Common Mistakes That Destroy Your Home’s Value

Making the right decisions for your home is crucial to its resale value. But personal taste gets involved, which can cause the value of the house to plummet. On the other hand, outside forces can also wreak havoc when it comes to selling your home. If your goal is to get the most bang for your home investment buck, avoid making these common mistakes that will destroy your home’s value.

1. Not treating carpet stains

person cleaning a carpet
No one wants to buy a home with a dirty, stained carpet. | iStock/Getty Images

First impressions are everything, especially when potential buyers step foot into your home. Believe that those carpet stains that you have grown accustomed to seeing will stand out like a sore thumb. Typically, an interested buyer will demand that some kind of allowance be provided to replace the carpet or the seller come down on the asking price. In order to avoid this predicament, actively work to remove stains as soon as they happen. This way, you’ll prevent them from setting.
Next: Tile grout

2. Ignoring tile grout

Cleaning shower or bathroom grout with a scrub brush
Cleaning grout is no fun, but it’s important. | Eike Leppert/iStock/Getty Images

Easily one of the most time-consuming household chores is cleaning and scrubbing tile grout. Nevertheless, it is a necessity if you plan on listing your home for sale. On its own, grout is porous, soaking up whatever comes its way. In the kitchen, grease can become embedded, sometimes discoloring it permanently. In the bathroom, the humidity can latch on to the grout, creating visible mildew and mold that becomes nearly impossible to reverse. Stay diligent to clean it as often as possible.
Next: HVAC system

3. Forgetting to pamper your HVAC system

This picture shows an AC heat pump unit outside of a home.
Don’t neglect your HVAC system. | iStock/Getty Images

Your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, better known as the HVAC system, is directly linked to the cost of its monthly utilities. And while many homeowners are vigilant when it comes to the upkeep of the system, others tend to neglect it altogether. Regularly cleaning the system helps to keep utility bills lower, which is a very important piece of the home buying puzzle. Potential buyers do not want to sign up for a home that has a history of high utility bills.
Next: Wood paneling

4. Failing to remove the wood paneling

Square wall light on brown wood paneling
Wood paneling immediately dates your home. | Tods0859/iStock/Getty Images

During the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, wood paneling was all the rage, even though the jury is still out on why. Regardless, it has to come down if you want to increase your home’s resale value, even if it’s only located only in the basement. A potential buyer will be far more interested in the idea of purchasing the house if they do not have to remove the paneling themselves.
Next: Curb appeal 

5. Forgetting about the importance of curb appeal

Beautiful villa
Don’t underestimate the importance of curb appeal. | Hikesterson/iStock/Getty Images

How is the curb appeal of your home? Has the grass been freshly mowed, the flower beds weeded, and leaves raked from the ground? How about a fresh coat of exterior paint? Every aspect of your home’s curb appeal is crucial. Sure, if you are listing the home for a screaming deal, a buyer may be willing to put in some elbow grease for a fixer-upper. But if you put that elbow grease in yourself, you’ll be able to list the home for thousands more.
Next: Pools and hot tubs 

6. Swimming pools and hot tubs

Oval swimming pool in garden
Swimming pools are fun, but they are costly to maintain. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

If you are grappling with the idea of installing a swimming pool or purchasing a hot tub, think long and hard about that decision. Pools are crazy expensive to install, so the return on investment is lacking. But the real kicker is that potential buyers view pools as a big hassle when it comes to the upkeep. Plus, many parents with very small children view pools as hazardous. Similar rules apply for hot tubs — they are pricey and take a lot of energy to maintain.
Next: Landscaping 

7. Over the top landscaping

Beautiful curb appeal of American house with stone trim
High-end landscaping translates into high-end maintenance. | irina88w/iStock/Getty Images

Everyone can agree that tasteful landscaping is a welcomed treat when searching for a home to buy. It’s the outlandish and lavish landscaping that is less appealing. Why? Well, high-end landscaping translates to high-maintenance, and most homeowners simply do not have time for all of that. Theodore Beasley of Landscaping London explains it well:

Costly landscaping decoration will not increase the value of your home, but rather increase the maintenance required for it. A potential buyer sees this, and it might turn into a concern. Fancy decorative additions that you find attractive are pretty much subjective, as well — including your personal DIY projects.

