Published on September 30, 2020

Before you put your house on the market,  you likely have a good idea of all the changes you can make to increase your home’s value. Perhaps you’ll swap out a few light fixtures or go over the trim and baseboards with a fresh coat of paint. But how about what not to do?

It’s little things, from the wrong appliance to elaborate architectural details, that can rub a potential buyer the wrong way and end up costing you. It might not be huge—$1,000 here, $3,000 there—but those small mistakes can add up. Suddenly your listing price isn’t exactly what you thought it would be. So we asked Zillow’s home trends expert, Amanda Pendleton, to share some features to avoid.

A Way-Too-Bold Exterior Color

yellow home with blue doorPin It
Photography by DP Productions/Getty Images

Zillow’s Paint Color Analysis found that houses painted yellow sold for $3,400 less than similar homes, so save the hue for smaller moments, like window treatments and wallpaper. Psst: Brown dining rooms and red kitchens also made the list of things to steer clear of (they knock off $1,600 and $2,300, respectively). 

Inconveniently Placed Appliances

A microwave drawer sounds nice in theory (built flush into the cabinetry and seamlessly fit under countertops), but the $1,000 investment doesn’t always appeal to the majority of buyers who prefer the traditional above-range placement or simply one that’s higher up on the wall. Zillow found that listings with this addition sell for 1 percent less than homes without. 

Over-the-Top Garage Amenities

A tidy basement or garage is nice to have—no need to go overboard with the organization. Listings touting bike rack storage, specifically, sell for 2.9 percent less than expected and take nearly 11 days longer to sell, according to the company’s data. 

Too Many Curves

blue and wood arch detailing on wallPin It
Photography by Trevor Smith

Arches are still the It silhouette of the moment when it comes to murals, mirrors, and cabinets, but as far as incorporating them into a home’s structure goes, think twice. “Not only is the carpentry work costly, but homes that mention them in their listing descriptions sell for 1.3 percent less than similar homes and take two days longer to sell,” says Pendleton, noting that if you’re lucky enough to have original arched features, then you can keep them around.

A Kid-Focused Backyard

While little ones might go wild for a waterslide, their parents likely won’t feel the same. Homes with this pool addition sell for 1.6 percent less than those without, likely because they only appeal to a limited number of people. Your home can still feel fun without looking like a theme park. 

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