5 things to avoid that can devalue your home

July 26, 2018

Did you know that you can lose equity by how you treat your home? Here are five things to avoid.

 

Home equity is the difference between the value of your home and what you owe on your mortgage.

You can build equity by paying down your mortgage – but did you know that you can lose equity by how you treat your home?

Here are five things to avoid that could reduce the value of your home.

 

1. Rough renovations

Renovation projects are likely the first thing that comes to mind when people think about increasing equity. It’s true that putting money into good renovations is a solid investment and will raise your home’s value, but there is a vital emphasis on these being good renovations. A project gone wrong can make your home look worse, and in some situations, like a DIY mess. Prospective buyers will see these renovations as something they’ll have to redo, rather than a selling point for the home. So plan your projects carefully and enlist professional help if needed. And make sure you do your homework before hiring a contractor.

 

2. Unusual renovations

Along with poor-quality renovations, getting an unusual renovation can also lower your equity. Kitchen and bathroom renovations usually have the highest impact, but only if potential buyers will find them attractive and functional. The secret lies in simplicity and mass appeal. In kitchens, it’s safest to stick with renovations to the sink, countertops and cabinets. In the bathroom, invest in neutral, pleasant flooring and fixtures, and express your individuality with decorative accents. 

 

3. Extreme customization

It’s your home, so you’re free to express your personality in the interior however you’d like. But when you’re trying to sell, consider that your personal tastes could be different from those of some buyers. Prospective buyers like to visualize their own lives and belongings in a house, and that’s difficult if the interior is highly customized. You don’t need to paint every wall hospital-white, but put yourself in a buyer’s shoes and choose neutral colors and décor likely to appeal to a wide range of people. And remember, the darker the color you put on a wall, the more work it is for a potential buyer to cover it with their preferred color.

 

4. An untidy exterior

The exterior is the first part of your home that potential buyers will see. If your yard is in serious need of some weeding or trimming, it will make your house look messy and give buyers the impression that the yard will require a lot of upkeep. Old fences, worn siding and peeling paint all give buyers the impression of future improvement projects of the less-fun variety. If you’re ready to list your house, keep your exterior free of extraneous items like kids’ toys during open houses and private showings. Learn some quick ways to boost your home's curb appeal.

 

5. Skipped daily upkeep

Performing routine maintenance plays a large part in preserving your home’s value and can even increase its equity. Devise a home maintenance schedule and stick to it. Even simple tasks like regularly changing your furnace filter can make a difference in your home’s condition and value.

 

Ready to put your home equity to work for you? Use our home equity calculator to get your estimate and to learn more about home equity options.

Related content

How I did it: My house remodel

How do I prequalify for a mortgage?

8 steps to take before you buy a home

Your guide to breaking the rental cycle

4 ways to free up your budget (and your life) with a smaller home

Get more home for your money with these tips

How to build wealth at any age

Retirement planning in the gig economy

A beginner's guide to investing

How having savings gives you peace of mind

Dear Money Mentor: How do I set and track financial goals?

Money management guide to financial independence

Buying or leasing? Questions to ask before signing a contract

Home buying myths: Realities of owning a home

How I did it: Turned my side hustle into a full-time job

3 types of insurance you shouldn’t ignore

What military service taught me about money management

What is Medicare? Understanding your coverage options

Is it cheaper to build or buy a house

Managing the impacts of appraisal gaps in a hot housing market

5 steps to take before transitioning your business

Year-end financial checklist

What is a home equity line of credit (HELOC) and what can it be used for?

7 year-end tax planning tips

Should I itemize my taxes?

Car shopping Buying versus leasing your next vehicle

Money Moments: How to finance a home addition

6 pandemic money habits to keep for the long term

I own two electric vehicles. Here’s what I’ve learned about buying and driving EVs.

Tips for working in the gig economy

Is it time to get a shared bank account with your partner?

