7 Ways People Destroy the Value of Their Homes, According to a Real Estate Agent

Sean Locke Photography / Shutterstock.com

Sean Locke Photography / Shutterstock.com

Josh Dotoli founded Dotoli Group in 2013, and the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based real estate firm now consistently ranks among the top 1% for sales production nationwide. With over 100 transactions per year and $200 million in closed sales in 2022 alone, it is the No. 1 brokerage in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade.

While Dotoli urges his clients to add as much value as possible to the properties he sells in the crucial year before listing, he’s seen plenty of them do things that have precisely the opposite effect.

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“While most homeowners aim to increase the value of their homes, there are several actions that can have a detrimental effect, causing your home’s value to decline in less than one year,” said Dotoli. “Here are some ways to destroy the value of your home.”

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Neglecting Maintenance

With physical structures, small problems always become big problems if given enough time, and one of the least productive ways to use 12 months is to spend it letting an issue fester.

“Failing to address necessary repairs and maintenance issues can quickly erode your home’s value,” said Dotoli. “This includes ignoring leaks, damaged roofing, plumbing problems, or electrical issues. Neglecting maintenance can lead to more significant and costly problems over time.”

Over-Personalizing Your Home

Sure, you love your hot pink avant-garde bathroom decor and industrial graffiti mural above the couch in the living room — but you’re selling, not buying.

“Highly personalized renovations or design choices, such as unique paint colors, unconventional layouts, or overly niche features, can limit the appeal of your home to potential buyers,” said Dotoli. “It’s essential to strike a balance between personal style and broad market appeal.”

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Ignoring Curb Appeal

The exterior image buyers see when they pull up to your home will frame their opinion of the entire rest of the house. After all, if you let your unkempt landscaping and moldy, soiled hardscaping deteriorate so hideously, what have you left to rot inside the home?

“Neglecting the exterior of your home can discourage potential buyers,” said Dotoli. “This includes failing to maintain the lawn, letting landscaping become overgrown, or allowing the exterior to deteriorate. A poor first impression can deter buyers from even entering your home.”

DIY-ing Beyond Your Abilities

Just because they make it look easy on HGTV doesn’t mean you can pull it off in real life. Tackling projects on your own can be a great way to save money and force equity — unless the results are shoddily done with an amateurish appearance.

“While DIY projects can save money, poorly executed renovations can decrease your home’s value,” said Dotoli. “Subpar workmanship or cutting corners can lead to issues that require expensive repairs down the line.”

Failing To Make Energy-Efficient Improvements

Nearly all modern buyers put energy-saving and environmentally friendly features that reduce utility bills high on their list of must-haves. In this case, homeowners devalue their properties not by what they do in a year, but by what they don’t do.

“In today’s environmentally conscious market, homes that are not energy-efficient can be less attractive to buyers,” said Dotoli. “Failing to upgrade insulation, windows, or heating and cooling systems can hurt your home’s value.”

Adding Unpermitted Structures

A good agent will quickly spot illegal additions, which should wave huge legal, financial and safety red flags to the buyers they represent.

“Constructing additions or structures without the necessary permits can lead to legal and financial troubles,” said Dotoli. “Unpermitted work can reduce your home’s value and make selling challenging.”

Setting an Unrealistic Asking Price

Finally, there’s the self-defeating action that some buyers fall victim to at the very end of the 12-month period right at the moment of listing — being overly optimistic about what they think their home is worth.

You never want to sell yourself short, but high-balling can extend your listing’s dreaded days-on-market (DOM) timeline.

“Setting an unrealistically high asking price for your home can deter potential buyers and lead to your property languishing on the market, ultimately decreasing its perceived value,” said Dotoli.

From neglecting basic upkeep to unrealistic pricing, it doesn’t take more than a year for homeowners to sabotage their properties’ values — but they don’t have to.

“To maintain or increase your home’s value, it’s crucial to prioritize regular maintenance, consider the preferences of potential buyers, and make informed decisions about renovations and improvements,” said Dotoli. “Consulting with a real estate agent or appraiser can provide valuable guidance on how to protect and enhance your home’s value over time.”

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