Seven things that can devalue your home, from no kerb appeal to dodgy DIY

Making changes to your home is all well and good, but it pays to keep the value of your house in mind as you go.

You may not be thinking of selling at the moment, but you never know what the future will bring.

If you think there’s even the slightest possibility that you’ll want to sell up some day, it’s worth making sure that the value of your home is the best it can be.

Want to know what can drive the price of your house down?

Thomas Goodman, property expert at, has a list of seven things that can devalue a property – and unlike things like the location or schools in the area, they’re all things that owners have direct control over.

Poor workmanship

DIY can be a great way to save money, but beware of doing shoddy work.

Thomas says: ‘A spot of DIY might seem like an innocent task to do around the house, but after time you’ll be able to tell the difference.

‘Professional work is second to none in quality, when buyers step into your home and agents do a valuation, they will take note of details.

‘Your DIY tiling job might look appealing to you, but amateur work doesn’t have the same finish. Uneven floors, unsafe electrics and poorly fitted kitchen units could all bring down the value of your property.

‘Whilst some jobs can be of high standard, you should always hire a qualified tradesman for areas including plumbing, heating and gas. If these jobs are not completed to a high standard, they may also be a potential hazard.

‘Completing DIY jobs on the cheap usually backfires in the long term and will only give the potential buyer and surveyor a chance to negotiate on selling price.’

Dull exterior

First impressions matter, and the outside of your home is the first thing a prospective buyer is going to notice when they come for a viewing.

‘The outside of your house is as important as the inside,’ explains Thomas.

‘Your exterior is the first thing people see when they arrive at your door. Estate agents name this as “kerb appeal”, if your garden is unkept this will set the tone for the inside of your house.

‘Artificial grass might be a low maintenance option, but it can deter some people, especially if they are a young family. Broken fences are a common feature of an unkept garden – fences add a sense of privacy to a property, so ensure yours is fixed and solid.

‘Your exterior doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but vibrant flowers, plant pots and cut grass will make a big difference to the ambience. Take some time to put TLC into your exterior as this is where first impressions are made.’

Loud interiors

Injecting your own personal style into your home is all well and good, but if you’re looking to sell, having a loud paint job could turn people off.

Thomas says: ‘Everyone has their own individual style, but loud interiors might not appeal to all buyers. A bright yellow wall in the kitchen could be comforting for you, but it might portray your room in a different light to others.

‘The way forward is to keep things simple, quirky decor, such as textured wallpaper, is best to be avoided. Embrace neutral colour schemes and opt for warming hues such as light grey and terracotta.

‘They might seem far from exciting, but it’s the best way for surveyors to see the potential and for buyers to imagine themselves residing in your home. It’s the next best thing to a blank canvas.’

If you really need to have that glittery wallpaper or fluorescent pink accent wall, make sure you’re prepared to redecorate before you put your home on the market.

Old kitchens

Kitchens have been subject to a lot of change over the years, since they’re the room in the house with fittings most likely to be affected by technological leaps – so a dated kitchen is easily recognisable.

‘In terms of properties,’ says Thomas, ‘Kitchens have been revolutionised the most due to technological advances.

‘From the way we cook, to the size of the breakfast bar, they have changed throughout the years. The three most important elements are the tabletops, cabinetry and appliances.

‘A modern kitchen will help to sell a house. It can be expensive to have a complete overhaul and refit the entire unit, but potential buyers might be put off if they must visualise the amount of work they need to do.’

Darkened rooms

No matter your personal taste, a good amount of light is among the most common unifiers when it comes to interiors.

‘It’s no surprise that a dark room will instantly shift your mood and feel uninviting,’ says Thomas.

‘A bright room with plenty of natural light will attract more buyers. If a room is painted in dark shades of blue for example, the room will appear dull, even next to artificial lighting.

‘Try to inject fresh white and plenty of lighting in rooms. Ensure you opt for curtains in these rooms, this will give the natural lighting space to bounce off walls and appear brighter.’

Inconsistent flooring

Having hardwood floors throughout your home isn’t essential, but Thomas says at least having consistent wood floors in the main communal areas of the house is pretty desirable.

‘Flooring can be overlooked,’ he explains, ‘But it’s an integral part of any home. For many buyers, hardwood flooring is top of their list. You can get away with carpet in bedrooms, but when it comes to the main areas of your house, such as hallways and living rooms, consistent hardwood flooring is desired. Carpets are harder to clean, it can also be a breeding ground for hair, especially in households with pets.

‘The most important tip is to keep everything consistent. One of the worst mistakes people do is having two different types of hardwood flooring in high traffic areas of the house.

‘If you’re going to switch to hard surfaces, ensure you have the budget to cover the investment in all rooms. This will avoid having a variety of different textures and colours throughout your home.’

Getting rid of your bath

Think twice before you get rid of your bath, because for some buyers having one is a must.

Thomas says: ‘In bathrooms, ensure all plumbing is working, clean discoloured limescale and repair any cracked tiles. One common mistake sellers make, is to replace the only bath in your home.

‘Baths are a popular option for many people who like to wind down after a busy day. For people that don’t use a bath, they have opted for a space-saving shower instead. Of course, this can make your bathroom appear bigger, but it can devalue your property if a bathtub is in the criteria of a buyer. 

‘A compromise is to free up space in your bathroom by purchasing a bath that combines the two together. This factor also depends on your house, if you reside in a family home with one bathroom, at least one bath is required.

‘However, if you have multiple bathrooms in your home, you can keep one solely for the shower and one for the bath.’

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