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20 things that can alter the value of your home
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3. Garbled floor plan. Small rooms and bathrooms, an inconvenient floor plan or a layout that requires you to access bedrooms or bathrooms through other rooms will detract value from your home.

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4. Outmoded appliances or systems. Who wants an electrical system or plumbing system incapable of handling modern conveniences? Would you buy a home if the appliances were worn or broken?

Phipps remembers walking into one house with clients who casually opened the oven door -- and it fell off.

5. Stale or overly personal decor. Sure, red is the hot wall color right now, "but for how long?" says Hummel.

"We've gone into houses where they've had purple or electric green walls," says Austin. "It's a turn-off to many people."

6. A bad roof. Roofs are expensive to replace, and a good roof is considered standard equipment in a house. If your roof has problems, expect to take a hit in the price.

7. Bad location. Phipps remembers one neighborhood with a significant difference in value between the even- and odd-numbered houses. The reason? The odd numbered ones backed on an interstate highway, as well as some ugly utility lines.

As a result, "the even-numbered houses were worth about 10 percent more than the odd-numbered homes," he says.

8. Poor maintenance. "If you've got an old roof and outdated paint, I don't care if you've updated the kitchen, you won't even get the buyer out of the car," says Bredemeyer.

"If you know you've got to have something fixed, fix it," says Zollinger. Otherwise, people "will subtract the cost or not make an offer on the house. And if people think the house hasn't been taken care of, they will wonder what else they're not seeing."

9. Environmental hazards. Besides being a danger to human health, lead, mold or asbestos can kill home value.

10. A laundry list of needed improvements. "It detracts if you have to do work," says Gaylord. "A house that you can move in today -- and it's livable -- is fine."

But a list of must-dos just to conduct everyday life will scare off a lot of potential home buyers. "Especially with first-time buyers," he says. "Most of them are (already) scraping just to get in."

Dana Dratch is a freelance writer based in Atlanta.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy-- Updated: Aug. 2, 2007
 
 
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