Trying to Sell Your Home? Avoid These 5 Deal Breakers

Pools and Hot Tubs in Chicago: No, No, No (Photo by Anne West.)

Looking to sell your home, or determining which upgrades are best for your property’s resale value? Here are five design details that could jeopardize your sale. Real estate brokers Anne West, who specializes in the lakefront communities of Chicago’s North Shore with Coldwell Banker, and Terri McAuley, city luxury expert with KoenigRubloff, share advice on how to nix deal breakers and fix up your home for top-dollar sale.

1. Too Much is Not a Good Thing

Decorative throw pillows may be a hit at your parties, but keep accents and accessories to a minimum when trying to sell your home. “Never over-decorate,” McAuley warns. “This seems to be the number-one mistake sellers make.” Let “less is more” be your mantra and keep furniture, accents and other decorative pieces simple.

2. Hide Hardwoods With Carpet? No Way!

Replacing wall-to-wall carpeting with new carpet? Not a good idea. “Today’s buyers do not want carpet,” West says. “It’s much better to have wood floors buffed or refinished.” If there has been carpet over the floors for years, the hardwoods are often in very good shape.

3. Don’t Put Walls Between You and Your Buyers

Taste-specific tiles, dated murals, textured walls and bold paint colors — these are NOT buyers’ favorite things. “It’s best to stay classic and neutral,” West says. “Remove anything that appears dated or extreme.”

“Limit paint colors on your property,” McAuley advises. Two in neutral tones will do. “Your home will seem larger to prospective buyers.”

4. Walk-in Closets are NOT Better Than Bedrooms

“Turning a bedroom into a walk-in closet is a bad investment,” West says. Unless you have at least four other bedrooms, don’t do it. “Very few people are willing to pay top dollar for a house with only three bedrooms.”

5. Pools and Hot Tubs in Chicago: No, No, No

“Without a doubt, one of the worst things you can do to your home, in terms of resale value, is add a swimming pool,” West warns. “A pool in the Chicago area will decrease the value of your home and could make it almost impossible to sell.” This is because pools are only usable for three summer months, have high maintenance costs and create major safety liabilities. “Most families with young children will not even consider a home with a pool,” West says.

Hot tubs raise concerns about mold and bacteria. “It’s quite possible a buyer will ask you to remove it,” West says. What should you do? “Get three removal bids, so you can negotiate with the buyer,” West advises. “Buyers almost always over-estimate removal costs and will try to negotiate bigger discounts. Have the facts on-hand to help you negotiate.” In some cases, it might be best to bite the bullet and take care of the problem up-front. Ask your agent for advice on your specific situation.

Anne West

Anne West

Terri McAuley

Terri McAuley


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