Don’t Hurt Your Home’s Value: Six Mistakes to Avoid

by Guest Author on June 6, 2013

For many people, their house is the single largest investment of their lives.  Apart from a house being a home and also a potential personal expression of one’s tastes, a house is considered property that can be maximized for potential high returns when sold.  Just like any other property or product, there are certain do’s and don’ts when presenting the item to the public with the hope of getting a good price.  If you want to prep your house so it gets the most appeal and highest dollar value when it goes on the market here are five things you should avoid at all costs or it will wind up costing you when you try to sell your home.

1. Don‘t Kill the Curb Appeal

What is the first thing you notice when you pull up to someone’s house?  It’s the yard, right?  You bet it is.  Since you only get one chance to make a good first impression your front yard is the most powerful sales tool your house has.  So it only makes sense to make it inviting.  This means no old rotting sheds, no collection of goofy garden gnomes, even that collection of high maintenance exotic plants is likely to scare off potential buyers.  The rule of thumb here is to keep it simple, clean, and well kept.

2. Don’t let Picasso Paint Your House

Personal expression is a great thing however; you might want to ask yourself one simple question: Do you want to make an artistic statement or do you want to appeal to the most people?  If you want to get the most value from your house, then paining it with a neutral color will appeal to the most buyers.  This rule of thumb applies to the exterior as well as the interior.

3. Don’t Buy Cheap or Over-the-Top Fixtures

Potential buyers look closely at fixtures.  So when choosing fixtures for your home get high quality fixtures that aren’t overly styled.  Clean, simple quality beats cheap and or expensive but tacky every day of the week.

4. Don’t Add High-Priced Items that Don’t Fit the Neighborhood

If you’re thinking about putting in personal tennis courts when the rest of the neighborhood is sweating to pay the cable bill then chances are you will not only never get the money back that you invested in that high end item but the cost of maintaining it will scare away potential buyers. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself what the average income of the potential buyers would be and keep the amenities in the upper average range.

5. Don’t Reinvent the Rooms

Putting a pool table and some paneling in half of the garage won’t turn the garage into a new den. In fact, buyers who are looking for a real den won’t like it and buyers who want space for a real garage won’t like it either.

6. Don’t Leave Unfinished or Low Quality Renovations

While this might seem like a no-brainer however, your tolerance for living with a doorway that’s not level could be a red flag for potential buyers who will assume that you’ve cut corners throughout the home. If you’re planning on adding a room or making changes to the home don’t bite off more than you can chew. Plan one area that you can afford to do well and focus on creating and completing one area.  Make sure the work is good quality even if this means that you have to call in professionals to help you finish or adjust the work so that it meets with good solid standards.

Arthur Salmeron is a freelance writer in Geneva, Illinois. He is an expert on all things architectural. In his spare time he for

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