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The 3 Things You Can Control That REALLY Devalue Your Home

As a responsible homeowner, you should always keep the value of your home in mind. Chances are, the day will come when you want to sell. Whether it’s to move or downsize, American homeowners sell and move, on average, every five to seven years. 

Now, there are some aspects of your property value that you cannot change. Things like noisy neighbors, a nearby property’s overgrown yard, bad school district, or an overall bad location, like say near a dump or power plant for instance. Luckily, there are some things you can control.

To get the best equity out of your property, here are three things you can do to keep or increase the value in your home.

#1 Your Curb Appeal

While you can’t control how John next door takes care of his lawn, you can control yours. Curb appeal is a major seller when it comes to homes and it’s easy to see why. The first impression goes a long way. It is estimated that more than 80% of homebuyers are searching for their properties online. The first thing they will see is the picture of your front yard. If it doesn’t look up to snuff, they won’t even give it a second click.

Maintaining your yard while you are living there will make it a lot easier to have a picture perfect property when it comes time to sell. Every few years, it’s a good idea to give your yard a basic makeover. Adding a few value-boosting items can go a long way. Try some basics like:

  • Flowering shrubs
  • Good quality mulch
  • A fresh paved sidewalk
  • Stone planters

Make sure you don’t go too crazy, though. You don’t want to spend more than you can get out of it. Unless of course, you want to just because it looks nice. Generally speaking, it’s probably best not to go over a couple thousand dollars.  

#2 Major Repairs

I’m sure you understand how valuable a good roof is, right? How about a functioning HVAC system? These repairs can be money makers or deal breakers when it comes to your home value. If you think your roof is on it’s way out, go ahead and start finding the funds to replace it. Otherwise you will find it being a very strong point of contention when it comes time to sell, taking a good chunk of your home value down. You can almost guarantee that future home owners are not going to be willing to foot the cost for you.

If the big ticket cost of these repairs is too much to tackle at the moment, start a separate savings for them. Chances are you aren’t looking to sell right away so you can take the time to save up for the repairs when the time comes. Some sellers have found offering to pay for the new roof at the time of sale can help motivate a buyer to commit. The idea of a shiny new roof to welcome them home is just too exciting to pass up.

#3 Major Renovation Rooms (Kitchen and Bathroom)

Two more big ticket repairs I’m sure you don’t want to make are major selling areas like your bathrooms and kitchen. You’ve probably already heard that these are the two areas that can do a lot to actually add value to your property. But I bet you didn’t think about how much they can DEVALUE your home should you choose not to do the repairs.

This is particularly true if you’re selling in a hot market where buyers have multiple options. While you may have a fair asking price and a pretty decent rest of the house, if a buyer sees the need for major renovations, they’re going to want to walk out.

While making your kitchen and bathroom renovations, don’t forget to use neutral colors and design features that can appeal to a wide variety of buyers. Maybe you love extremely modern sinks and wildly colored mosaic floor tiles, but Mr. and Mrs. Buyer may not. Major renovation value boosters include:

  • Hardwood floors
  • Freshly painted cabinets (best not to do this one yourself)
  • Granite countertops
  • Designer backsplash
  • Updated lighting (try under cabinet lighting)

If you already have a fairly updated kitchen, consider small renovations like new hardware or a fresh new faucet. Even paint color can make a big difference. According to, if your walls are white, you may be doing your home value a disservice. Lack of paint color, white or eggshell-colored kitchens, sold below expectations. Surprisingly, yellow kitchens were a big hit with home buyers, giving off a warm and cheery feel. According to Zillow, homes with yellow kitchens, often painted in a wheat or creamy yellow, sell for a $1,360 premium.

Remember, it’s best not to wait until the month you decide to sell your home to make these renovations. Try and maintain your home value throughout your time spent living there, and save up for the major items if you need to. You’ll not only increase and maintain the value of your home, you’ll get to actually live in a nicer place too!

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Josh Mente

Real Estate Leader Josh Mente, is a founding member and owner of The MD Home Team of Keller Williams Excellence, and is responsible for business administration and marketing for the firm. Josh’s career path began in 1998 as a loan officer for Eastern Savings Bank, where he managed national accounts. He later joined Option One Mortgage originating more than 500 transactions per year valued at $100M+ in sales. In 2006, Mente shifted his expertise to real estate sales, gained his license and focused on buy/fix/sell transactions. Josh is a member of Elite Real Estate Network (ERN), the 2009 Rookie of the Year for Long and Foster corporate, and in 2012 ranked 206 and 2013 ranked 234 in Real Trends of the Wall Street Journal, ranking in the top 250 agents nationwide for all brokerages. From any early age, Josh was introverted and worked hard to overcome a fears of sales - a business that doesn't lend itself well to introverted people. When challenged by a manager that he didn’t have what it took for a specific job, Josh pushed forward and won approval in his new position. That was a pivotal moment that set the pace for his success in real estate sales. Having earned an AA degree from Montgomery College in business administration in 1995 and a Bachelors of Arts Degree from Towson University in Mass Communications 1997, Josh married his college sweetheart Melinda and they now have three wonderful daughters that provide the opportunity to watch them grow up and experience things for the first time. A committed sports fanatic, Josh spends time on the golf course, and follows the Ravens and Orioles as a season ticket holder. He is a part owner of two restaurants in Manhattan, enjoys music and time away with the family at their beach house in Rehoboth, DE. He hopes to find time for his hobbies that include building furniture, playing guitar, learning Spanish and flying planes.

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