How to Lower the Value of Your Austin Home: 12 Easy Tips

Worried About Your Property Value?

I hear about folks who are worried about what their home is worth. They want to know what they can do to improve the value of their home. This is especially true when the home is about to go on the market and the owners (sellers) are hoping to get top dollar.

Often they overlook what they’ve done to decrease their property value.

So, here are some of the ways to lower the value of a home. Once things like this have been taken care of, then it makes sense to think of projects that can be done that can actually add value.

  1. Let your six Rotweilers tear up the backyard and chew holes in the fence.
  2. Install burgandy and forest green carpet, especially in the bathrooms. Especially up and over the edge of the tub surround.
  3. Be as ecletic as possible, and make sure the paint and wallpaper in each room has a theme such as “Barbie’s Palace”, “The Tiki Lounge” and “The Dino Den”, complete with plastered and textured boulders on the walls.
  4. Paint the solid wood cabinets with cheap flat paint in bright colors.
  5. Let the drains leak under the sinks to make sure the cabinet interiors are nice and rotty.
  6. Patch the roof with different types and colors of shingles. Bonus points for red or yellow.
  7. Put on an addition and make sure you don’t pull permits.
  8. Drain the pool and let it fill with rainwater, leaves, dead rodents and mosquitos.
  9. Tape up broken windows instead of replacing them, since a little water coming in never hurt anything.
  10. Install a drop-down ceiling on a metal grid, instead of scraping the popcorn or abating the old asbestos ceiling texture.
  11. Make sure the flooring is mix-n-match, and buy whatever is on sale for dirt cheap at the local home improvement center. Bonus points for low-quality laminate flooring in the kitchen and other wet areas (unless, of course, those areas already have carpet).
  12. Don’t clean up after your pets. Everybody loves cats and dogs, and no one will mind the accumulated thatches of hair stuck to the baseboards, especially in the kitchen near the food bowls.

Who Buys Homes Like This?

Each item on that list is a real nuisance to remedy. If you’re okay with selling your home at a discount, then just leave this stuff for someone else to fix. That often knocks out a lot of potential buyers since many have no idea what it might cost to fix each of the items on the list. Others might have an idea of the cost to repair something but don’t want the hassle.

The most likely purchaser for a fixer-upper (and yes, these items put a house into that category) is an investor, flipper or bargain hunter.

If you’re considering doing any of these things to your home . . . don’t. If you must paint a room in a theme, be prepared to neutralize it before you put the house on the market.

Clean It Up Before You List

When I sold my own home last fall, I re-painted all of the rooms that were overly-customized (Purple! Stencils! Ceiling Clouds! Orange!), and installed new carpeting that matched in all of the bedrooms. I even carpeted over a gorgeous (in my mind) custom concrete floor in the downstairs master bedroom because the agents in my real estate sales office thought the swirls of charcoal and black would be a deterrant to potential buyers.

The gigantic custom loft came down in the boys’ bedroom because it obscurred a window, and a handful of cracked windows were replaced (as were ALL of the screens, since many were warped, some were torn, some were missing and all were a little tatty after 25 years). A custom mesquite bathroom countertop that had water damage was replaced with granite (expected in the area).

Although I don’t have dogs, I have kids, and they had completely trashed the grass in the backyard. It took a few months for the new sod to take root and fill in, so if you’ve got a similar problem make sure to leave enough time before you list the home to get the grass looking good again.

If you’ve seen horrors like the list above in homes in your area, please share your stories in the comments, below!

And . . . a hat tip to Ryan Lundquist. His Sacramento Appraisal Blog sets the standard for appraisal blogs and this article is my twist on his post from a few weeks ago.