Money Moments: 3 tips for planning an extended leave of absence

Financial gifts can be a valuable – and fun – choice for the holidays

7 things to know about long-term care insurance

Retirement planning strategies for dual-income families

Key milestone ages as you near and start retirement

How to open and invest in a 529 plan

Your 4-step guide to financial planning

What to do when you lose your job

4 financial considerations before changing jobs

Annual insurance review checklist

How grandparents can contribute to college funds instead of buying gifts

U.S. Bank asks: Transitioning out of college life? What’s next?

Friction: How it can help achieve money goals

5 times you may need a financial advisor

For today's homebuyers, time and money are everything

Here’s how to create a budget for yourself

Understanding guardianship and power of attorney in banking

How to use debt to build wealth

8 steps to choosing a health insurance plan

The connection between your health and financial well-being

Is a Health Savings Account missing from your retirement plan?

How to winterize your vehicle

Housing market trends and relocation impact

High-cost housing and down payment options in relocation

For today's relocating home buyers, time and money are everything

Crypto + Relo: Mobility industry impacts

Take the stress out of buying your teen a car

Financial steps to take after the death of a spouse

4 steps to finding a charity to support

Estate planning documents: Living trusts vs. will vs. living will

Unexpected retirement expenses

Checklist: financial recovery after a natural disaster

What financial advice would you give your younger self?

How to manage your money when you're self-employed

Personal loans first-timer's guide: 7 questions to ask

Dear Money Mentor: When should I refinance a mortgage?

How I did it: Bought a home without a 20 percent down payment

Starting your homebuying journey: Tips from a U.S. Bank Goals Coach

House Hacks: How buying an investment property worked as my first home

The lowdown on 6 myths about buying a home

How to set yourself up for success in your first job

Travel for less: Smart (not cheap) ways to spend less on your next trip

Working after retirement: Factors to consider

7 ways for pre-retirees to get ready for retirement

Multiple accounts can make it easier to follow a monthly budget

You can take these 18 budgeting tips straight to the bank

9 simple ways to save

How I did it: Learned to budget as a single mom

What’s a subordination agreement, and why does it matter?

What is an escrow account? Do I have one?

How to stop living paycheck to paycheck post-pay increase

Do your investments match your financial goals?

5 financial goals for the new year

Money Moments: Tips for selling your home

Parent checklist: Preparing for college

Which is better: Combining bank accounts before marriage — or after?

What are conforming loan limits and why are they increasing

Don’t underestimate the importance of balancing your checking account

Do you and your fiancé have compatible financial goals?

Should you get a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit?

Quiz: How prepared are you to buy a home?

LGBTQ+ financial planning: 7 reasons why it matters

Reviewing your beneficiaries: A 5-step guide

Retirement income planning: 4 steps to take

LGBTQ+ retirement planning: What you need to know

Using 529 plans for K-12 tuition

How to retire happy

How to protect your digital assets in your estate plan

Can fantasy football make you a better investor?

Insource or outsource? 10 considerations

Investment strategies by age

6 tips on trust fund distributions to beneficiaries

How to track your spending patterns

How to manage your money: 6 steps to take

How to discuss money with your family

Good debt vs. bad debt: Know the difference

How to establish your business credit score

4 tips to help you save for retirement in your 20s

4 reasons estate planning is important

Unexpected cost savings may be hiding in your payment strategy

Checklist: 10 questions to ask your home inspector

5 things to avoid that can devalue your home

30-day adulting challenge: Financial wellness tasks to complete in a month

5 reasons why couples may have separate bank accounts

7 steps: How couples and single parents can prepare for child care costs

Adulting 101: How to make a budget plan

What you need to know about renting

How and when to ask for a raise

How can I help my student manage money?

How to save for a wedding

How to save money while helping the environment

It's possible: 7 tips for breaking the spending cycle

Money Moments: 3 smart financial strategies when caring for aging parents

Personal finance for teens can empower your child

Save time and money with automatic bill pay

Tips to overcome three common savings hurdles

Webinar: Uncover the cost: Wedding

Webinar: Uncover the cost: International trip

Your guide to starting a job: Resources to help along the way

It’s time for a fresh start: A new way of thinking

U.S. Bank asks: Do you know your finances?

