Home improvement projects can require a significant time commitment and huge financial investment. Homeowners make improvements for a wide variety of reasons, but almost all expect to increase the resale value of their home according to the money they put down.
Know your buyers’ needs
Unfortunately, not every project will yield the resale value that homeowners hope. For those of us in the real estate industry, it is important to give smart advice to our clients before they begin a major renovation.
Always research your market and decide which upgrades will add to your home’s appeal without pricing it out of the market.
If your client lives in a neighborhood where comparable houses are being sold for millions of dollars, then it makes sense to add some high-end features. But if houses in their community sell for $150,000, adding a luxury bath and entertainment room will probably mean losing money in the long run. Ironically, small projects often make the biggest difference in terms of adding resale value to a home.
Here are some common upgrades that homeowners should be wary of:
Bathroom upgrades rarely regain more than half their original expense. Buyers want to see clean, useable bathrooms, but many aren’t impressed by over the top features like waterfall showers, fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, and expensive tiling. These features may not appeal to the preferences of your buyer, and can require unwanted maintenance. If your client plans to remodel their bathroom, remind them to remain practical. A nice, modern shower is likely to be a better investment than a high-end tub.
According to HouseLogic, in-ground pools only increase a home’s value by 7 percent. Not only are pools expensive and hard to maintain, they can be hazardous for small children. Many potential buyers won’t consider buying a home with a pool, especially if they live in an unaccommodating climate. Above-ground pools are an even worse investment, as they can actually decrease the value of your home. Many buyers will remove the pool immediately upon purchasing the home, or negotiate for it to be removed as part of the sale.
Although new carpeting can really help spruce up a room, it is quick to show signs of dirt and wear. Also, prospective buyers may dislike the carpet color and texture you choose, or prefer hard wood or tile flooring.
It can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 to build a sunroom. As one of the most expensive upgrades, it’s very important that homeowners build their sunroom to match the climate. In Minnesota, you will likely get more value from a four-season porch than a patio. According to Remodeling, sunrooms return only 48.5% of money expensed.
Although they might look cool at first, built-in aquariums are another feature that requires difficult and expensive maintenance. Potential buyers must either take on the responsibility of upkeep, or spend money to remove the aquarium entirely.
Most one-car garage additions cost an average of $20,000 to $40,000, and homeowners are unlikely to recoup the full price in resale. Though the extra space might be convenient, buyers are often willing to settle for a standard two-door garage for a better price.
Expensive landscaping may improve curb appeal, but it may also discourage buyers that don’t want the extra work or have different landscaping preferences. Simple landscaping is less likely to deter buyers, especially when it looks nice year round and requires little to no upkeep.
A home movie theatre and media room may seem tempting to your client, but potential buyers may easily perceive these features to be a drain on energy costs and a poor use of space.
Home improvements should appeal to people generally—not just your particular family. Quirky designs like bright pink walls and colorful tiling might just turn buyers away. Neutral designs are always more likely to increase the value of your client’s home.