None of us ever intend to lower our home’s property value. And yet, there are countless small decisions every homeowner makes that can take our property value south—and fast.
How do you know what’s ok to overlook and what requires your attention? Here are 5 factors you might not have noticed that can hurt your property value.
1. Lack of updates:
Sure, those chandeliers from the 1990s might still work just fine, but they’re not doing your property value any favors.
A lack of updates throughout your home can turn off potential buyers quickly. Dated features like shag carpeting, older light fixtures, and laminate wood paneling, for example, can make your home seem less-than-well-cared for.
Investing in some small but noticeable updates like bathroom and kitchen hardware, ceiling fans, and light fixtures can work wonders for your home’s property value.
2. Lapsed or neglected maintenance:
Even if you haven’t noticed any problems with, say, your roof or your HVAC system, you still want to have the proper maintenance done regularly.
Potential buyers will want to know that your major appliances, structures, and systems have all been maintained well. Even if it’s working just fine now, an HVAC system that hasn’t been tuned up in 15 years could be just a few months away from completely breaking down.
3. Dead or dying trees, bushes, and landscaping:
You certainly don’t have to be a master gardener in order to give your home curb appeal. Still, if your landscaping is really looking poorly, it will lower your property value.
Dead or dying trees, shrubs, and other plants should be removed—remember, dead trees are not only an eyesore, but they can be hazardous, too.
Once any dead or dying plants have been removed (or brought back to life, if possible), invest in some simple lawn maintenance and mulch for your flower beds and the areas surrounding walkways. These small details will make a big difference in making your yard look clean and tidy. And improving your curb appeal is one of the most frequently cited tips to improve your property value.
4. Unpermitted or illegal renovations:
Thinking of remodeling your bathroom without a permit? You may want to think again.
While unpermitted work isn’t always a dealbreaker when it comes to selling your home, any unpermitted work must be properly disclosed when you sell your home. Many buyers will use the existence of unpermitted work to offer a lower price.
And that’s not to mention the fact that unpermitted work can be dangerous. If something were to happen as a result of that work, you could end up with problems from your homeowners’ insurance company—while they may pay the damages, they could very well drop you as a customer immediately afterward.
Elaborate or unusual upgrades
Remember that even if you place great value on having a state-of-the-art chef’s kitchen in your 2,000 square foot home in a middle-class neighborhood, potential buyers probably will find it strange or out of place.
Overall, any upgrades you make should be in keeping with your home’s general value and with the neighborhood. What’s more, upgrades that require substantial upkeep—large, elaborate gardens, swimming pools, home gyms, or steam rooms—may very well be seen as just a lot of extra work. That can mean fewer buyers are interested in your home, meaning lower demand and lowering your property value.
If your property value is going down, that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way! By addressing these factors, you can bring your property value back from the brink.