And they’re not all within your control, unfortunately.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated July 17, 2019
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Moving to a new home isn’t easy—the stress of selling a house alone might be enough to stop some people—but when it’s time to move, it’s time to move. Unfortunately, buying a new home and getting out of an old one can be a bit of a hassle once you consider the cost of selling a house, the time and energy it takes, and all the other logistics involved in selling your home; it’s certainly not as easy as hanging a for-sale sign in the yard.

Figuring out how to sell a house fast can be simple, especially if you’re willing to take a bit of a loss on your property investment. If you want to make money on your home, though, it’s going to take a little work, including finding the best time to sell a house and adding features that can help sell your home for more money. Of course, there are some things beyond the control of a homeowner that could bring in offers well below ask price, cutting down on the potential earnings you might get from an increase in home value.

A new analysis from real estate startup Opendoor found the costliest things that can reduce a home’s value, causing a home to sell for less—maybe even less than it was bought for, depending on an area’s market. These value-sucking factors came from an examination of actual home offers over the last year in 20 metro areas, and they can take thousands off a home’s sell price.

At the top of the list was commercial neighbors, which can bring down a home’s value by $9,600, according to Opendoor’s findings; apparently prospective buyers really don’t want to purchase a home next to a loud restaurant or rowdy gathering spot, enough that they would make a low-ball offer of almost $10,000 below asking price. Next was sloped backyards, which could cost a seller $7,000; unsightly neighbors, which could bring down an offer by $5,200; formica or tile kitchen countertops at a cost of $4,600; or carpet as the primary flooring, bringing a home’s value down by $3,900.

Changing kitchen counters or flooring type is a manageable fix for homeowners looking to get top dollar for their homes, though the cost to remodel a house isn’t cheap. Other value-lowering characteristics—specifically bad neighbors, whether they’re commercial or residential—are out of the seller’s control, unfortunately. And, of course, a sloped backyard is fixable in theory, but in practice fixing such an issue would cost a pretty penny and some serious logistical planning.

So what can homeowners hoping to sell do if they have one (or several) of these value-lowering features? If eliminating them isn’t an option, looking into adding features that seriously boost a home’s value—such as great curb appeal, updated bathrooms, and the like—is probably the best solution. If not, taking a loss on selling a home might be worth it to get into a place with a greater value.