There are a number of things we should avoid because they have a detrimental effect on the price of our property. Here's a list of things to avoid.
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10 Worst Things You Can Do to Decrease the Value of Your Home
Unprofessional home improvements
The worst culprits amongst these is the home made lean-to extension. When a prospective buyer sees one of these 'botch jobs' the first thing they think of is the cost of removing it and then doing it again properly. These kind of do-it-yourself disaster areas can really bring down the feel of a house.
They create the impression that maybe the whole building has been put together shoddily. Take a look around your home and if you have any DIY cupboards, tiling, flooring or shelving consider calling in a professional to create a perfect finnish. It may be well worth the investment. Another tip is to ask a friend what they think because most people are blind to the flaws in their own handy work.
One of the most off-putting things for a potential buyer is the yellowing of walls and ceilings and the smell of stale smoke. It's not an entirely rational response because a good airing and lick of white paint can undo the worst of years of tobacco abuse. If this sounds like you and your home, you would do well to do everything to cover up the evidence. Even consider smoking in the back yard if that's not a step too far for you.
One of the tricks used by Hollywood to create the illusion of a tiny person is to use extra large furniture. This optical illusion applies to rooms as well. Put a super king size bed in a regular bedroom and it makes it appear cramped. Some people do this deliberately arguing that people will think it must be a large room in order to fit such a large bed.
But it doesn't work like that buyers don't notice the large bed they just see a small room. If you visit a show home put together by a professional, take along a tape measure. You maybe surprised to discover the beds and furniture used to dress the property are smaller than standard sizes. There are companies who specialize in making furniture specifically for this purpose.
Too much decking or paving
If you have a family home i.e. more than one bedroom, you are going to need somewhere for the kids to play out back. Some people, particularly those without children, consider replacing grass with attractive wooden decking or patio paving stones. This is bad news for the value of your property as it puts off families and if you want to get the highest price for your home you can't afford to lose such a large chunk of the market.
Pets and children
If you have pets or children then there is not much you can do about this one. It is a fact of life that dogs leave hair on carpets, cats like to scratch and kids delight in crayoning over walls. The best you can do is a damage limitation with a bit of discipline and do the best you can to make good the problems. This may be something to think about when you redecorate e.g. choose a floor covering resistant to scratches from dog claws.
Never show a property with the garden in a bad state. When people look out of the window and see overgrown lawn, flowers being strangled by weeds and dying plants it creates a feel bad factor and reminds them that gardens mean work.
For the amount of time, effort or money it takes to fix it's worth making the investment. If your not the sort of person to go out there and get your hands dirty consider getting professionals to create a low maintenance garden. This can be achieved with such things as weed retarding netting and plants that thrive on neglect such as succulents and cacti.
It pays to get on with your neighbors. A dispute with a neighbor can really put off a potential buyer. If nothing has gone to court then chances are nothing will turn up in the usual searches done prior to buying a property.
However disagreeable neighbors have a nasty habit of scuppering house sales before they go through. Wherever possible try and keep good relations with your fellow residents. If they ask you for something try and be cooperative, you never know when you may need to ask them to keep that wolf hound indoors or park their collection of vintage cars off the front lawn.
This one is a no-brainer really. People have a negative psychological reaction to an untidy or cluttered house. It's a simple one to remedy. Just tidy and get rid of stuff. Professional property developers like to include a bare minimum of furniture and objects. Just enough to make it feel homely without detracting from the sense of space that an empty room creates.
One sure way to make a property feel less valuable is to use the cheapest fittings you can. Little things like quality door handles and modern fittings in the bathroom can really lift a property. If you can't afford to upgrade the kitchen consider simply replacing the cupboard and drawer handles with the best you can find.
Over recent decades people have replaced old windows with modern double glazed windows. This is great for creating a warmer home the only problem is many have replaced desirable period features with unattractive PVC windows. Be very cautious about ripping out old windows. An alternative is to have these windows refurbished rather than replaced. It's cheaper and retains the window that is appropriate for the style and age of the building.