Design Recipes: 5 things that could hurt a home sale

By Cathy Hobbs
Tribune News Service

You want to refresh your home. But where do you start? Perhaps you are also thinking about renovation vs. resale value. Those looking to sell their homes for top dollar in the quickest amount of time also need to keep potential buyers in mind. When it comes time to sell a property, it is no longer someone’s home, but a product on the market that will be compared with others. Some items that served a homeowner well may be potential negatives.

Here is my list of five decorator/designer items that may hurt a potential real estate sale.

This master bedroom features wall-to-wall carpeting.

1. Transforming or altering bedrooms

If you have a home that has four bedrooms, you are going to want potential buyers to see four bedrooms. Transforming a bedroom into a walk-in closet or that darkroom you have always wanted may be something you will enjoy while you are living in the home, but it will be a big turnoff to potential buyers.

2. Carpeting

While it is lush to have something soft underfoot, the reality is most potential buyers prefer hardwood flooring. Many will see carpeting as traps for odors such as pet smells, too hard to keep clean or personalized in color.

A living room with a custom wall color. ( Cathy Hobbs/TNS)

3. Accent walls

Accent walls are a popular, inexpensive decorating tip. However, many potential buyers view even small, quick fixes like changing paint as money, worry and work.

4. Small appliances

While you may be pressed for space and like the slimline version of your favorite appliance, most buyers prefer to see full-size appliances. Appliances are expensive, and many homeowners will not want to have to purchase new ones when they buy your home.

5. Pools and hot tubs.

These may be a status symbol in your neighborhood, and if you live in a hot climate, they might be a necessity. Even so, many buyers see pools as a negative, especially families with young children who may have safety concerns. Many buyers are also turned off by hot tubs and view them as a potential breeding ground for germs. Both are seen as potential negatives because of maintenance costs.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at .