Calculating the value of a property isn’t an exact science, and there are many extenuating factors to consider: the property location, the health of the economy, market inventory, and comparative home values in the area, to name a few. But beyond some of these better-known variables, there are plenty other factors that can negatively impact your home’s valuation at resale. So, as part of our “How to Sell Your Home” blog series, check out these 6 surprising things that might be ruining your resale value.

1. Clutter
There’s a reason people who have their homes professionally staged see their properties spend 73 percent less time on the market. Home shoppers do not like clutter, especially someone else’s. Even if you can’t move out of your home to have it professionally staged, experts suggest cleaning the place top to bottom, boxing up most personal items, and moving out old or unattractive furniture, leaving only the nicest pieces to make rooms appear cleaner and more spacious.

2. An empty house
We warned you about clutter. Ironically, an empty house can also cost you when it comes time to sell. Empty rooms can actually make spaces feel smaller (and a little sad). Sellers like to have a sense of what a place will look like when it’s lived in, so a staged home is preferable to an empty one in terms of making a place look move in ready.

3. A converted garage
Changes that might’ve made perfect sense for your family could hurt your home’s value when it’s time to sell. Even when done with permits, converting a garage into a living space is often not a value-add for buyers, who overwhelmingly prefer a place to park the car over extra living space.

4. Unpermitted renovations or additions
Making renovations to your property without the required permits can hurt your resale value and scare off potential buyers when it comes time to sell. In addition to the safety concerns of having work done without inspection for code compliance, some buyers find the whole enterprise too risky, knowing it may be their responsibility to bring the home up to code sometime down the road.

5. Eliminating rooms
While it might be tempting to turn a small bedroom into a walk-in closet, or combine 2 small bedrooms into a larger master, the practice of eliminating rooms (even in the service of creating something nicer) can hurt you at resale.

6. Too much customization
Be careful with that built-in aquarium you’re planning for the living room. Heavy personalization in a space (think wall-to-wall bookshelves, custom cabinetry, and built-in high-end electronic or entertainment systems) may reflect your interests, but they can be a real turn-off to potential buyers with different priorities.

Keep an eye out for Part 2 of our series, which shows you how to stage your home like a pro.

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DIY hacks | Home and garden


about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.