Some of the factors that can negatively affect a home’s value are more obvious than others, and evaluating market value isn’t easy for a homeowner. An objective opinion, though sometimes difficult to accept, may be required.

Make sure your house is properly assessed by talking to an experienced real estate professional, someone who knows the market and the neighborhood.  Some key factors affecting home prices include:

The Neighborhood

Some homeowners may be faced with the challenge of selling a home in a less than ideal location. A home located in an area filled with unkempt or rundown properties, or an area adjacent to unappealing views, train tracks, highways and large electrical lines may be especially difficult to sell -- even if the home, itself, is in pristine condition. This makes understanding how to price a home right for the neighborhood especially important.

Curb Appeal

Many potential buyers form an opinion of a home the minute they step out of their cars. First impressions are critical, and a house without curb appeal may end the interest even before it starts. Fortunately, rectifying curb appeal issues is relatively easy as compared to other problems.  Start by maintaining the yard and landscaping, cleaning the front porch, and/or applying a fresh coat of paint.  Pay particular attention to the front door – remember buyers will stand there looking around as their agent provides access.  As basic as this may seem, these simple improvements are the foundation for attractive curb appeal.

Physical Problems

Whether it’s obvious, or only discovered during a home inspection, problems with roofing, structure, HVAC or other mechanical equipment ideally needs to be addressed by the seller before the house goes on the market. Otherwise, or those concerns will be factored into a prospective buyer’s offer.   The problem with handling the situation once a buyer is interested is that most buyers will double or triple the discount/cost  of correcting issues as compared to the seller’s actual out-of-pocket expense to do the work in advance of marketing.  Either way, the seller will pay, but generally they pay more after the offer than if problems are handled before the marketing begins.

Pet Odors

Undoubtedly, one additional priority should be to address odors and damage caused by pets before a house goes on the market. The scent of cat urine or the sight of wood floors, doors and/or woodwork badly scratched by animals will discourage buyers as well as drive offer amounts substantially down. As with the issues relating to curb appeal and physical problems, these distractions should be addressed before buyers begin to visit a home.


Buyers need to imagine themselves living in a home of their own. So be leery of overly-personal design and customization decisions which may be perfect for the current owner, but fail to appeal to the majority of prospective buyers.  They will view those special design choices as an expense they have to pay to undo. So if sellers elect to repaint to sell, generally stick with neutral colors and remove or replace unique features that might otherwise leave buyers scratching their heads.

With a little effort and careful planning, addressing these issues can return more in value than the cost of the work. I can help you sort through what can and can’t be done to improve your position and help you to set an asking price that will bring results. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you determine your home’s value.

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
[email protected]

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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

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