Money Moments: 8 dos and don’ts for saving money in your 30s

Money Moments: How to manage your finances after a divorce

3 awkward situations Zelle can help avoid

What’s in your emergency fund?

5 ways to spring clean your finances and save money year-round

How I did it: Bought my dream home using equity

Buying a home Q&A: What made three homeowners fall in love with their new home

How I did it: Built living spaces to support my family

Spring cleaning checklist for your home: 5 budget-boosting tasks

Saving for a down payment: Where should I keep my money?

Checklist: 6 to-dos for after a move

Webinar: Uncover the cost: Building a home

Building a dream home that fits your life

10 questions to ask when hiring a contractor

Is it the right time to refinance your mortgage?

10 ways to increase your home’s curb appeal

Webinar: Uncover the cost: Home renovation

Is a home equity line of credit (HELOC) right for you?

10 uses for a home equity loan

Preparing for homeownership: A guide for LGBTQ+ homebuyers

Beyond the mortgage: Other costs for homeowners

How to use your home equity to finance home improvements

What to know when buying a home with your significant other

Webinar: Mortgage basics: How much house can you afford?

Webinar: Mortgage basics: Buying or renting – What’s right for you?

Webinar: Mortgage basics: What is refinancing, and is it right for you?

Webinar: Mortgage basics: Prequalification or pre-approval – What do I need?

Webinar: Mortgage basics: How does your credit score impact the homebuying experience?

Webinar: Mortgage basics: Finding the right home loan for you

Webinar: Mortgage basics: 3 Key steps in the homebuying process

These small home improvement projects offer big returns on investment

What is refinancing a mortgage?

6 questions to ask before buying a new home

Home equity: Small ways to improve the value of your home

Tips for navigating a medical hardship when you’re unable to work

11 essential things to do before baby comes

How to plan and save for adoption and in vitro fertility treatment costs

Closing on a house checklist for buyers

Resources for managing financial matters after an unexpected death

What you need to know as the executor of an estate

What documents do you need after a loved one dies?

How to prepare for a natural disaster

Student checklist: Preparing for college

Webinar: Uncover the cost: College diploma

How I did it: Paid off student loans

Webinar: Bank Notes: College cost comparison

From LLC to S-corp: Choosing a small business entity

5 tips for seniors to stay a step ahead of schemers

Recognize. React. Report. Caregivers can help protect against financial exploitation

Is online banking safe?

Identity stolen? 5 steps to take immediately

7 steps to keep your personal and business finances separate

Know your debt-to-income ratio

Your quick guide to loans and obtaining credit

How to apply for federal student aid through the FAFSA

Be careful when taking out student loans

Your financial aid guide: What are your options?

Military homeownership: Your guide to resources, financing and more

Crypto + Homebuying: Impacts on the real estate market

Webinar: Mindset Matters: How to practice mindful spending

Webinar: ESG for Corporations: Building an all-weather, long-lasting strategy

Common pitfalls to avoid in the equipment financing process

The secret to successful service provider integration

Questions to ask before buying a car

What you should know about buying a car

Can you take advantage of the dead equity in your home?

How to get started creating your business plan

Talent acquisition 101: Building a small business dream team

Make your business legit

7 tips to help grow your business after launch

How to test new business ideas

Costs to consider when starting a business

How to redefine challenges with business collaboration

How to sell your business without emotions getting in the way

10 tips on how to run a successful family business

The costs of hiring a new employee

How to expand your business: Does a new location make sense?

How to build a content team

Finance or operating lease? Deciphering the legalese of equipment finance

Safeguarding the payment experience through contactless

ABCs of ARP: Answers to American Rescue Plan questions for counties

Should you buy a house that’s still under construction?

COVID-19 safety recommendations: Are you ready to reopen?

Start of disclosure content

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rate and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, home equity and credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.