7 Kinds of Doorknobs Real Estate Experts Wish You Wouldn’t Install

published Nov 1, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Blossoming wisteria tree covering up a facade of a house in Notting Hill, London on a bright sunny day
Credit: Getty Images/ Alena Kravchenko

Real estate agents are almost as invested in the things in and around your home as you are. After all, the wrong decor or paint color choice could make or break a sale — which is why they have opinions on just about every detail. Yes, including the smallest ones, like doorknobs.

I asked a few agents for their opinions on doorknobs, and much like the mail carrier knocking at your front door, they delivered. These are the ones they say not to install if you want to have a slam-dunk listing.

Mobile Locks and Doorknobs

Technology may be marching forward, but some of the benefits of updating your low-tech doorknob with a WiFi-enabled version can leave you behind, according to Danelle Davis, a licensed real estate salesperson with the Corcoran Group.

“For the phone-entry systems in particular, I’ve heard of issues getting home when your phone is out of juice, trouble getting access for pet sitters, nannies, or home care professionals, and then there’s the simple fact that you’re forced to take your phone with you whenever you exit your apartment,” she says. 

Gold Interior Knobs

Not much dates your interior like accessories from a bygone era, which is why Boyd Rudy, an associate broker with Dwellings Michigan, says he makes sure he talks to his clients about their dated decor.

“When I go on a listing appointment with one of my clients and we talk about how to maximize their value, one of the absolute first things that I point out are the old gold doorknobs,” he says, adding that they can make the home feel outdated even when there’s been significant improvements made throughout the property. 

Knobs That Fail to Stick to the Theme

Few things can take away from your vintage farmhouse feel than a clunky or out-of-place door lock system, which is why Judi Kutner, a real estate agent and the head writer of Apartment Notes says keeping the overall architectural aesthetic of the property intact is a must. (Yes, even when it comes to your doors.)

“I’ve seen beautiful country cottages with gaudy electric automated locks and intrusive doorknobs — and to me, they look terrible,” she says. 

DIY Upgrades

If there’s one doorknob style Alicia Chmielewski, an auctioneer and real estate sales advisor, would like to see nixed, it’s the DIY makeover that involves paint. “Please stop following social media suggestions to paint doorknobs and locks; they peel and get gross quickly and never look good,” she says. “Do a future homeowner a favor: If you want a new look, purchase a new set and trash the old.”

Credit: Getty Images/RossHelen

Anything That Automatically Locks

Doors that automatically lock behind you are a recipe for disaster, which is why Jacob Brenyo, a real estate broker at Awning.com, says he hates seeing these in listings. “This isn’t a security feature, it’s a source of constant frustration that you can solve for $30,” he adds.

Knobs That Are Hard to Grasp

While intricate designs and abstract options may look cool, Larry Mickalis, owner of Palmetto Land Buyers, says they’re not the best bet for your doors and entryways. “This is a functional issue more than anything else, but doorknobs that are difficult to grip can be frustrating for both buyers and agents alike,” Mickalis says. “Smooth, sleek knobs are always the best option.” Accessible entryways for homeowners of all ages and abilities can only stand to benefit sellers.

Faux French Doorknobs

Shaun Martin, owner and CEO of Cash For Houses: Home Buying Done Right, says homeowners should steer away from fake French antique-style doorknobs. “Antique French doorknobs speak elegance, class, and timeless style, but not those bizarre fake ones,” he says, adding that it can take away from even the most attractive entryways. Instead, Martin says you’re better off opting for the real thing for your front door when you can.