Home Remodels That Don’t Pay

Mortgage and Lending - CMG - 245686
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Matt Mieras

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Before you jump into a major renovation project to give a house your special flare, consider how long you’re likely to live in the house. A lot of people get into trouble by moving into a home they’re only going to be in for a relatively short period of time, and they start remodeling and building additions that are sort of on their fantasy list, but they’re not going to be there long enough to really enjoy. Here are four reasons to “remodel with caution”, especially if you want to maximize your chances of a profitable sale later on. Home remodels that don't pay off1. High maintenance – If your upgrade requires too much work to maintain, buyers may view it as more of a problem than an asset. A prime example is an in-ground swimming pool, which can cost a small fortune to maintain and keep clean. 2. Overdressed – Luxurious features can be a nice selling point, but only if they blend in with rather than stand out from what the neighbors have. Having the nicest home in the neighborhood can be a bad thing when it’s time to sell. A prime example would be upgrading the kitchen in a starter home to look like the kitchens in high-end home magazines. 3. Too Personal – Making a “Cookie-Cutter House” conform to your own unique taste. Any time you deviate, no matter what how minor the improvement is, from what is a fairly traditional, single-family house, you run the risk of improving in a way that will not lend itself to recouping your investment at re-sale time. 4. Unpopular – If no one else on the block has a room like the one you’re adding, or all the other houses boast the very feature you’re getting rid of, watch out. For example, although converting your two car garage into an office or bedroom can be a less expensive way to add square footage and create more living space, it can have drawbacks. Potential home buyers might miss the covered parking more than they welcome the additional room, especially if all other homes in the neighborhood have garages. This final tip for whatever type of home renovation you might be considering: Before you do anything to your house, live in it for a while. Prioritize the projects you want to complete, then go back in a few months and see if your list has changed.