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Review of all things Real Estate: Four things that will decrease the value of your home

Bob Hillery

CR Properties

Several weeks ago, I wrote about items that can positively influence the value of your property for resale purposes. Subsequently I came across some tips that talked about what people do (or don’t do) to their properties that actually decrease the value of their homes.

Let’s take it from the first impression. My previous article discussed the value of curb appeal since there is only one chance to make a first impression and a lot of that first impression is landscaping.

I read several authors; one of whom advocated spending 25% of the home’s current value on landscaping. I disagreed with that number because it sounded excessive because I know that it could be accomplished for less; but the number one way to create a favorable or unfavorable impression is bad or non-existent landscaping.

Curb appeal: or lack thereof, can even result in buyers simply driving away before they get out of the car to examine all the really great qualities of the home. No amount of marketing can overcome poor or non-existent landscaping.

Another negative impact on value is also seen from the street; old, patchwork looking, and/or damaged roofs. As the market has tightened, buyers are often more discerning about what is an acceptable condition of the house.

If there are worn composite shingles, cracked/ broken Spanish tile, or cracked and slipped concrete tile, it shows like a beacon. As a homeowner who is contemplating listing their house to reap the maximum price possible, take an objective look at the roof, from all sides.

If there is visible deterioration and/or damage, that can be a huge objection for a buyer who can only envision a full roof replacement, when in reality it could only require spot fixes. In other words, get ahead of the drama and make the repairs while they still represent a smaller price tag because, worse case, buyers don’t even make an offer because they are afraid of the expense of a full roof replacement.

After you walk around looking at the roof, walk around the entire exterior and interior of the house. Bring a pad and pen and critically look at the condition of the house. Has maintenance been performed or are there items that have been deferred?

When we look at the house daily because we live in it, it’s easy to overlook maintenance items but, from a prospective buyer’s point of view, if they can see deferred maintenance items, they wonder about the things they are not seeing.

What is the condition of the paint; does it need freshening or a complete re-do? In the big scheme of things, painting doesn’t cost that much or take that much time; particularly if you can do it yourself. But the rewards will be worth it when the colors are crisp and clean and there is that “freshly” painted smell.

Fresh paint can help mask pet smells too. By the way, if anyone is smoking in the house, please quit doing so immediately and go find an isolated outside area well away from the house; cigarette smoke smell is a buzz killer for buyers. If there has been smoking in the house, then prime the walls with a smoke killing paint like Kilz. It will seal in the smell, then you can paint a nice, clean smelling finish coat of paint on top of visible current maintenance and the buyers will reward you with higher offers.

Okay great, the buyers came into the house after checking out the landscaping and the roof, and they have walked through the various non-plumbing rooms and they still seem interested. Then they come to the bathrooms and the kitchen. What will devalue the property in their opinion is outdated kitchens and bathrooms.

Wallpaper is not in vogue in today’s southwestern living. Tile countertops are “okay” by some accounts but mostly the appetite is for granite, quartz and even wood counters. Antique oak cabinets scream ‘old” as do gold plated faucets. The good news is that the antique oak cabinets can be painted (my daughter painted hers and wow, what a difference!). Changing out cabinet pulls and dated faucets will pay you dividends.

The best news is none of these recommendations are terribly expensive. And as was passed at the marketing meeting this morning, after the upgrades and improvements had been made, the client took her home off the market because she fell in love with her own house again.

Even if you don’t do that, you will have made it easier for the buyers to fall in love with your house and that will result in higher offers.

 

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