Friends and family ask me all the time which home improvements offer the highest return on investment when it comes time to sell. I love to hear that people are planning home improvements they can actually enjoy now, before it’s time to put the house on the market. Sometimes a kitchen or bathroom update, fresh landscaping, new paint, etc. are a necessary part of selling a home for top dollar. The downside of making these improvements at sale time is that the homeowner does not get to enjoy the updates for any length of time.
When possible, I am a proponent of making positive improvements to your home while you are living in it and plan to stay for awhile. You’ll not only enjoy a financial return on your investment when you sell your home, but you and your family will be able to enjoy the improvements every day as you live in your home.
In this post, I’d like to share a few DON’TS when it comes to choosing improvements for your home.
Thou shalt not over-improve your property. If you have the nicest house on the block and your kitchen and bathrooms are up-to-date, don’t overdo it with additional improvements. You can paint your walls 24 karat gold and lay granite on every flat surface, but over-improving for your neighborhood will not pay you back when you sell your home. If you are wondering how your home compares to others in the neighborhood, talk to a licensed Realtor to request a Current Market Analysis for your home. (I know a guy.)
Thou shalt not be too taste specific in your decorating choices. If you are a big fan of log cabin decor, by all means decorate away! Temporary features like artwork, lamps, furniture, and rugs are a great way to highlight your personal tastes. Be wise when considering more permanent installations like counters, flooring, and tile. The forest-themed carpeting you just love may be a turn off down the road for potential buyers, and themed wallpaper may be more trouble than it’s worth to remove once your house is listed. I encourage you to truly live in your home, and decorate with what you love, just be prepared to pare down and make changes to appeal to the general market when you are ready to move.
Thou shalt not expect an unrealistic return for hot tubs and other “luxury” installments. If you can’t imagine life without a hot tub in your backyard or a sauna in your basement- go for it! Just don’t make the mistake of thinking this adds value to your home. Down the road, some buyers will be thrilled, but they won’t be likely to pay any more for your home because of it. Still other buyers will actually be turned off. If the buyer of your home does not want a hot tub, draining, dismantling, and removing it could pose extra expense and effort they are not interested in expending. Get a hot tub for you, not the future buyer of your home.
Thou shalt not replace your roof unnecessarily. If your roof doesn’t leak, let it be. Pouring thousands of dollars into a new roof when your current roof is still serviceable is not a necessary or worthwhile investment. Buyers may appreciate the peace of mind that comes from a shiny new roof, but they won’t pay you for it.
Stay tuned for a list of which home improvements are worth your time, and your dime- and call me for personal advice on which improvements make sense for your property.