4 Features You Love About Your Home That Buyers Won’t, According to Realtors

published Jun 12, 2024
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A general interior view of a small white fitted kitchen with stainless steel oven and hood extractor fan
Credit: John Keeble / Getty Images

When it comes time to sell your house, the features you cherish won’t always be welcomed by potential buyers. People buying a home — whether they’re single women, couples, or families — prefer to curate their space in different ways that can reflect functionality, modernism, and personal aesthetics. It’s true that interior design trends are always in flux, and you should always build your home to be the home you enjoy and love. All that being said, knowing which features you could “improve” before putting your house on the market can lead to a more successful home sale.

According to interior designer Heather Vercellino, founder of Verce Design, when you’re angling to sell, home design features require the perfect balance between personality and potential market value.

“As a designer, I believe that your home should be a place of peace and a thoughtful reflection of you,” she explains. “This has the potential to turn away buyers if the home is too ornate and unique, so finding the perfect level of nonchalant elegance and personality is key.” That means taking note of factors like overall functionality, structural integrity, and an ideal home location

Let’s dive into a few features that, while beloved by you and your family, likely won’t attract a potential buyer

All White and Gray Tones

In the early 2000s, white and gray became the preferred middle ground for neutral tones that still added depth and dimension to home design. While these shades are still found across many interior layouts, they’re no longer included in features young homebuyers are looking for. 

“Homeowners are painting their stark white kitchen cabinets into something with warmer tones and personality,” Vercellino explains. “All gray walls are being replaced with color, texture, and printed wallpaper.” To avoid selling a seemingly dated home, consider revamping the cabinets and walls with a variety of colors and textures.

Credit: irina88w / Getty Images

Whirlpool Bathtubs

Whirlpool bathtubs were once beloved by home design enthusiasts — especially when attached to an en-suite bathroom. According to luxury real estate agent Cindy Raney, however, that’s no longer the case. 

“Whirlpool bathtubs have been replaced with a free-standing soaking tub or simply no tub and only a steam shower,” Raney explains. 

Despite their relaxation-inducing purpose, whirlpool bathtubs take up a large amount of surface area and typically signal a lack of energy efficiency. These days, homebuyers are keen on more eco-friendly bathrooms and finding environmentally conscious mechanicals. 

Specialized Wallpaper

I know — while Vercellino said that printed wallpapers can help you in a sale, it’s still true that going overboard with specialized wallpapers can drive potential buyers away. 

As Raney puts it, “Homeowners will typically customize their space when they first move in, and they love anything that reflects their personal style such as fun wall coverings and bold paint colors.” 

For homeowners, the process of customizing adjoining walls with specialized wallpaper is virtually harmless. When it comes time to sell the house, however, you might benefit from going back to a more neutral color (without reverting to whites and grays). 

Stark Kitchen Cabinets

Beyond whites and grays, stark kitchen cabinets are no longer in style. Instead, it’s best to find a balance between neutrals and unique colors with ornate patterns. According to Showplace Cabinetry, 2024 is all about embracing colorful hues in the kitchen — especially focusing on the cabinetry. You may want to experiment with warm, earthy, and matte tones.

It’s not uncommon for homebuyers and homeowners to have opposing views on design features, but committing to modern trends or universally appreciated designs can help bridge the gap. “The homeowner is looking to create a space that reflects their aesthetic and functional needs, while the homebuyer is finding ways to take an existing space and make it their own,” Vercellino says. “The functional needs of one family with young children differs greatly from a new empty-nester.”