A home is usually the biggest investment a person will make in a lifetime and preserving its value is of primary importance to most homeowners.
However, many people do not know what factors contribute to lowering the value of a home. Even if you are not planning to sell your home anytime soon, there are certain mistakes you must avoid making to keep your home’s value where it should be.
Homeowners often invest in certain renovation projects in the hopes of increasing their home’s worth, but what some of us see as improvements actually reduce the home’s chances of being sold at a fair price later on. To avoid these and other costly mistakes, keep reading to find out which decisions you make might actually harm your home’s value.
1. Enclosing a Garage
We love our cars in America, and most of us live in areas where cars are a necessary tool for getting around each day. Having an enclosed garage to store one or more vehicles is something that most home buyers look for. While you may think that converting garage space into living square footage will raise your home’s value, most people will not take a second look at a property that lacks an attached or separate garage.
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If you truly need to convert your garage into an extra bedroom or living room, then consider budgeting enough to also build a detached garage. At the very least, install a paved and covered parking pad. While this will lessen the damage to your home’s value somewhat, it is not as good for future sale values as keeping the garage as-is. Consider building an extension to the back of your house or finishing unused basement space before you remove a garage.
2. Installing a Pool
Whether a pool adds or takes away from your home’s value depends greatly on where you live. If most of the houses in your neighborhood have a pool, then it may increase your home’s value to add one. However, for the most part, a swimming pool counts against you when it comes to reselling your home.
While you may gain great enjoyment from a swimming pool, potential home buyers may view it as just another constant maintenance project they do not want to take on. Pool chemicals, pumps and other equipment are expensive to replace and if your home is already at the top of someone’s budget, they may not be willing to take on another potential expense. In addition, a pool can be a safety issue for families with small children, pets or elderly family members. Having a pool also increases your home renters or homeowners insurance premiums.
While beautiful, well-maintained landscaping enhances the curb appeal of any home, keep landscaping improvements simple. Unless carefully tended, yards with lots of plants can quickly appear unruly or messy. Older homebuyers and families with young children are often reluctant to purchase a home with landscaping that needs a lot of attention to look nice.
Because homeowner associations often have expectations for yard appearance, a busy landscape may involve more work than someone is willing to take on themselves or pay someone to tend.
Even if you do not plan to sell your home for a while, avoid planting trees too close to your home’s foundation. Complex root systems are a common cause of home foundation problems and can be expensive to fix. Trees that have heavy branch canopies over the roof can also be a liability when storms cause branches to fall. Larger trees should be planted at least 20 feet away from the home and avoided altogether if that distance is not possible.
4. Neglecting Roof Replacement
Simply put, an old roof is usually a deal-breaker for most potential homebuyers. Few people want to take on the expense and aggravation of replacing a roof immediately after moving into a new property. Before you put your house on the market, take an honest assessment of your roof, as it is often a point buyers use when negotiating a price for a home. It is almost always worth the expense to go ahead and replace an aging roof before listing your home for sale. It is mandatory if there are signs of roof problems inside your home, such as leaking during rainstorms or water stains on the ceiling.
5. Complicated Décor
While you may enjoy having every room in your home a different, vibrant color, few homebuyers will share your enthusiasm for busy color palettes or wild wallpaper patterns. The same is true of overly child-centric wallpaper borders, murals or rooms painted in sports team hues. Of course, you are free to decorate your home however you like. But if you are concerned about retaining your home’s value, then you should stick with neutral paint colors and avoid wallpaper entirely.
Related Article: How to Choose Interior Paint Colors for Your Home or Apartment
If you have heavy drapes or curtains on your windows, then consider removing these and patching any holes left behind from drapery hardware and rods. Home buyers like to see sources of natural light and the shape of windows. Natural light can also improve the overall appearance and brightness of your home, so do not obstruct it with overly complicated fabrics.
Although colorful curtains may lower your home’s appeal, simple blinds on each window can improve its perceived value. No one wants wide-open views into their home at night, and many home buyers will start mentally calculating the cost of installing blinds if they seek blank windows throughout your home.
6. Going Cheap With Appliances and Fixtures
It is understandable if you need to buy a used range or refrigerator if yours dies while you are in a financial bind, but having old, dented or outdated appliances will greatly reduce your home’s value when it is time to sell. Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. This does not mean that you must invest in top-of-the-line appliances and bathroom fixtures to interest a homebuyer, but you should have relatively new ones made by easily-recognized brand names.
Home ownership requires a great deal of ongoing maintenance, and it is one reason many people choose to rent their homes instead of buying. Taking good care of your appliances, fixtures and landscaping extends their life and appearance. Keeping things tidy and uncluttered improves the appearance of your home and makes for easier daily living. Promptly take care of mold or mildew in bathrooms, kitchens and basements and invest in dehumidifiers if needed to keep these damaging agents under control. Touch up paint on trim and doors as needed, and replace faulty doorknobs, light fixtures and ceiling fans as soon as possible.
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