Next: Bright paint colors 

8. Wildly bright paint colors

Bedroom with purple bed, walls and lamps
Crazy paint colors can be a big turnoff. | archideaphoto/iStock/Getty Images

Homeowners understandably want to get creative with the paint colors, slathering the walls in the brightest paint colors they can get their hands on. Here’s the thing: Those dense colors come across as overwhelming to potential buyers. While you may see sunshine and rainbows, the buyer sees days and days of priming and repainting each room. Consider repainting with more neutral, soothing colors before putting up the for sale sign.
Next: Remodels 

9. Getting carried away with the bathroom and kitchen remodel

Marble countertop
Over-the-top remodels can actually make it harder to sell your home for the price you want. | hikesterson/getty Images

Don’t get me wrong, freshly remodeled kitchens and bathrooms will almost always increase the selling price of your home, but when it comes to the return on investment, you’re unlikely to reap what you sowed. For 2018, homeowners average around $62,000 for a kitchen remodel, but only manage to pocket around $40,000 when it comes to resale value. The same rules apply to bathroom remodels. Instead of going all out, go for a middle-of-the-road remodel.
Next: Cleaning habits 

10. Using harsh cleaners on countertops

Cleaning counter
Keep your high-end countertops in good shape. | iStock/Getty Images

If you splurged on granite, quartz, or marble countertops when you remodeled your kitchen,  you immediately increased your home’s resale value. Good on you. Make sure that you don’t reverse those money-making endeavors by lazily cleaning them. Vinegar-based cleaners will wreak havoc on natural countertops, eventually causing them to become dull and pitted. Stick to store-bought cleaners or do your research before concocting something on your own.
Next: Garage conversions

11. Garage conversions

Two wooden car garage
Losing the garage space will make your home less appealing to some buyers. | Marcin Leszczuk/iStock/Getty Images

A well-organized garage is a welcomed upgrade to nearly every potential buyer, but a garage-turned-gym conversion does not appeal to the masses. For the most part, people are just wanting to use a garage exactly how it was designed to be used — parking the car and storing items. If you are considering any sort of garage remodel, do so with the intention of creating usable, organized storage solutions for the next owner.
Next: Koi ponds

12. Installing that koi pond

Colored koi carp in the national Japanese park. Himeji, Japan
Chances are, the new homeowners won’t want to maintain your koi pond | Sergdid/iStock/Getty Images

Koi ponds, along with other decorate fountains and water features, offer a sense of relaxation for some homeowners. For others, they can be a very time-consuming and unnecessary feature to maintain. If you feel strongly about keeping the koi pond intact throughout the selling process, by, all means make sure that it is extremely clean and not chock full of algae.
Next: Unpermitted upgrades 

13. Unpermitted additions and upgrades

Enclosed sunroom
An unpermitted addition is a huge headache for buyers.  | iStock/Getty Images

Transforming your basement into a revenue-producing rental unit is brilliant, however, doing so without proper permitting can create big issues when you choose to sell. An appraisal can turn sour if a permit was not involved, which can translate to difficulties receiving financing for a purchase.
Next: Crappy neighbors 

14. Crappy neighbors

Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Unfortunately, you don’t have control over your neighbors.  | Swarmcatcher/iStock/Getty Images

Completely out of a seller’s control, yet still detrimental to a home’s value, is a bad neighbor. For instance, if a potential buyer arrives to walk through the home and is greeted by unsightly noises and behavior from the next door neighbor, it could be a reason to pull the plug. Furthermore, any registered sex offender living in the general vicinity can also put the kibosh on your home’s value.
Next: Closets

15. Not enough closets

Full closet
Whatever you do, keep the closets | ronstik/Getty Images

Homeowners get wild hairs when it comes to remodeling a room, albeit a bathroom or an extension of a master suite. A good rule of thumb, though, is to keep the closets at all costs. Michele Silverman Bedell told MarketWatch that not only does removing closets damage a home’s value but that “People need closets. They’ll walk in and count the number of closets per room.” Keep the closets.

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