1. A garage turned into something else.
If youíve sacrificed the garage for something other than the garage, the trade-off might actually be a turn-off, especially to people where parking is at a premium. Even in the suburbs, most people want a covered, secure place to park their cars. Donít forget that a garage often doubles as a storage location. The garage houses everything from lawn mower to the excess paper towels and cleansers. If you convert your garage into something else, youíre likely to force a buyer to look elsewhere.
2. A bedroom turned into something else.
Aside from location, one of the first things a buyer searches for is number of bedrooms. Why? Because itís an important requirement. You might think having a wine cellar, with built-in refrigerators, in your home will make it attractive to potential buyers because it was attractive to you. And while itís true many people work from home today at least part of the time, that doesnít mean they want a dedicated home officeóespecially one with built-in desks or bookcases that would need to be removed. If you must convert a bedroom into something else, make sure you can easily convert it back into a bedroom when you go to sell.
3. Carpet over hardwood floors.
Many people today like hardwood floors. They are cleaner looking, add a design element, donít show dirt as much, and theyíre definitely preferred over carpets for people with allergies. If you have nice hardwood floors, show them off. Let the buyer decide if he or she wants to cover them. Itís easier for a buyer to purchase new carpeting of their choosing than it is for them to get past yours.
4. Over-the-top lighting fixtures.
A beautiful chandelier can enliven a dining room. But it can also turn off buyers who prefer simpler, less ornate lighting fixtures. Did you fall in love with a dark light fixture on a trip to Casablanca? Thatís great. And you should use it for your own enjoyment. But when it comes time to sell, replace it with something more neutral.
5. The kidís room that is a miniature theme park.
Little kids have big imaginations. They tend to love Disney characters, spaceships, super heroes, and such, and their parents are often all-too-willing to turn their rooms into fantasy caves. But the more you transform a kidís bedroom into something resembling a Disneyland ride, the more youíll turn off most potential buyers. Your buyer might have teenage children who will see the removal of wallpaper, paint or little-kid-inspired light fixtures as work. If you can, neutralize the kidís rooms before you go on the market.
6. An above-ground pool.
Does it get hot in the summers where you live? Wish you had a backyard pool but canít afford to have a Ďrealí pool installed? Then you might be tempted to buy and set up an above-ground pool. For most potential buyers, though, these pools are an eyesore. Also, an above-ground pool can leave a big dead spot of grass in your backyard ó another eyesore. If you must have it, consider dismantling it before going on the market. Of course, be sure youíre really ready to sell or you may be stuck without a place to cool off next summer.
7. An in-ground pool.
You might assume that a gorgeous backyard pool will make a splash with potential buyers. Except in warm climates, where pools are truly an important amenity, many people see a backyard pool as a huge maintenance issue ó not to mention a liability. If you live in an area where pools arenít that common, seriously consider your decision. If youíre planning to be in the home for the long haul and youíll get lots of use out of it, go for it.
8. Avocado-green kitchen fixtures.
If your home is decades old and the kitchen looks like something from The Brady Bunch, consider investing in a quick once-over. Some new stainless steel appliances and granite countertops can be installed in no time and the cost and hassle is a lot less than you think. More buyers prefer to move right in. Do the work for them and you increase your bottom line.
9. Cigarette smell through the house.
Over time, the smell of smoke permeates your home. It gets into the carpet, drapes, wood paneling, just about everywhere ó a big turnoff to most buyers today. Getting rid of the smoke smell can be a big job. If youíre a smoker, seriously consider how you want to present your home to the market. For a long- term smoke-filled home, it means new paint, removing carpets and doing lots of deep cleaning.
10. Keep Fidoís bed and toys front and center
Letís face it; family pets bring a lot of joy to the home. But, they donít always bring the same joy to a prospective buyer. Dogís toys, filled with saliva, dirt and dust can be a sore both for the eyes and the nose. If you have a pet, put a plan in place to move the food and water bowls as well as the toys and dogís bed to a better location, like the garage. Homes that smell and show like animals can scare buyers off.