5 Improvements which Sabotage Home Sales

The phrase “home improvement” can be a misnomer. The fact is, not every addition, conversion, or stylistic change will bring a return on investment. Truth be told, some so-called improvements aren’t worth the time, money, or effort and effectively act to propagate a negative impression on potential buyers.

If you’re ready to put your home up for sale, and it has one of these five features, do yourself a favor and change it now. If you don’t, your property will linger on the market for many months and in that time there will be little to no interest. It’s even possible that you will not have many people to come see your home because they’ve already formed a negative opinion about it after seeing it on the internet.

When Improvements become Marketing Impediments

The vast majority of home buyers want a property that is move-in ready, they do not want an ongoing project that takes up every weekend and cost them money in the process. While there are individuals which are looking for a project home, they are highly likely to be looking at foreclosures, bank-owned properties, and short sales. Properties which will come with a nice discount, a simple trade-off for the necessary labor to get it in a livable condition.

“Like many people, you might be under the impression that home improvements are good investments that pay for themselves when you sell your house. You’d be wrong in most cases. Except for steel entry doors, that is. Such doors tend to recoup 102% of the construction cost when a home is sold. A front door made of fiberglass–which actually costs more to buy and install–won’t pay off nearly as well. It only pulls in 60% of its original cost. The sad truth is that most home improvements are like fiberglass doors, and won’t come close to paying for themselves.” —Forbes

It’s a real but little known fact that some “improvements” are a waste of time and money for owners wanting to sell.

Five Improvements which Keep a Home from Selling

There are several home improvements which bring a healthy return on investment. However, these are actually few compared to the ones which fetch little to no return and act as a barrier when it comes to resale. Here are the five biggest buyer turn-offs:

  1. A bedroom that’s no longer a bedroom. Sure, you needed that space for a home office , a craft room, or converted it into a media room. That was your choice, however, buyers do not choose to purchase homes which have one less bedroom. In fact, studies show that buyers actually purchase properties with one more bedroom even if it has less square footage or said rooms are smaller in size.
  2. A pool that isn’t preferred. Above ground pools are great for cooling off during the summer months but they are considered an eyesore to most buyers. What’s more, buyers will only think about the time and effort to tear it down and of course, the mess that’s lurking underneath. Get it out of your yard and remove all signs it was even there before you list your property for sale.
  3. A colorful conundrum. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and personal preferences play a large role in purchase decisions. What is stylish and clever to you isn’t likely to be perceived by others in the same way. Neutral, soothing colors work best and there’s no changing that reality. So, break out the drop cloths and paint brushes and make the necessary changes.
  4. A tub load of hot water troubles. A hot tub makes for a great place to relax and unwind, be it in the evening or on the weekend. However, a precarious phenomenon exists in these as people like to have a home with one, just not yours. Buyers see these as germ incubators when they belong to someone else. Of course, you might get lucky and find a buyer who wants nothing more, but that’s unlikely to happen.
  5. A garage that isn’t for cars, tools, and other stuff. Some homeowners convert their garage into livable square footage to gain extra space to relax and entertain. Three out of four buyers purchase a home because it has a garage. If you’ve already made the conversion, there’s not much you can do, but if you’re toying with the idea to do it before you sell in the future, think long and hard. People like a place to store things and have shelter from inclement weather when lugging groceries from the car into the kitchen.