10 Factors That Will Instantly Lower Your Home’s Value

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House in winter (Photo: @Anyra via Twenty20)
Whether you’re exploring the idea of listing your home on the market, disappointed with low-ball offers or a lack of offers, or you’re looking to refinance your home, the goal is to see the highest valuations possible. But what factors affect a home’s value negatively?
Some factors are directly related to the physical dwelling. Some are environmental and can’t be changed easily. Either way, each of these factors will lower your home’s value.

1. High-Crime Neighborhood

For a variety of reasons, socio-economic makeup being a top one, there are certain neighborhoods that always seem to have higher crime rates. It makes residents feel insecure, and it sours the area for a potential home buyer. Because high crime rates, especially violent crime, make people feel unsafe, people often shy away from buying a home there. That’s a surefire way to lower a home’s value.

2. Proximity to Power Lines

Although not necessarily conclusive, studies show that living near power lines can contribute to health issues over extended periods of time. Right or misleading, a home that’s built within a quarter mile of transmission lines tends to have less appeal and lower value to prospective buyers.

3. Close to Train Tracks

The unexpected blast of a train’s horn at night is one thing, but exposure to particles from diesel locomotives is another. For a handful of reasons, living near train tracks tends to depreciate a home’s value in the eyes of a shopper or appraiser.

4. Poor Curb Appeal

First impressions of a home are from the street view. If a home looks rundown and in poor repair, fewer people will be interested in it, and at a lower price to boot. While a lower valuation is great for property tax purposes, it’s not good for selling your home or using it as collateral.

5. Structural Damage

One of the most expensive repairs a home can need is a foundation repair. Vertical cracks are concerning but the least severe as they can be relatively easy to repair and seal. Diagonal or horizontal cracks, on the other hand, are major issues that can be accompanied by shifting. All foundation cracks or structural damage are big red flags that lower your home’s value.

6. Outdated Interior

If you home has rust-red carpet or dark oak from the 70s, or if all the walls are coated in wallpaper with curling edges, people will have a lesser opinion of your home–even if the layout is great. An outdated interior looks like dollar signs and tons of work for shoppers and usually means it isn’t to their “move-in ready” liking. Outdated interiors drag down values substantially.

7. Certain Custom Upgrades and Finishes

If you have a custom-built home that’s been tailored uniquely to your wants, it can be tougher to sell. Disproportionate room sizes, high-end finishes in a mid-level home, or brightly-painted walls, trim, or cabinetry can deter would-be buyers. Or, they’ll offer you less with the intention of renovating.

8. Incomplete Repairs

Listing a home with deficiencies will take away from the value it has. It could be curling shingles that obviously need to be replaced. A dripping faucet, damaged doors, or a room without flooring may not be expensive to fix, but your home shows poorly because of it. Whether a minor or major item, incomplete repairs are bound to deter some buyers and pull your asking price lower.

9. Bad Neighbors

Sometimes, bad neighbors are obvious. It’s the neglected home beside you with the weed-covered lawn that hasn’t been cut. There could be rusted-out cars packed in a next-door neighbor’s driveway or a few places with peeling, rotted soffits. When you have neighbors that don’t care for their property, it negatively affects your property value.

10. Nearby Foreclosures

It’s probably not an issue if there’s one or two foreclosures or short sales nearby. But if your neighborhood has a disproportionate number of foreclosures, it could mean there’s something amiss about the neighborhood and house shoppers might shy away or just be willing to may much less.