Renovating To Increase House Value

A renovation usually stems from the need to make a place nicer or a more useful space. It also might include increasing your space. And while you are at it you use healthier materials.

But a renovation should also be seen from a house value point of view. Will it increase the value of the house? This is an important question to ask if you ever plan on selling the house. And even if you never plan on selling, a lot of the points below also apply to the amount of money a bank will be willing to lend you in a home equity line of credit.

Here are some tips to using a renovation to not only get rid of the mold in the bathroom but also to increase your home value:

1. Renovate with the buyers’ wants in mind.
Put yourself into a possible buyer’s shoes. Would a buyer appreciate your renovation? According to one study the following things are appreciated: new decks, new siding, kitchen remodel, new windows, bathroom remodel, new bed-and-bath suites in the attic and finished basements.

Basically, extending the useful space of your home (decks, attics, basements) increases the usable space and is a good thing. Improving the practical elements of the home (kitchen, bath, bed) is also good.

Non-practical things are not so great: a swimming pool in Minnesota or a movie theater.

2. Is your upgrade ok for the neighborhood?
Birds of a feather flock together. When it comes to houses it is the same. You want to stay in the same house type as the others on your block. Building a castle on a block that only has two bedroom ranch houses is a bad idea. Anyone who can afford your house will buy it in a better block.

The same goes for renovations. If your neighborhood is ultra fancy then maybe a jacuzzi is a good idea but if your neighbors’ idea of cooling off is to unlock the fire hydrant and get wet in the street then stick to a normal bathtub.

Bottom line: check out what your neighbors are doing first and then copy them. But do it more tastefully, by spending less money and in a more green way.

And generic is better than exotic because it appeals to more people (thus more potential buyers). A gentle white paint color is better than dark fuchsia.

I’m not saying your renovation should be shackled to some distant home sale or by what the idiots across the street are doing. But it is worth adding those considerations to the mix. Then you can follow your heart with a larger understanding of the situation.

3. Where is your neighborhood going?
Is it gentrifying or is the paint peeling? Or better said, is money being put into the houses or not? The best way to judge is by how much work is being done on the houses.

Are the lots of dumpsters and contractor vans in the neighborhood? That means lots of people are fixing up their houses. That means values will go up and you investing in your house will probably give you a return.

Or are there lots of for sale signs and broken down cars in the neighborhood? That means people are trying to get the hell out of the shit hole. And the $20k you just spent on the bathroom isn’t worth the toilet you bought to piss in.

4. What is your budget?
The more you spend on the renovation, the more money you would need in order to recoup your money when you sell the house. This is just plain common sense.

There are many things in life that are very nice and cost very little and this also applies to your kitchen cabinets.

A study was done where people were asked to appraise two identical bottles of wine, only they were told that one bottle was expensive and the other was a cheap bottle of wine. They all said the expensive bottle tasted better. Hmmm….

Don’t put your insecurities into the renovation. Just because you think your ass is too flabby doesn’t mean you can make up for it by buying “designer” tiles. It won’t change your ass, although depending on how shallow your friends are they might actually think your ass looks firmer.

Bottom line: expensive does not mean fancy. Fancy means fancy. Expensive means expensive. Despite what every sales person in the entire world wants you to think, fancy and expensive are not connected. So pick the fancy stuff, not the expensive stuff, and your finances will be grateful.

5. Go with the trends.
There are certain long term trends that you can tap into. The obvious one is to build green. In time green will simply be normal and anyone who doesn’t build green now will have expensive alterations to do later. So building green is a must.

Another, also connected to green, is to build with utility prices in mind. Long term oil prices are going up so buying an oil furnace is not smart. Electric prices are going up so the same applies for anything electric in the house.

Natural gas to some extent and alternative energy prices are going down so setting your house up for alternative energy is smart. Natural gas furnaces and a hookup for solar electric and hot water heating are smart (even if you don’t install solar, put the lines and tubes there when you have the walls opened up).

And insulate like there is no tomorrow, or actually insulate like tomorrow it will cost a lot to heat and cool your house, because it will. Prices are going up in these areas so counter them by building a house that uses as little energy as possible. This is very important. It is the basis of green.

About the author: Gennaro Brooks-Church

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