to handle the infestation before resale.
Fix it to list it: For pests: “Consult with a pest remediation company and handle the problems first,” Shugrue suggests. And get rid of embedded odors with professional services like carpet cleaning or house cleaning.
5. Leaving a To-do List
Leaving repairs and cosmetic work to buyers can be a big mistake. “Most buyers want a move-in ready home, even in our fast-paced market,” says Bret Shugrue, Licensed Agent and Marketing Director at Bogar Pilkington Group with Keller Williams in Englewood, Colo. “If you touch up the paint, clean thoroughly, and get rid of stained or smelly carpets, you’ll make thousands more for hundreds of dollars and some work.”
Look at your property through the eyes of a home inspector: Damaged tile, beat-up cabinets, stained sinks and leaks won’t pass. And they’ll hurt your resale value.
Fix it to list it: Handymen can help with many home maintenance tasks, small plumbing jobs and touch-ups, and most charge between $50 and $100 per hour.