5 Ways You Might Be Decreasing Your Home’s Value Without Realizing It

Posted by Mary Ann Castro on Monday, August 10th, 2015 at 5:10pm.

Trying to fix the sink before listing his home in the San Antonio real estate market.

There are so many things homeowners can do to add value back into their homes, but some might not realize the finer details, if missed over time, can often become a much bigger headache further down the road. Small things like chipping paint and dirty grout might not seem like a big problem now, but waiting until you decide to sell to clean things up could result have expensive and time-consuming repercussions. Here are 5 common mistakes to avoid while living in your home that will save you time and money in the long run, especially when you decide to sell.

1. Neglecting Hot Water Heater and Air Conditioning Units

A good rule of thumb is if you pay more up front, you’re likely to save yourself money in the long term. Don’t cheap out when purchasing new equipment, and be sure to buy the next size up unit for your home. That way, it’s more than capable of handling your home’s needs and ready if it needs to take on a bit more.

Don’t skimp on the maintenance either. A well-maintained hot water and AC units run more efficiently, result in lower energy bills and require less repairing. With AC units, be sure that nothing is obstructing airflow to the unit as this will decrease its efficiency. Flush hot water heaters twice a year to remove built-up sediment at the bottom of the tank. It’s easier and cheaper to be proactive rather than reactive with your home systems and appliances.

2. Installing a Pool

Before committing to a pool, do some research. Ask your neighbors, friends, do a Google search, check real estate listings, and so on to see if installing a pool is really going to contribute to your home’s value. A lot of the time, prospective home buyers refrain from buying a home with a pool because they aren’t committed to taking care of it. Likewise, if you install a pool and weren’t ready for the additional costs and time needed to maintain the pool, it creates a huge problem later down the road if you decide you want to sell.

3. Landscaping Without a Plan

Landscaping is one of the greatest ways to beautify your home. However, be aware when planting trees and shrubs of the possible root structures they could develop in the future. Planting too closely to house or driveway could result in the root structures cracking the pavement of your home’s foundation.

4. Extreme Makeover: Paint Choices

Painting is one of the easiest ways to reinvent your space, but use caution when applying any non-neutral color, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. Let your tween paint their room blood red or electric blue, but keep in mind (and budget) that you’ll likely have to repaint before trying to sell the home. If you’re looking for ways to jazz up your spaces, try adding bright accessories to supplement personality and pizzazz before reaching for the paint bucket and brush.

5. Deep Cleaning

Something so simple can have long-lasting savings. Things like grout, baseboards, windowsills, bathroom and kitchen fixtures often don’t get a deep, thorough cleaning. That dirt can accumulate over time and either stain or become a breeding ground for mold, in which case you’ll likely have to replace the affected items.

In closing, these are just a few easy suggestions to help maintain your home’s value and beauty while you live in it. Basic home maintenance goes a long way to ensure there aren’t any surprises when you decide to sell. They aren’t that much extra work right now, and later down the line you’ll likely thank yourself for doing it.

Update

We've discovered a few more things that can decrease your home's resale value. All of the above items are still applicable but we thought we'd add to the list:

  • Too Many Trends - Keeping your home up-to-date is excellent for your home's resale value, but following too many design trends can have an adverse effect. Choose classic, clean and simple trends to follow, rather than outrageous and overly stylish ideas.
  • Choosing Poor Surfaces - Although a marble vanity is beautiful, this surface is very delicate and difficult to clean. One drop of an acidic liquid can make a permanent stain that can only be removed with some expensive resurfacing. Choose easy to clean and low maintenance surfaces such as granite. And more importantly, use the correct cleaners.
  • Turning the Garage into Living Space - You might need an extra bedroom or office in your home and choose to turn the garage into a spare room. Before doing this, keep in mind that other homeowners may want an attached garage so consider keeping the garage doors on the outside. Future owners will be able to easily re-convert the room back to a garage.

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