Finding out exactly what your home is worth can be a tough pill to swallow. Your house is likely filled with priceless memories and before an appraiser nitpicks every last inch of it, you’ll want to make sure you’ve done what you can to ensure your return on investment is as high as possible.
Understanding the factors that can risk devaluing your home and taking them into consideration can put you head and shoulders above the competition. While many of these factors are out of your control, there are some that aren’t. We’ll start by outlining the external factors that affect home value:
Prominent Infrastructure — Close proximity to power lines and power plants, commuter rails, highways, and other infrastructure could devalue your home significantly as a result of personal preference or safety and noise concerns.
One Word: Location – Many buyers are looking for a home near amenities, such as grocery stores, banks, restaurants and entertainment. Being close to good schools is also attractive to young families.
Neighbourhood Eyesores – We’ve all seen them. That one house that sticks out like a sore thumb on a tree-lined street of pristine homes: the overgrown grass, old boats, kids toys strewn all over the yard. Not only are these things hard on the eyes, they also have a negative impact on the value of your house.
Neighbourhood Crime – Now, unless you’re going to put on a cape or join the Neighbourhood Watch, you have absolutely no effect on the crime rate in your community. The crime rate, however, does have a significant effect on your home’s value.
Splish Splash – The pool where you spent weekends relaxing in the sun with your feet up may be filled with memories for you and your family and friends, but some home buyers may dismiss a home that comes with a pool. The extra expenses and home maintenance that come along with owning one may be less attractive to buyers currently in the market.
Now, let’s talk about the things you can do to avoid losing out on big bucks!
Butt out! It’s no secret that cigarette smoke is detrimental to your health, but did you know that smoking indoors can affect the value of your home as well? The odour, along with the yellow stain it leaves on walls and fixtures, is enough to devalue your home by 29%. Think you spent a lot of money buying cigarettes? Consider this: On a $500,000 home, you risk losing $145,000. If you have always had trouble quitting smoking, at the very least take it outside.
Reno Disaster – Find a quality contractor with a proven track record for excellent work and don’t hire someone just because they can do it cheaper. Cheap work usually means cut corners.
Lackluster Curb Appeal – The first impression of your home is made the second a potential home buyer drives up to it. Making a good impression can be as simple as making sure your lawn is freshly cut, your shutters and garage doors have a fresh coat of paint and your gardens are weeded and tended to.
Retro Rooms – Outdated kitchens and bathrooms can decrease the value of your home significantly. You don’t need to call in a renovation company to completely remodel the place, but adding a few modern updates can be a huge value-add. Fresh paint, new fixtures, and new countertop may be all you need.
Furry Friends – A strong pet odor, dog and cat hair, or scratched floors will decrease home value. A solid cleaning and repair of any pet-associated damages can ensure this doesn’t happen. You may also want to consider having your pet stay with a loved one while you are trying to sell.
Personal Taste – While you may love your Parisian-inspired motif, not everyone does. While most design elements are removable, home buyers have a hard time visualizing their décor in an already decked out space. Consider simplifying your staging approach by using a minimalistic approach. A fresh (neutral!) coat of paint and some quality flooring will make all the difference.
Keeping these factors in mind, you can take steps to ensure higher value in your home. Understanding buyer’s wants and needs will also help you check all the boxes on their wish lists. Want to know more about what they’re looking for? Check out Must-Have Home Décor & Design Features that Home Buyers Want in 2014: Part 1.