8 DIY projects that will make selling your home a lot harder

So many DIY kits, tips and tricks seem like a great idea when we see them on our social media feeds. But in the hands of a beginner, such projects can go awry, look unfinished, or be abandoned altogether when the homeowner runs out of breath.

Ultimately rather than to save If you save money, those DIY projects can end up costing you when it’s time to sell them — because buyers will turn you off because of what they perceive to be cheap or substandard work that they’ll have to pay to repair or get knocked down.

“During my time as a real estate agent, I’ve seen many homeowners add their unique touch to their property,” he says Kurt Walker, a real estate agent and real estate investor at Cream City Home Buyers in Milwaukee. “It might be a nice statement for them, but my job is to attract buyers.”

Here are some of the most popular DIY ideas that experts say would make selling your home difficult –whenever You are planning to move.

1. Throw out your kitchen cabinet doors

One of the most popular DIY projects right now is “improving” a kitchen by removing outdated looking cabinet doors. But don’t try this at home unless you plan to live there forever.

While it might improve the look in the short term – for example, if the open cabinets are varnished and always styled for display – it could prove to be a barrier to a future sale.

“It’s not a wise decision if they plan to sell the house in the future,” he says Patrick O’Sullivan, a certified commercial investment member and founder of the getMULTIfamily real estate team in Arizona. “Regular home buyers like a home that has all the necessary furniture, including closet doors. Some shoppers even come in and Number the number of cabinets in the kitchen.”

“It can be great for an Airbnb or short-term stay accommodation,” he adds Josie Rees, a real estate agent at eXp Realty in San Antonio, TX. “However, it is very impractical for a modern family home.”

Result: When buyers see missing closet doors, they also see a future project they don’t want to wear her to-do list. If you decide to remove closet doors, at least store them (along with the hinges) in the attic or basement so they can be reinstalled when you decide to put your home up for sale.

2. Replace all kitchen cabinets with open shelves

Open shelving is another popular DIY trend right now, but in the resale market, this falls into a similar category to removing closet doors.

“Removing kitchen cabinets entirely and replacing them with open shelving may be aesthetically pleasing,” says Rees, “but the key feedback from potential buyers is the lack of storage space.”

Result: Open shelves have advantages and disadvantages. It’s okay to have something, but don’t eliminate it everyone Closet, especially if your kitchen is small and doesn’t have enough storage space elsewhere. Make sure there is enough storage space in the kitchen to keep cookware and appliances that aren’t meant to be displayed behind closed doors.


Watch: 5 easy DIY projects even a beginner can do


3. Remove a closet or turn it into something other than storage

In this post-pandemic era when many people are working from home, a common home improvement project is to turn a closet into an office nook. These transformations bring all the heart-eyed emojis on Instagram, but it’s not a good idea if you’re planning on selling your house.

“My salespeople took a storage closet and turned it into a very small office space with a floating desk,” Rees recalls. “It took up storage space in the house, which wasn’t practical for a family. The house has been on the market longer than we expected. We had to focus on investment buyers as short term renters have tenants who don’t need a lot of storage space.”

Result: As with the closet doors, if you are converting a closet into something else, store the door away until you are ready to sell your home. Then you can replace it.

4. Paint a floor

Hold the brush! Color is not a permanent solution for floors. If the floor has seen a lot of foot traffic by the time you are ready to sell, the paint is no longer in pristine condition and that could hurt your resale prospects.

“Streaked, chipped, or substandard paint can make your home look cheap,” says O’Sullivan. “In addition, trendy patterns can distract the eye and feel loud to some people. Too much personalization, like a custom painted floor, can affect the resale value of your home.”

Result: If you want to try painting a floor, choose neutral colors that will appeal to most buyers. If you want your floor to look good until it’s sold, avoid painting floors in high-traffic areas.

5. Wallpaper

There’s a long-running trend of making a wall a focal point in a room, and many DIYers are turning to wallpaper to achieve this. It can look stunning on social media photos, but hanging wallpaper properly and matching the pattern takes skill and practice.

Beginners are likely to choose a pattern that is easy to adapt to, and this type of pattern isn’t always that pleasing to the eye. At worst, it can look a bit like Christmas wrapping paper.

“Selecting the right wallpaper is crucial,” says O’Sullivan.

Taste is subjective, he points out, and bold colors and patterns don’t appeal to everyone.

“If buyers don’t like it, they have to replace it after they buy the house – which can encourage a rethink when buying a house,” he adds.

Result: If you want to create a focus wall, consider creating a gallery wall of small photos, paintings, and maybe mirrors, all of which can be easily removed.

6. Distressing your closets

The modern farmhouse trend has made distressed furniture cool again. But what looks good on a freestanding buffet or farmhouse table can be overkill on permanent fixtures like cabinets.

The distressed look is a very “special taste” – as real estate agents say – and will not appeal to many buyers. For some, it looks not just desperate, but devastated.

“Too much personalization like this can definitely hurt your home’s resale value,” says O’Sullivan.

Result: To get an antique look that isn’t as shabby, consider installing cabinets with a glazed finish. Glazed cabinetry has a rich, dark sheen that is applied to a painted surface, which is then allowed to pool in the crevices, drawing attention to fine details in the wood grain.

7. Paint walls a dark color

Another established trend is to paint entire rooms very dark. Sometimes you see an entire house with all wood paneling painted black. That’s a mistake if you ever want to sell your home.

It can be flashy, but it’s definitely an acquired taste. In addition, it is not easy for the next homeowners to rectify if they don’t like it as it may require a primer with many new coat of paint to cover the old one.

“Colors like black, dark blue, or dark green are commonly seen,” says Walker. “It can be very off-putting for a buyer because repainting a dark room can be difficult and frustrating.”

Result: If it’s your forever home and you love the look, then go for it. But if you plan to sell someday, keep the walls light, light, and airy — and leave the wood moldings natural, or white, real estate pros say.

8. Attaching adhesive tiles

Stick-on photos might look great, but they don’t look that good up close and in real life.

“A big problem with these tiles is that in most cases they start bubbling,” explains Walker. “Even corners can roll over time due to poor adhesion.”

Result: If your existing tiles are looking poor or dated, or you don’t currently have a backsplash, hire a professional. A backsplash can be as little as $300-$400 for plain subway tile — and you’ll see that investment pay off when you sell it.

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