Want a Property Assessment? Features that Lower a Home's Value

Andy Lindus
Written by Andy Lindus
Updated March 25, 2016
stucco home
Stucco’s lifespan depends on it being installed correctly, something that can be difficult to determine by appearance alone. (Photo courtesy of Lindus Construction)

If you're considering selling your home, look around. Some features might decrease your home value.

If the thought of selling your home anytime in the future has ever crossed your mind, it’s a good idea to make choices when remodeling that increase, not decrease, the value of your home. 

Not sure what that means? Here are a few examples:

Cedar shake roof

A cedar shake roof definitely sets your home apart from the crowd, but not necessarily in a good way. Cedar shakes require significantly more maintenance than metal or asphalt roofing, which can scare off potential buyers. 

It’s not uncommon to see an insurance company require a two percent dwelling cost deductible. (For those who loathed math in school, this means that your deductible for a new roof could be $5,000 on a $250,000 home.) Insurance companies can command this premium because cedar shake roofs have minimal fire resistance capabilities.

Garage space

Older homes oftentimes only have a one-car garage or none at all. In parts of the country that can see snow for six months out the year, a garage is seen as a necessity. Buyers typically want a two-car garage

A property with anything less may cause the home to sit on the market longer. Garages located under the house can also be viewed as undesirable. (Think about the additional work it would take to transport a carload of groceries up a flight of stairs.) It’s also a common complaint that rooms above the garage are drafty and take more energy to heat.

Flat roof

While flat roofs are cheaper than pitched ones to install, they are notorious for leaking.

In order to prevent this, they're covered with a waterproof seal that must be inspected and maintained on a regular basis. These additional steps, and the likelihood of water damage, may deter perspective homebuyers.

Stucco siding

Statistically speaking, a stucco home will sit on the market longer than one with a different type of siding. Because water is stucco’s primary adversary, buyers can be more hesitant to purchase this type of home.

Stucco’s lifespan depends on it being installed correctly, something that can be difficult to determine by appearance alone.

Absence of appliances

Fixtures such as dishwashers, washing machines and showers were once thought to be luxury items. However today, they’re considered to be staples.

Homes without these items are likely to sit on the market longer and sell for a lower price.

Basement access

In older homes, basement access may require going through the garage or through a hatch in the floor. Changing this to more conventional access will appeal to a wider audience.

Wood siding

Properly maintained wood siding can be a point of pride for a homeowner. Keeping the siding maintained means intermittent power washing, sealing and staining or painting.

Wood siding can also be harmed by insects and other pests. All of these things make wood siding something that can be viewed as a liability to future homeowners.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on May 7, 2014.

What other features do you think make it hard to sell a home? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

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