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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

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

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, 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

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 Outdated kitchens and baths

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

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 agent reports that pet odor can result in listings selling for $20,000 - $30,000 less than it should have.

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

6. Bad neighbors

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.

Mike Skahen, Real Estate Broker

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).

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