Features That Reduce Your Property Value – You Might Be Surprised…

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a-step-back-in-time

I followed him* through each room, making notes and taking measurements. My client had requested a home valuation, and we were about to enter the Great Room. He waved a hand across the room as though revealing a King’s dining hall. It wasn’t.

The mid-century home had, at one time, been owned by someone my client greatly admired. He eyed my notes, hinting I should include that tidbit as a selling feature. The “timeless classic” was adorned in brightly colored floral wallpaper, as was the style at the time. He hiked his eyebrows and eyed my notes again.

Room by room I was shown mid-century ‘original features’ which, I gathered from the arched eyebrows and wide grin, he assumed added value to the home.  To his surprise, it didn’t.

The 20-30 year old buyers who will most likely purchase an older house like this, don’t dig ‘dated’. They do not worship the historical roots of floral wall paper, and experience little nostalgia because of panelled walls, or arched stucco doorways. If they buy the home it will be in spite of these things, not because of them.

If I may, I’d like to offer a few quick tips about what does NOT add value to your home, no matter how passionately you believe they should. 

  • “Original” or “Classic” are names for Barbeque sauce, not to be mistakenly assigned to shag carpet or floral wallpaper. If it is not the current style, it is dated. Dated décor is the opposite of a selling feature.
  • Dated Architecture is, in general, not a selling feature. No, yours is not the exception unless it is an historical landmark to the general population (not just ‘owned by grandpa and built with his own hands’), and has remarkably sound structure not in need of a ridiculously expensive overhaul. Most likely, that’s not you.
  • Sentimental Features. Anything that was ‘built by hand’ by a relative of yours, or was brought over from the Mother Land or Old Country… anything that is valuable to you because of sentiment does not convert to a higher price tag. Sorry. I know this is hard to hear. It just doesn’t. (Would you pay more for a home because someone’s great grandfather brought the fireplace mantle from England a hundred years ago? )

Look, styles change for a reason. It’s the rare buyer that wrings their hands wishing to find an old house – the tinier the better – that still has original windows and vintage wallpaper, with a side of timeless vinyl flooring. It is rarer still that a buyer would expect to pay more for these ‘features’.

The best bet, if you’re selling your house anyway, is to let go of the emotional attachment to it.(or at least the hope that the new buyers would pay extra because of  it) No one will share your emotions about the house. If you’re wanting the extra dollars, renovate it to meet current buyers’ expectations. Add modern features that will attract modern buyers. THEN we can talk about how those affect the valuation, deal?

 

*not meant to reflect a specific person. This is a ficticious character created from a combination of my experiences.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jeff Stern

    Tina, the points you raise are quite common in the minds of home sellers whom either bought their family homestead having called it their “home” for decades, raising their children and seeing them “leave the nest” and ready for the next leg of their journey entering retirement. Always a difficult conversation but an important one to lessen the emotional stress of parting with their brick and mortar memories. Sage advice from you, a caring and compassionate Real Estate Peofessional.

  2. Jeff Stern

    Tina, the points you raise are quite common in the minds of home sellers whom either bought their family homestead having called it their “home” for decades, raising their children and seeing them “leave the nest” and ready for the next leg of their journey entering retirement. Always a difficult conversation but an important one to lessen the emotional stress of parting with their brick and mortar memories. Sage advice from you, a caring and compassionate Real Estate Professional.

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