1. Location, location, location
Buying a home in an area that provides residents with access to services and effective transportation is important - though many buyers don't wish to live too close to airports and busy roads for fear of noise.
Visual appeal is another concern. Cell phone towers and power lines can be seen as eyesores - or possibly even having potential health hazards. Local school closures can also deter potential buyers who have children or who are considering having children in the near future. Some buyers may be leery of purchasing homes that are on flood plains.
To ensure maximum resale potential, consider how many of these types of issues exist near the properties you're considering. Remember, though, there's no way of knowing exactly how a neighbourhood will evolve over time.
2. Good renovations gone bad
If your home looks like a DIY nightmare, this can definitely devalue your home. Though putting money into renovations generally increases the value of a home, poorly done renovations can have the opposite effect. If buyers feel that the renovations will have to be redone, there's a good chance they'll make a lower offer or keep looking for a move-in-ready home.
3. Overly creative customization
That bright pink feature wall might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but the truth is that unusual paint choices - both inside and outside the home - can turn buyers off, even if your customization is the cutting-edge trend in current home design magazines. Customizing spaces so that they may not be functional to future buyers, like turning the garage into a home gym or a granny apartment, might make some buyers reluctant to buy your property.
The same can be said for unique landscaping choices or renovations that are too high-scale for the house. A professional chef's kitchen or marble bathrooms in a modest home suited to first-time buyers won't likely provide a good return on investment.
4. Unappealing curb appeal
The first thing potential buyers will see is the exterior of the property. If the house appears to be outdated or in poor repair on the outside, people will assume it is the same on the inside. Water features or swimming pools and overly landscaped green space may turn off some buyers, since people tend to associate high-maintenance yards with expensive upkeep and unnecessary headaches. Old fences and sheds can also devalue your home, especially if they look like they're in dire need of replacement. Keep the gardens weeded and the lawn mowed so that potential buyers can see how nice the property is, inside and out.
5. Pets gone wild
Many people won't mind buying a home that has had resident animals, but no one wants to live with constant reminders of former owners' pets. Damage to carpets or walls or a strong smell of animals will put off some buyers - especially those with allergies. Consider letting your pets live elsewhere while the property is for sale. Also, a good cleaning and repairing of any visible damage will help mitigate the potential devaluation of your home associated with pet ownership.
6. Not-so-nice neighbourhood
A dodgy neighbourhood with a high crime rate or homes on your block that look unkempt can scare potential buyers away. If your neighbours have unusual-coloured homes or have made strange additions to their homes, this can be perceived by potential buyers as an eyesore.
7. Sinister reputation
Well-known crimes, deaths or even urban legends associated with your house or neighbourhood can decrease the value of a home immensely. Most people don't want to live in a home where they feel that something awful has happened, much less move in with your alleged resident ghost! Though these kinds of issues may be out of your control, they may certainly have an impact on the resale value of your home.
The bottom line
Neighbourhoods change over time, so there's no way to be totally sure when you buy a property how the area will look in the years to come. However, you should always make your best efforts to address any issues with your property that are within your control. Play up your home's strong points and get involved with your realtor to ensure that any special features of your home and neighbourhood have been highlighted.