ScaredyCatGuide to Real Estate: Five Things that Devalue Your Home

in LeoFinance15 days ago

Whether it's our home or a rental property the goal is t0 maximize the value of it when looking to sell or rent it. Let's talk about things that devalue a home so we can avoid them.


Five Things that Devalue Your Home
1.) Continued Neglect of Maintenance

Trust me, I know it stinks to spend money on things that are not a must. However, the more you wait to fix and/or improve things the worse they become often times, thus costing even more.

Items like cracked windows and broken shower tiles are examples. By leaving them broken you are exposing yourself to possible water damage, which adds an additional layer of repairs.

Don't forget the cosmetics either. A fresh coat of paint before putting a property up for sale does wonders.

2.) Illegal Improvements/Additions

This should be obvious. If you do improvements that are not on the up and up you will run into issues when selling. Adding a third bedroom without pulling the proper permits will screw you in the long run. You will not be able to sell the property as a three bedroom, but as a two, which will both be appraised and sell for less.

3.) School District Rating

This isn't a concern for buyers or renters without children, but that is only a part of your potential pool. It will be hard to get a top dollar sales price or rental rate if the property is in a poor school district.

There isn't much we can do to control this outside of doing research before acquiring the property and keeping a bird's eye view on what is happening in the district while owning the property.

4.) Outdated bathrooms and kitchen

If the appliances are from the era of your parent's childhood, its time to replace them. If there is anything you want to spend money on it's the bathrooms and the kitchen.

Be sure that everything is functional in addition to having at least a tid bit of eye appeal. The bottom line is a buyer or renter will pick your property over another for something as simple as having a nice looking faucet - it's true.

5.) Curb Appeal

If you have a property with a front yard, be sure it's presentable. You do not need beautiful expensive landscaping, just whole and presentable landscaping.

Having a nice lawn with no large dead or brown spots coupled with a fence that is painted and free of any breaks is simple enough yet makes a difference.


Those are five things that devalue your home. As you can see none of them are big issues to avoid or amend so be sure not to let them drag on your property's value.

If you enjoy my posts and property investing tips, then you will love the book:

ScaredyCatGuide – Investing in Rental Properties

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Number 2 depends on where you live. In some jurisdictions here, the onus is on the buyer to find out whether there have been any illegal structures or extensions built. By then, if they are not too extensive, most buyers just accept the structure and proceed with the sale.

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I'm buying one now where I know there is an illegal 3rd apartment. However, I am buying it at a 2 unit price ;-)

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Broken bathroom tiles are not an issue if the building code requires waterproofing under the tiles on the floor and on the walls. Bathroom tiles are not meant for waterproofing because the cement between them is not waterproof itself.

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The level of HGTV looking home everyone wants when buying a single family house means cosmetics now play into what it will sell for. A re-tiled bathroom will sell faster and for more. At least from my experience in the U.S.

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I'm not saying broken tiles are not a disadvantage. Just saying that they are not a moisture issue in themselves. Or if they are, we're talking about a building code that is very lax and that moisture damage is guaranteed regardless of whether the tiles have cracks in them or not.

Also, if you plan to change individual tiles that have cracks in them time without renovating the entire bathroom, that could be a problem if there is proper waterproofing under the tiles. That's because taking the tiles off the underlying cement layer above the waterproofing could damage the waterproofing layer. Always consult an expert before you do anything.

Nice. Great advice. I would also love to see a list of easy thing that you can do to add value to your house.

I have a post on that floating around from back in the day. I could always re-purpose and post it.

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Number two often kicks people in the pants. I've seen many modifications only to realize when you go to sell the home it's in violation and needs to either be fixed or paying a fine to the HOA. A none HOA I'm not sure how much it matters in that case.

The other curb appeal I can't tell you how spending around $750 or less for new younger looking plants really brings new life to a home. It can take a 1970s home from the outside and turn it into a more modern and fresh home. Save some money by really cutting down overgrown bushes and hedges is a easy quick fix as well. Anything large and overgrown at least for me is a real turn off and ages the house.

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Yes, cleaning up curb appeal on the cheap always pays off because buyers are more focused on how things look than what type of shape they are in.

The unpermitted modifications come into play regardless of HOA. I'm currently buying a 3 family that is technically only a 2 family (illegal studio apartment) but buying it at a 2 family price. :-)

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Permissionless modifications are a really stupid idea. No investor or homeowner should ever make them.

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Good advice. Sometimes we spend money on our rental properties but neglect our own home. Then when it is time to sell you realize that if you had kept up with the maintenance you would have enjoyed your home much more during all those years.

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I completely agree. Don't forget things like neighborhood (homeowners) clubs, development in the area

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Yes, those are variables as well. So many more than 5 that could have been listed for sure :-)

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job development is a huge one :D

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