Good Investment, Bad Investment
Some people want to buy a house that is already perfect for them, meets all their needs and they don’t have to do anything at all to improve it besides paint a wall or two. But for most people, the best quality in a home is potential. They’d like to mold it into something spectacular in hopes their investment will bring them a sparkling return. That’s making money work for you. However, some people get side stepped into thinking any old improvement will get their money back, but it is not so. I’ve put together a few suggestions based on what will maximize return and what will not.
Good Investment— Kitchens
This is an area of the home that improving will always come out to your benefit. Kitchen styles are constantly changing, appliances are always improving. Compromising between your personal design aesthetic and what will appeal to buyers may give you a guideline when making fixture, appliance, cabinet and countertop decisions. This type of remodel can span a small to large budget. Just remember that the crazier you go, the less likely you’ll get all of your money back. If you do decide to go all the way, make it exactly how you want it, because it’s just for you.
Bad Investment— Playrooms.
This is a lifestyle decision. If you have school age children and know you will be staying put for a while, adding a climbing wall or a princess castle will bring hours of entertainment and ignite your child’s imagination. However, there is no telling if a potential buyer will feel similarly even if they have children, too. Some might see the space as an office, a home theatre, a place to watch the Super Bowl. This kind of improvement will most likely have to be undone when you want to sell. Keeping that in mind can help you decide how permanent you'd like to make that transformation.
Good Investment— Additions.
Adding more space to live comfortably and entertain is always a great idea for your home both functionally and for your investment. It increases square footage and potential in the eyes of a future buyer. It can tend to be a large expense because of demolition costs, new foundation and additional roofing, so make sure you do it right.
Bad Investment— Small additions.
DO NOT just add a few square feet to your home to nudge out a little more space for a bathroom, or to bump out a bedroom. You will not get your money back, and you will accumulate similar costs as a full-size addition. You’ll still have to break down walls and lay additional foundation for space that will unlikely recover the cost.
Good Investment— Curb appeal.
The outside of your home is one of the only ways to attract potential buyers initially. The exterior is the first thing buyers see when shopping around. It’s affordable and when done correctly could help you save money on heating a cooling. Working with what you already have is a good jumping off point, like trimming hedges, mulching, etc. Or, if your landscaping is already pristine, a fresh coat of paint for your entryway, shutters, or siding, can seriously give your home a facelift.
Bad Investment— Removing features.
If thinking of investments solely, do not remove features that may prove valuable to potential buyers. Even if you know you will never use the fireplace, another buyer might see it as a main attraction.
Other high return renovations to think about are master suites and bathroom updates. Other poor return investments, but lifestyle improvements are things that cater to your personal interests. Pools or wine rooms come to mind.
By all means, make upgrades on your home that will enhance quality of life rather than just focusing on the money, especially if you have growing children and plan on staying there for a while. Just bear in mind that some of those changes may have to be undone when it comes time to put your house on the market competitively.