6 Factors That Can Sink Your Home Value

House hunting? Ready to sell? It’s time to talk home value.

No matter where you are on the spectrum of buying or selling, it’s important to know what will affect your home value. Several factors can singe your property value and potentially lead to a resale loss. Protect your investment and boost your resale return with a look at six items that can drag down your home value:

1. Busy streets

Busy Streets Can Bother Buyers

Busy streets can be a big turnoff for buyers.

Incessant honking and the roar of diesel engines can get a tad annoying. Especially at 3 a.m. Most home shoppers are looking for a sanctuary rather than a noise factory. Plus, constant traffic can be dangerous for families with pets or young children. Studies vary on the property value impact of a busy street, but most agree that heavy traffic will limit a home’s appeal and its resale value.

2. Bad schools

Poor Schools Hurt Home Value

Poor schools can drag down home values and deter buyers.

Whether you’re a childless retiree or a mom of many, school quality should definitely factor into your home search.

As Salt Lake City agent Linda Incardine says, “Many people choose homes because of schools. It becomes a major factor in resale.”

According to Realtor.org, quality of the school district and convenience to schools was important to 30 percent of all buyers in deciding where to purchase a home. Whether you’ll be utilizing the schools or not, your best odds of a solid resale lie inside a good school district.

3. Wacky décor

Make Rooms Appealing to Buyers

This room apparently fits someone’s needs, but won’t be appealing to most.

Lots of buyers lack imagination. Those buyers have a hard time overlooking purple walls or a shrine to the family Siamese cat.

When buying, try to overlook personalized décor and think about inexpensive ways to make a home your own. When selling, neutralize, neutralize, neutralize. Increase your buyer pool and your property value by removing the extremely personal touches you’ve added along the way.

4. Outdated kitchens and baths

Updated Kitchens Can Raise Value

An outdated kitchen screams “costly” (and “run”)!

Most buyers are looking for turnkey homes. Kitchens and bathrooms in need of major overhaul can send buyers running and your property value plummeting.

Take stock of necessary kitchen and bath upgrades before you sign on the dotted line. Try to keep remodeling costs in check with smart DIY fixes, but don’t attempt dangerous or major remodels without the assistance of a contractor.

5. Evidence of pets

Homes with Pet Mess have less Value

Cute dog, but he’s not going to help your resale.

More than 65 percent of American families own pets, according to the American Pet Products Association. But no potential buyer – pet owner or not – wants to see evidence of YOUR pet when touring your home.

There are three big ways that pets can affect a home’s value at resale: odor, property damage and noise. One Boston agent reports that his condo listing sold for $20,000 – $30,000 less than it should have, simply due to cat odor.

Pet damage and odors can be expensive to remove. Don’t overlook these costs when making your purchase.

6. Bad neighbors

Bad Neighbors Hurt Value of Home

A neighbor’s yard in this condition can send your home value into freefall.

Bad neighbors can easily make life difficult. If their poor behavior is evident to a potential buyer, they can also make resale difficult.

In a Seattle Times article, real estate broker Mike Skahen estimates that bad neighbors can cause a 10 percent price reduction.

“The trouble with a bad neighbor, is that they are unpredictable and it’s difficult to correct that problem. It’s not like a bad floor plan you can fix, or even living next to a busy street where you could get better windows that block the sound,” Skahen says.

There’s no easy fix for a bad neighbor, so try to scope out the area’s inhabitants before buying. Watch for activity that could bring down your property value, like unkempt yards and exteriors. When selling, report actions that violate laws or homeowner’s association rules to the proper authorities (and hope for good behavior on open house day).


Photos courtesy of nayukim, Ecstatic Mark, pena2, klynslis, harbortrees and susie.c