6 dumb ways you’re destroying the value of your home

These mistakes can sink your home’s value
Your house is probably your biggest asset.
That means you want to do what you can to increase it’s value not decrease it.

While some aspects of home value are out of your control — such as the value of neighboring houses, the quality of the local school district, and proximity to businesses or transportation — many homeowners believe that any work they do on their home can only help increase the house’s value. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and well-meaning homeowners who simply want to improve their houses can end up destroying their home value without realizing it.
To ensure that you won’t face any unpleasant surprises when it comes time to sell, avoid making any of these 15 mistakes that can sink your home’s value. Scroll through to see them all.

1. Upgrades without a permit

It may seem like going through the rigmarole of getting permits is more trouble than it’s worth. There is a financial and time cost when you apply for the proper permits, and if your home improvement project is relatively small, you might wonder what the big deal is in skipping that part of the process. BUT, doing any renovations to your home without a permit can make your house completely unsalable. Appraisers, home inspectors, and lenders can ask for a record of the permits for your home renovation. Not having permits on record can stop a sale.

2. Making too many upgrades

You might think that 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. But this kind of thinking can backfire for homeowners 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 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, 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 home buyers consider a garage an important feature, and would rather have a space to park their cars instead of a 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. Unusual paint colors

It’s not necessary to paint your entire house beige to maintain its value, but it is important to think about the consequences of your paint choices. 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.

6. Pet smells

You may not notice that Mittens and Rover have irrevocably altered the odor of your whole home, but potential buyers certainly will. Make sure you invest in deep cleaning of walls, carpets, floors and anywhere else pets have been 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 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. NOTE: All of these same admonitions about pet smells applies to smokers. That smell will embed itself in everything from furniture, to paint, to flooring. Again you must deep clean and replace where necessary.