Real estate agents know that the three most important letters in the English language are R, O and I. Which is why, according to Noemi Bitterman of Warburg Realty, they’d never, ever put money into one of these buyer-deterring features when it comes to their own property.
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1. Wall-to-Wall Carpeting
Honestly, who on earth wants hand-me-down carpeting? No matter how clean you are, it’s bound to collect dirt, allergens and a whole lot of “I don’t want to find out.” Instead, go for hardwoods: “All buyers want beautiful wood flooring because it translates to clean and organic under bare feet,” says Bitterman.
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2. Mirrored Panels
Sure, they can infuse a space with light (and are rather convenient for checking out your lipstick), but mirrored walls, doors and closets are an '80s staple that now look majorly passé. “Cover them with sheetrock!” urges Bitterman. “They do nothing to add to the beauty of a home.”
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3. White Appliances
White kitchen appliances are having a bit of a moment—and they’re often more affordable and longer lasting than stainless alternatives. However, they also “start to yellow at year 15,” explains Bitterman. (Nobody wants a fridge that looks like a worn, stained T-shirt.)
4. Iridescent Lighting and Track Lights
You know, these guys. Not only do these hardwired lighting fixtures look mega-dated, but they’re also typically noisy (buzzing sounds? No, thanks) and environmentally un-friendly, due to their energy inefficient halogen bulbs.
5. Walnut Kitchen Cabinets
Some folks love a retro-looking wooden kitchen—but most decidedly do not. “This kind of kitchen just screams ‘grandma’s house’ and begs for some yellow-flowered tea towels. Buyers want crisp white or light cabinets with smooth and modern lines,” says Bitterman. Reminder: White paint and new hardware work wonders on a budget.
6. A Front Door That Leads Directly to the Kitchen
When the kitchen is the first thing guests see, you always have to keep it spotless. Plus, the feng shui is just plain funky. In Bitterman’s view, this fatal layout is worth a rethink.
7. Statement Sinks
Some bathroom statements (think: bold paint; a high-end backsplash) can increase a home’s resale potential. But wacky geometric glass, shell and octagonal sinks are risky decisions. “Buyers want to see white, clean-cut sinks,” says Bitterman.
8. Large Toilets
If your toilet is of the noisy, large, “swirl and swirl and nothing goes down!” variety, Bitterman insists on an update: “People want silent Toto toilets, that flush your business down in one fell swoop.”
9. Insufficient Closet Space
Lack of storage space is the kiss of death for most home-hunting Americans. (What can we say? We love our stuff!) If your home doesn’t already have one, build a decent coat and master closet for serious payback in the long run.
10. Built-In Hampers
The one instance where built-in storage won’t do you any favors? Wall hampers: The mascot of 1960s “luxury.” “This feature signals a total gut renovation to buyers,” says Bitterman.
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11. Insufficient Natural Light
Bottom line? No light, no buyer interest. If lack of natural light is an issue, try decorative tricks like strategic paint colors and well-placed mirrors. But if necessary, Bitterman says she’d even bust through a window or create a skylight.