I'm a Property Expert and These Are the 5 Things That Devalue Your Home
Eric Bramlett, owner of Bramlett Residential, shares his thoughts on key things that impact offers.
Would-be homeowners are always looking for the "right" time to buy, while sellers also want to make sure that they receive and accept the best offer possible. If you're in the latter camp and gearing up to put your home on the market—or thinking about doing so at some point down the road—you're probably considering your property value. You have a rough understanding of what can impact this number, including your home's condition, age, and location, some of which are out of your control. However, according to property expert Eric Bramlett, owner of Bramlett Residential, there are five other things you're doing or failing to do that can affect the offers you receive. Read on for five things that Bramlett warns may devalue your home.
Neglecting the primary bedroom
While the primary bedroom is a private spot, when you're looking to entice potential buyers, it's one of the most important selling points. So, don't neglect it!
"Often homeowners pour their energy and resources into updating communal spaces like living rooms or kitchens, believing these to be the areas of interest for potential buyers. So they might unintentionally neglect one of the most intimate and crucial spaces, the [primary] bedroom," Bramlett explains. "This room serves as a sanctuary, a private retreat within the home, and its condition can significantly influence a buyer's perception of the entire property."
The idea of renovating the main bedroom may seem overwhelming and expensive, but according to Bramlett, it doesn't have to be.
"Simple, cost-effective changes can make a world of difference," he says. "For instance, a fresh coat of neutral paint can instantly refresh and modernize the room, making it feel more spacious and welcoming. Modern lighting fixtures can transform the ambiance, adding warmth and sophistication."
Making sure it's tidy and well-decorated is also helpful, so it feels "curated and comfortable, allowing potential buyers to imagine themselves settling in with ease," Bramlett says.
There's a reason people say, "You only get one chance to make a first impression," and the same rings true for your home. That's why Bramlett warns about "costly clutter."
"The initial impression a potential buyer forms when they enter a home is so important. A cluttered environment can instantly give off a chaotic and unwelcoming vibe, potentially deterring buyers right from the outset," he says.
Not only that, but clutter can be deceptive and make rooms look smaller than they really are.
"This can lead buyers to believe that the house lacks the necessary storage or living space they need," Bramlett says.
Clutter also takes away from any unique architecture or features your home may have, and if you leave behind a mess, buyers could infer that you aren't taking care of the house itself.
"Buyers could also wonder if a homeowner who hasn't decluttered might also be neglecting essential repairs and upkeep," Bramlett says. "Prospective buyers often lean towards homes that give off a 'move-in ready' aura. A cluttered home, conversely, seems to promise additional effort and time before it becomes a comfortable dwelling."
He continues, "Beyond the practicalities, homes also resonate on an emotional level. Clutter can inadvertently induce feelings of stress, anxiety, and disorder—emotions that sellers would not want associated with their property."
Following TikTok trends
Trends come and go, and the same thing can be said of home decor. (Who could ever forget the Tuscan kitchen trend that dominated the early 2000s?)
But Bramlett specifically cautions against following social media home design trends, as they can change with the wind. If you pick one that doesn't withstand the test of time, your property could be negatively affected.
"The very nature of TikTok, with its fast-paced content consumption and ever-evolving trends, means that what's in vogue today might be passé tomorrow. This rapid cycle of trends can be a potential pitfall for homeowners looking to increase their property's value," he explains.
He uses the example of the Cottagecore aesthetic, which has a rural and vintage feel, that amassed 14.9 billion views on TikTok. Trends like these may look attractive in a one-minute video but think before you make any drastic changes to your home.
"A Cottagecore-inspired kitchen, reminiscent of farmhouse styles, can easily tip into the realm of cluttered and chaotic if not meticulously executed," Bramlett says. "Try leaning into more classic design elements as a safer bet. Opting for neutral-colored cabinetry offers a timeless appeal."
Forgetting about flooring
You may be quick to think about the furniture and lighting fixtures you need to update in your home, but flooring can be even more important. Bramlett describes it as "one of the most expansive visual elements in the home." And it's definitely something buyers notice during a showing or while browsing Zillow.
"Flooring is a foundational aspect of interior design, influencing the ambiance of a space and even the perceived value of the property," Bramlett says. "When potential buyers walk into a home, the flooring often serves as a primary point of assessment. Worn-out, damaged, or outdated flooring can immediately set a negative tone, suggesting neglect or required future renovations, which can be a significant deterrent."
Similar to clutter, bad or deteriorated flooring can make buyers question the upkeep of the home and reduce the perceived value, he explains.
But before you start to panic about the price and time it takes to replace flooring, Bramlett offers a few suggestions.
"Updating a home's flooring doesn't necessarily require a hefty investment," he says. "Laminate flooring can mimic the look of hardwood or natural stone, providing the charm of these materials without the associated cost or maintenance. Similarly, vinyl plank flooring offers versatility in design, is easy to install, and boasts impressive durability, making it an attractive option for both homeowners and potential buyers."
Choosing paint that's too bold.
Your home should reflect your taste and truly be the place where you feel the most comfortable. But, of course, our favorite things aren't universal—and your paint preferences might align with those of your potential buyers.
"The choice of paint color in a home is more than just an aesthetic decision; it plays a pivotal role in shaping the ambiance of a space and can influence potential buyers' perceptions," he says. "Extremely vivid or unusual paint colors can deter potential buyers, especially those who struggle to visualize beyond the existing decor."
While you don't need to make changes if you're not planning to move, when you are ready to sell, you may want to consider a fresh coat of paint.
"I recommend opting for neutral shades that possess warm undertones as they not only make spaces feel inviting but also offer a timeless appeal, ensuring that the home remains attractive to potential buyers for a longer duration," Bramlett says. "Leaning towards neutrals and considering the broader market can be instrumental in enhancing a property's appeal and value."
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