When it’s time to sell or refinance your home, many factors contribute to the property’s value: location, age of the house, and the condition of the home’s interior and exterior, for instance. Many of these issues can be addressed before closing, giving you a better chance of selling your home at a higher price. But some problems aren’t easily remedied, and unfortunately, those can lead to trouble selling.
While it’s not always possible to address these seven features of unsellable homes, it is crucial to understand them. Each of these undesirable attributes could significantly devalue your property – or make it difficult to sell at all.
7 Features of Unsellable Homes
It’s not always possible to address these issues before listing your home or refinancing. However, knowing what makes a home unsellable can help you manage your expectations when it’s time to put your home on the market.
1. Structural Damage
Structural damage is often a dealbreaker for buyers. Too often, structural or maintenance problems aren’t discovered until the home inspection, once a house is already under contract. By that point, it’s often difficult to thoroughly address the issue before closing, which can lead to a lost deal.
Before listing your home, check for signs of structural damage. These include:
- Cracks or bulges in the walls or ceiling
- Cracks on the exterior of the building
- Uneven gaps around doors or windows
- Noticeable sagging or cracking in floors
If you suspect your home could have structural damage, consult a licensed contractor right away. The sooner you address the issue, the better chance you’ll have of selling your home in the future.
2. Mold or Environmental Factors
Mold damage, radon exposure, or other environmental factors lead the way in making unsellable homes undesirable (and unsafe) for buyers. Improper ventilation, water leaks, and other problems can lead to significant environmental and health concerns.
Be on the lookout for:
- Moisture or condensation on walls or windows
- Constant musty or mildewy smell
- Visible mold on drywall, flooring, or other surfaces
- Air filters that become saturated quickly
- Residents or visitors to your home developing long-lasting health symptoms
If you think your home might have mold contamination or other environmental pollutants, contact a licensed remediation company for help.
3. Undesirable Location
One of the most common attributes of unsellable homes is impossible to fix: an undesirable location. Perhaps a major highway sits outside your back door, or the commercial airport sends jets directly overhead. Maybe your neighborhood is a high-crime area, the schools are underperforming, or other homes on the street are in disrepair.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about an undesirable location. Your best bet is to price the home accordingly and hope for the best.
4. Curb Appeal (Or Lack Thereof)
You might not judge a book by its cover, but you probably judge a home by its curb appeal. But this is one attribute of unsellable homes that you can avoid. Even some quick and relatively inexpensive fixes can tidy up your curb appeal and increase your property’s value.
5. Aging Appliances and Home Systems
Aging appliances and home systems are a common problem among older homes. While historic homes can be attractive to buyers, outdated plumbing, sewer, electrical, or HVAC systems aren’t. Unfortunately, updating these systems is costly and time-intensive.
If your home needs updating or repairs, consider talking with a licensed contractor. They can help you decide whether it’s worth the investment to replace or update your systems or if it’s better to sell for less and let the new owners make the changes.
6. Outdated interiors
Similar to appliances and home systems, an outdated interior can drastically affect your home’s value. Bathrooms with fixtures from decades long gone, original carpets, obsolete kitchen appliances, cabinets in need of some TLC: all these factors contribute to making a home unsellable.
Before listing your home, consult a licensed real estate agent who can help you determine what needs to be updated and what fixes aren’t worth the cost.
7. Design or Architectural Elements that Can’t Be Changed
Finally, unsellable homes often have design or architectural elements that can’t be changed and aren’t desirable. These might include small rooms, strange layouts, low ceilings, weird angles, and other features that buyers find off-putting.
Of course, you can change just about anything with enough time and financial fortitude. However, the cost might outweigh the potential increase in property value. And some architectural elements simply can’t be changed. You may have to lower the asking price or wait for a creative buyer who loves the unique design.
What to Do with Unsellable Homes
If you’re stuck with an unsellable home, you might feel you have limited options. You can address some of these easily, and they are likely worth the investment. But others, like replacing heating systems or tearing out walls, are cost-prohibitive.
Talk with a licensed real estate agent or a licensed contractor and get their feedback. It may be possible to sell your house for a lower asking price, find an investor willing to purchase the home as a flip, or invest money into the home to increase its overall value.
Have you dealt with unsellable homes in the past? Tell us your story in the comments!