top of page

6 Factors That Make Your Home Sell for Less...and How to Fix Them

I think we can all agree that major home features like outdated kitchens and bathrooms and 1980s finishes are likely to reduce your property value. But the truth is, there is much more to a home’s value than that. Here are 6 more subtle or maybe unexpected items that can significantly impact what your home is likely to sell for AND how to fix them. The good news? Many of the fixes are simpler and lower cost than you might think.

1. DIY Projects Gone Wrong – Most homeowners take on projects not only to improve the space for themselves but also to add value to their home. However, many people don’t consider that projects done incorrectly or incompletely can actually harm your property value. While some smaller projects are usually safe to tackle on your own, unless you have experience in home renovation, the bigger projects are best left to the professionals, particularly when making structural changes or working with electricity or plumbing. Cosmetic finishes matter too. Buyers will see things like poorly laid tile, uneven flooring, bad paint jobs, and other incorrectly done DIY projects as items to fix on their to-do list and will likely want concessions for it.

2. A Bad or Outdated Paint Job – Paint can be an easy project to DIY, as long as you have the right supplies and are willing to take the time needed to do a thorough job. If not, it is probably best to hire someone to do the job for you. A fresh neutral palette will help your home sell for thousands more than a home with bright or outdated paint colors or busy, outdated wallpaper.

3. Excessive Clutter – It’s totally normal to accumulate more belongings the longer you live in a home, but did you know that your stuff can negatively impact the value of your home? In fact, excessive clutter, like a bad paint job, can cause your home to sell for thousands less than a decluttered or neat home. Decluttering is an inexpensive way to add value to your home and make it feel more spacious. Donate items you no longer use or start packing if you are selling your home and planning on moving anyways. No clue where to start? Check out my post on a simple decluttering method to get you started.

4. Unpleasant Odors – It’s easy to become nose blind to scents you smell on a regular basis. So, any unpleasant odor in your home might not be completely obvious to you. However, it’s vital to know if they are present because not only does a bad smell leave a negative first impression, but it can also hurt the value of your property. Whether it is pet, mold, trash, or food-related, it’s important to get to the root of the smell and eliminate it. While it may be tempting to try to cover up the smell, it’s not going to solve your problem and can actually make a smell more offensive. Once you’ve addressed the smell, it’s equally important to keep it from coming back. Routine cleaning can help minimize offensive odors and keep your property attractive to potential buyers.

5. Deferred Maintenance – Damaged or rotten siding, clogged gutters, an unrepaired leak or unserviced HVAC may seem like relatively minor details. However, lack of home upkeep is one of the biggest red flags to buyers that other items might be lagging too. Making sure you take care of these maintenance items before your home hits the market is critical to making it feel move-in ready and maximize your home’s attractiveness to buyers. The good news is that unless these things have been left in disrepair for a long time, fixing them is generally low cost or DIY worthy. However, leaving them for a buyer to deal with can actually cost you money in concessions or decreased interest.

6. Lack of Curb Appeal – You know the saying “never judge a book by its cover”? Yeah, that saying does not apply to houses on the market. The truth is, curb appeal matters. If a home is unattractive or appears unkempt at first glance the odds of a buyer even stepping foot into your home declines significantly. You don’t have to do a massive overhaul to make your home more attractive to buyers. Smaller updates and changes like a good pressure washing, small repairs, fresh paint and some lawn maintenance can go a long way in drawing buyers in. Want more ideas? Check out this post.

If you have you sold your home recently- What kind of feedback did you get from buyers that you weren’t expecting?

If you are currently searching for a home- What features, finishes, or red flags did you see that turned you off to certain homes?



My name is Lindsay Walston.

I'm a healthcare provider turned real estate agent with an eye for luxurious details. Let me show you how to create (or find!) a beautiful and functional home, no matter your budget.  Want to learn more?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
bottom of page