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Selling a House? Top 5 Resale Killers

Certain home design features make it harder to sell a house.

In most markets, the real estate industry has bounced back and homes are selling at a brisk pace. According to the National Association of Realtors, the typical house for sale is under contract to buy within a month or two of it hitting the market.

So, what if your house isn’t selling? Could it possibly contain one of the following resale killers? To avoid a lengthy listing or an inevitable price drop, be aware that some design features in a house leave it less desirable to potential home buyers.

1. Not enough bathrooms

Lack of bathrooms or poorly placed bathrooms can be difficult to overcome when selling a house. Bathrooms should be adequate in number relative to the number of bedrooms and also be located in convenient areas of the house.

“I dread listing a house that has bedrooms on the second floor and no bathroom on the same floor,” says Colleen Malone, principal broker and owner of Moxie Realty in Portland, Oregon. “Sometimes the only bathroom is on the upper level, near the bedrooms, and there’s no bathroom on the main floor, where people spend most of their time.”

Ideally, a house would have at least one bathroom on the main floor that’s accessible without traipsing through a bedroom. It’s also important to have a bathroom near the bedrooms and recreational spaces (finished basement).

2. An awkward layout

When designing a new house, you might be tempted to add an unusual feature or make the layout unlike anything you’ve seen before. But that could come at a price when it’s time to sell the property.

“Weird doesn’t sell,” says Realtor Dianne Hansen of Fairfax, Virginia. “Making the rooms too big or too small will only appeal to a specific buyer, or you’ll have to reduce the price to entice a wider circle.”

Grouping bedrooms close together – with the exception of possibly a master on a different level – is key, as is space that’s actually functional.

“Personally, my pet peeve is homes (Cape Cods are notorious for this) where the living areas don’t have direct access to the backyard,” Malone says. “You either have to go out a side door and up the driveway to the backyard or out the front door and all the way around the house. That layout makes it inconvenient to incorporate your outdoor space into your lifestyle.”

3. Distinct décor

Not everyone has the same taste when it comes to decorating a house. Which is fine, unless you’re getting ready to sell that house.

“Every homeowner loves to put their own personal touches on a home, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that,”  says Realtor Jill McTague of DebOnTheWeb & Associates in Medford, Massachusetts. “But if they plan to sell that home in the future, the updates they make should be very neutral changes that will appeal to the majority of buyers.”

A dated interior or one that is too particular could deter potential buyers. “I’m afraid HGTV may have more impact on what buyers want at any given time, so long-term design choices may be best if conservative rather than flashy.”

4. A swimming pool

Whether or not a swimming pool will help or hurt the resale value of your home depends on several factors. Most notably, your location. Are you in sunny Southern California where you can use the pool year-round? Or do you reside in Michigan’s upper peninsula, where you’d be fortunate to get four months of use from a pool?

In addition to geography, pool security and upkeep also weigh on the minds of potential home buyers.

“Although a swimming pool can enhance the look of a backyard, it can hurt the resale value of a home,” McTague says. “Buyers will tell me they won’t look at a house with an in-ground pool because they have little children and are worried about their safety or the expense and responsibility of pool maintenance isn’t something they want to take on.”

In a nutshell, if you want a swimming pool to enjoy while you live in your house, then go for it. But when it comes time to sell your house, understand that not everyone may want to buy in to such a swimming lifestyle.

5. It’s not easy being green

When building a house, using green materials and being environmentally friendly is easier than ever. However, there are certain green design features that may not appeal to everyone, and could cause your house to sit on the market longer than the average amount of time.

Items such as rain barrels, composting toilets and xeriscape – where you remove the lawn and replace it with an alternative like artificial grass or decorative rock garden – might not attract a lot of buyers.

Solar panels can be a deal breaker,” McTague says. “In some cases, the new buyer is thrilled to have them, but I’ve witnessed buyers walking away from a home because they didn’t want to take on the sellers lease for the panels.”

This article was originally published at Angie’s List.

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