Thoughtful remodeling can dramatically change the outcome of the sale of your home. The trend today is for homes that are remodeled correctly, to be snapped up within a day or two at full or above list price. But the percentage of homes that are remodeled to achieve this outcome, is still a small percentage of home inventory. The key word is correctly. There are many factors to consider before you tackle a remodeling project. It’s important to consider these important factors. Because the outcome of the decisions you are making now about updating your kitchen, will not be known until you list and sell your house. I call this the completion of the the life cycle of homeownership.
What makes you respond to a home? The location and neighborhood? Convenience? The style and construction materials, or perhaps the layout? The home is close to all the amenities you want or in the school district your child prefers? It fits your budget? While these might all be the practical reasons, believe it or not, the most important thing that makes us choose a home, is how it feels. And that is a little tricky to understand. It might be that it reminds you of your Grandmothers house, you feel safe, the placement of the windows makes it feel open. You can sit in the living room and look at the mountains. The kitchen makes cooking a pleasure. Those are the responses I am looking for when I am with clients. Chances are the next person will be responding to your home for similar reasons. Therefore, remodel to update your home for yourself, AND for the next person who will buy your home. How can we do that?
First, know what you don’t know. For example, if you want to remodel a bathroom in a historical neighborhood, you should never remove the authentic details. Yes, we need to modernize our homes for convenience and maintenance. But those authentic details are exactly what future Buyers are looking for. To remove them, could actually devalue your asset even if you spend $10,000 or more on this bathroom. I have witnessed home owners who will cover up vintage flooring with tile, completely remove all fixtures, cabinetry, doors and hardware. Sure they have updated the home and in the process, removed important details. In cases like this, while it may create a nice bathroom, it may not increase the value. If the next Buyer looking at your home has to remove all the work you’ve done, they will consider this cost and offer you less.
Secondly, do not tackle a home improvement project if you do not have the experience and skills to do it correctly. I see hundreds of homes every year. I know when work in a home was done by the owner. It’s nothing short of tragic. The material choice might be great, the paint color may coordinate beautifully, but if you did it yourself, and aren’t experienced, it shows and may be something the next Buyer may have to remove.
Third, enclosing space just to add square footage to increase home value is a common strategy. But if it changes the flow of your home, creates awkward ceiling heights, inconsistencies of materials, changes in floor elevation, you have have may have just devalued your home.
If you don’t know what Buyers are seeking, then consult an expert. I don’t mean a real estate agent who will give you information and stats on what’s selling. Or a contractor that will be able to install cabinets, a shower surround or sink. Quality of workmanship is important, but taste and smart design are as, or more, important. I mean a design expert who is following trends, materials, and life styles. Someone who knows not just neighborhoods, but home styles, tastes of Buyers and trending colors. Someone who knows the volume of space so we have a sense of comfort when we move through it. There are smart ways to remodel and achieve all of these important qualities that will increase the value of your home and make good use of your improvement dollars.
Next month, I’ll share with you exactly what I’m talking about. Having consulted and remodeled many homes, I’ll provide some easy and smart remodeling ideas, that in many cases are not only cost saving, but smart design solutions that increase value. In the meantime, please call me before you start that project!
Janelle Curry, Real Estate Consultant, Designer and Planner
Tierra Antigua Realty, 520 248 0599