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May 11, 2023

Designs That Could Hurt Your Home's Value

There’s no arguing that owning a home is one of the biggest investments you'll make in your lifetime. It’s not just a literal roof over your head, it’s the symbolic heart of your family. Many people also see owning a home as one of the largest sources of relative wealth. And when well-maintained, it’s a stable and sizable resource for your family.

It’s always exciting to design the ins and outs of your new investment, however, there are a few caveats. Often overlooked until it’s too late, many design decisions come with long-range implications. Let’s review some real estate and design experts' advice on avoiding design trends that could actually hurt your home’s value. 

  • Overdoing the kitchen or bathroom. You’ve always wanted built-in appliances and a professional range. And floor-to-ceiling marble and a huge soaking tub are your dream bathroom. High-end finishes may seem like a good investment, but the numbers show that going over the top doesn’t yield a better ROI. “Over-building” for your home’s price range isn’t going to improve the sale price, and you’ll be wasting your resources. 

  • Knocking down walls to combine bedrooms. One of the primary rules of real estate is that bedrooms are sacred. More bedrooms = more value. Creating a huge owner suite might seem like a great idea, but not everyone wants a massive bedroom. Especially if it means that there is one less bedroom that they need for their kids, visitors, or flex space. 

  • Removing closets or bathtubs. Much like bedrooms, closets and bathtubs are protected spaces. While you may want to steal more room for a larger bathroom or bedroom, removing a closet is taboo. People ALWAYS want/need closets. And even if you can’t recall taking a bath at any point this century, if it’s the only tub in the house, it has to stay. Walking into a home with no bathtub or too few closets is an immediate red flag for potential future homebuyers. 

  • Dedicated home theatre/gym/learning space/office. In our post-pandemic world, one of the new mantras of real estate is: Refrain from making flex spaces less flexible. A wave of COVID renovations has created new “dedicated” spaces. But future homeowners won’t necessarily need a permanent theatre or gym where the garage used to be. Or a former guest room with built-in office fixtures. Don’t permanently convert a room or the garage into something the next homeowner might not want. 

  • Anything too quirky or personal. Whether it’s the intricately patterned tile you fell in love with or the custom mural that graces the kids’ playroom or the textured walls inspired by your travels, any design feature that screams “UNIQUE” is most likely not going to have the same attraction for other people. All future buyers will see is one more thing they’re going to have to remove before they can move in. 

  • Badly done work. Maybe you tried your hand at DIY or the guy you hired turned out to be a dud. Either way, bad workmanship is bad for your home’s value. If you have a project that didn’t turn out quite right - the leaning fire pit or the unintentionally abstract woodwork or the door that doesn’t shut - get it fixed. Even one spot of shoddy work makes people question the quality of your entire home. 

  • Too much wallpaper/too bold paint. While fun wallpaper or a pop of bright color on the walls might seem like a small design move to you, future homeowners might see them as large headaches. No one wants to imagine hours spent steaming wallpaper down or priming and repainting bold colors that keep showing through. 

We don’t want to crush your dreams of designing your ideal home, we just want to show you how some of these ideas can hurt the value of your big investment. Especially since some of these design moves are easier to un-do than others. Paint & wallpaper can be fixed by a good painter in no time. A carpenter or handyman can repair doors and woodwork. But anything that requires major demo work or a huge investment in materials (like a kitchen or bathroom) also requires careful thought and planning. Talk to an expert before you do anything.

Better yet, start with an Ernest home you know you’ll love! This way you won’t feel the need to make so many changes. Connect with us by phone or online today to help personalize the home you want with all of the features and finishes you like from the start. We look forward to assisting you!

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