Housing trends sail by faster than most of us have time to notice, but when it comes to selling your house, you might suddenly wish you’d sat up and paid attention before. Some styles can be put down to the vagaries of fashion and are easily fixed — gaudy wallpaper isn’t difficult to replace, but moving a laundry room above ground or fitting a proper staircase is another story entirely.
Here’s a list of the big no-no’s, the relics that make a house unsellable:
Small housesSmall is not the new big I’m afraid, at least not yet anyway. People like to have space to live in and a very small house can deal a serious blow to your possible asking price. If you can’t afford to physically increase the size of your house, you need to do everything possible to make it look bigger.
We don’t want to wait to use the bathroom. Not any more. With so many people used to the luxury of multiple bathrooms, it is a hard sell to get them to take a step backward in time.
No air conditioning
Installing central air to your house will cost you about $10,000-$12,000, but if there was ever a juicy bone to get a buyer interested, this is it.
Fuse boxesFuse boxes? People expect circuit breakers nowadays, and if you want to modernize your electrics, consider spending $2,000 to replace those outmoded old fuses.
Spiral staircasesPretty for sure, but the novelty has long worn off. Ever tried carrying a sofa up a spiral staircase? If you have, you’ll know why they might put your average buyer off.
Basement laundry roomsWhat a nice idea that was, why not stick those cumbersome noisemakers down in the basement out of sight? Because ever since we did, washing clothes has meant a trek into the dank recesses of our houses. Doing the laundry is so much more appealing when the washing machine is within spitting distance of the clothes to be washed. If you have the space upstairs, it’s time to accept those big old machines back into the fold.
Popcorn and stucco ceilings
Talking about the vagaries of fashion: No one wants to see these any more. Smash them off with a big stick if you have to.
Basements with outside access only
You’re in your pajamas, it’s a cold winter night, rain hammering against the windows and suddenly you remember. You left your groceries in the basement. Curse this house and curse all who live in it! People don’t want to go outside to get into their basement.
In addition to the absolute stinkers when it comes to selling a house, there are several trends on their way out that you may want to avoid:
McMansionsThey may be big, but they aren’t clever. Think before investing in one of these: Do you really need all that space? An increasing number of people are deciding they don’t. Quality trumps quantity every time.
Separate living and dining rooms
When was the last time you sat down and had a meal in your dining room? If it was recently, you belong to a dying breed. People want to properly utilize all the space in their house, and in this pursuit, the dining room is casualty No. 1.
Small master baths“Small” and “master” — they just don’t go, do they? How can you be king of your bathroom if your bathroom is the size of a queen-size bed?
Standard-size garage doors
Squeezing an SUV through old-style garage doors is like fitting a coconut into a pea pod. It isn’t happening. Though 7’x9’ used to be acceptable, nowadays you want to shoot for 8’x10.’
Football-size decksDecks have been the must-have accessory for a good 10 years now, and demand shows no sign of slowing down. What has changed though, is the extent to which people want to replace garden with decking. A deck can take away as much as it can give to a garden, so before plumping for the largest deck imaginable, think about exactly what you’ll be using it for and weigh this against how much you and future owners would value the garden itself.