The beginning of summer is the time when home improvement stores are buzzing and those long-planned projects are getting underway. In the world of real estate sales, all renovations are not created equal. By focusing on those improvements that will result in a decent return on your investment, you will create a more eye-appealing space and be kind to your wallet at the same time. Let’s dispel some of the long-standing myths of home improvements.
Contrary to popular belief, not all remodeling projects increase a home’s value. In fact, some improvements that work for you, say tearing down a wall to make one big bedroom out of two, may make your home less desirable to some. If you are making that improvement for your own benefit that’s one thing, if it is to get the property ready to sell, best hold off. Some prospective buyers may need that extra bedroom.
You may have elected for top-end fixtures and tiles for your kitchen or bathroom renovation. The result is a lovely space, but that space may be priced out of the market for many buyers who can get a similar home without the over-the-top renovations, even within the same neighborhood. It’s tough to recoup on your investment.
It is also a myth that if you add more living space, or square footage, to a property, that property goes up in value. That really depends on what type of addition/renovation you’ve invested in. If you are considering refinishing a basement or attic, be sure the quality of work is the same as in the rest of the home. Otherwise it still appears unfinished and can hurt the value.
It was once thought that keeping a home neutral in color would make that home more appealing. In truth, all those monochromatic and/or earth tone shades can be a turn off. Face it, a home without color tends to be boring. That doesn’t mean you need to paint each wall a different, vivid color, but rather use hints of color and texture to accent your rooms. An interior designer can help if you are lacking in the decorative arts department.
Inside improvements are lovely, but outside improvements are what gets a potential buyer to pull over and take a closer look. Curb appeal is more important than you think. A fresh coat of paint, nicely manicured lawn and flowers for a splash of color are an easy fix, and usually some of the most inexpensive types of improvement.
Some are of the opinion that it is better to add another bedroom rather than an additional bathroom. If your home only has up to two bedrooms, adding a third tends to make your home more marketable, and valuable. But, if you already have that third bedroom and are considering adding on, putting in a second bathroom is the better bet. Think about it, four bedrooms and one bath? That’s an argument waiting to happen.
While giving your home a fresh coat of paint for esthetic reasons is a good thing, trying to hide unpleasant issues with that same coat of paint is quite another. In most places trying to hide dry rot, mold or other problems from potential buyers may land you in court, or at the least, with a big bill to clean up whatever is hiding under that paint.
Leave the garage alone. Don’t turn it into a spare bedroom or other type of living space unless you replace it with additional off-street parking and storage space. Buying a home without a garage is a turnoff for many potential homeowners. This move could actually decrease the value of your home and/or keep it on the market for month.
Be sure you know what you are doing before tackling a renovation project. Some people are innately skilled when it comes to putting in a light fixture or dishwasher, but if you are not one of those gifted ones, call in a professional. It’s less expensive to get the job done right the first time, rather than have a botched up renovation redone. If you are buying a home to renovate and then resell, consider that in many states you must have a valid contractor’s license to do your own work.
If you live in a part of the country where a swimming pool in the backyard is part of the local landscape, then adding a pool will most likely increase your home’s value. On the other hand, if you live in northern climes where pool season is only a few months long, then a pool will do nothing for your value and may discourage some buyers. Indoor pools are usually an exception, but there is still the question of maintenance. Bottom line, if you are putting in a pool for your own enjoyment, go ahead, but if it is just to get more money out of a home sale, don’t bother.