If you want to sell your home…don ‘t do any of these dumb things
Homeowners can end up destroying their home value without realizing it. They often do some really dumb things around the house . Your house is probably your biggest asset. You want to do what you can to increase (or at least maintain) the value of your home. Many homeowners believe that any work they do on their home can only help increase the house’s value. Unfortunately, homeowners do some really dumb things and can end up destroying their home value without realizing it.
You may find some unpleasant surprises when it comes time to sell.
Avoid these mistakes that can sink your home’s value!
1. Upgrades without a permit
It may seem like getting permits to finish your basement or turn a powder room into a full bath is more trouble than it’s worth. There is a financial and time cost when you applying for the proper permits, especially if your project is relatively small, you might wonder what the big deal is in skipping that part of the process. In addition, some homeowners forgo permits in order to keep their property taxes at the pre-renovation level.
But doing any upgrades or renovations to your home without a permit can make your house completely unsalable.
Appraisers, home inspectors, and even the mortgage lender can and often will ask for record of the permits for your home renovation. Not having permits on record can stop a sale in its tracks — and even if the sale does go through, it leaves you open to a lawsuit in the future if there’s a problem down the road for the new owners.
2. Making too many upgrades
If making one or two improvements to your house is good for its market value, then making lots and lots of improvements must be great for its value. This can backfire because a home’s value is tied to the value of its neighbors. Similar homes within the same neighborhood generally sell within a 20 percent price range of each other — which means adding upgrades that would make your house stand out from the rest of the homes on your block could make it harder to sell. That’s because a buyer does not want to have a house that is already at the top of its potential value, since they are unlikely to see as much increase in value. That’s not to say you shouldn’t upgrade your house to make it the home you want to live in. But if you put $100,000 worth of upgrades into a house, you can’t expect to get that much out of your home when you sell it, especially if houses on your block are worth $250,000 or less, and it could make your home tougher to sell down the road.
3. Unprofessional DIY remodeling
You might think that years of watching HGTV have prepared you to do your own repairs or remodeling, but if you do not have the skills or tools necessary to do your repair right, you probably don’t want to do it yourself. DIY projects can help you save money while improving your home, but they can also drag down the value of your home if they are done improperly or look unprofessional. Homebuyers will notice any repairs that look shoddy or unusual, and that will reduce the value of your home.
4. Converting the garage into living space
Turning your garage into a gym or a mother-in-law suite can seem like a nice upgrade to your home that increases the living space. But homebuyers consider a garage an important feature, and would rather have a space to park their cars instead of place to break a sweat or welcome an in-law. Converting your garage into living space will cost you money for the remodel, and cost you in home value when it comes time to sell.
5. Converting a bedroom into a home office
With more and more people working from home, it can seem like converting an unused bedroom into a home office is a no-brainer. By adding a built-in desk and built-in shelving units, you get an elegant dedicated space to work while you live in the house — and you can advertise the home office as a perk when you sell the house.
But changing a bedroom into a dedicated office can be a costly mistake, since reducing the number of bedrooms in your home reduces its value, and potentially keeps buyers from even looking at your house if it has fewer bedrooms than they want.
If you do decide to use a bedroom as a home office, use furniture to create your ideal workspace, rather than spending money to remodel the room into an office.
6. Unusual paint colors
If you absolutely love lime green and fuchsia together, there’s no reason you shouldn’t paint your living room in those colors. Just be prepared to paint over them when it comes time to sell.
And think through how difficult it will be to cover your paint job with a more neutral shade when the time comes. Both bright and deep colors can be difficult to paint over, which can slow down the process of readying your house for sale, or can reduce your home’s value if you leave the unusual colors in place.
7. Neglecting to clean out your gutters
Clearing your gutters is the kind of chore that’s easy to put off each year. It’s hardly anyone’s idea of fun having to clean out soggy leaves while balancing on a ladder, and homeowners can often find that they have forgotten to cross this chore off their honey-do list for multiple seasons in a row.
But a clogged gutter can cause big problems, because they are designed to carry water away from the roof, the walls, and the foundation. If the gutter is clogged, the water will follow the path of least resistance, potentially seeping into the foundation or the walls — and causing water damage.
8. Installing built-in electronics
You may have always dreamed of having a movie theater in your home, but you might want to think twice before you build-in your high-tech projection equipment. For one thing, buyers are often put off by built-in or customized electronics that force a space into a specific purpose, such as a home theater. If a buyer cannot use the space for anything else, the lack of flexibility hurts your home value. In addition, technology can quickly become out-of-date, and installing built-in electronics is a sure way to decrease your home’s value as soon as the tech changes.
9. Pet smells
You may not notice that Mittens and Rover have irrevocably altered the odor of the living room, but potential buyers certainly will. If your pets have had any accidents in your home, make sure you invest in a deep cleaning of the area so that your home doesn’t remain haunted by the smell. After the cleaning, ask a non-pet-owning friend to tell you truthfully if your house still smells of eau-de-cat-pee so you can potentially replace carpeting or other items that cannot be cleared of the smell. Otherwise, you might wonder why no buyers are interested in your otherwise perfect house.
10. High-maintenance landscaping
Putting some time and effort into your yard is an important part of increasing the curb appeal of your home, but some homeowners can inadvertently shoot themselves in the foot if they choose landscaping that requires a great deal of maintenance. Potential buyers may be initially intrigued by the decorative additions you make to the yard or garden, but they will be turned off by the amount of work required to maintain it.