Call it the “Incredible Shrinking House.” Or read the sequel, “We Don’t Need That Much Space Now That The Kids Are On Their Own.” You and the spouse start having discussions about:
- Should we put-in an addition?
- How about we take down a couple of walls to make things more open?
- Since mortgage rates are so low, should we move someplace smaller and save some money?
- What’s for dinner?
In other words, what’s best: Fix it up or simply move?
Beyond that, take a look at a couple of other considerations to answer the main question:
- Are you going to be throwing good money after bad by improving when you decide to sell a few years down-the-line?
Let’s say your house is worth 200-grand. Make an appointment to drop by a real estate agent’s shop. The info you want is how much are homes that are comparable to yours going for on the market. Any renovations that don’t add value to the market price of the home are dumb, right? Consider what we wrote in a previous article – the average time that people make a move is around 7-years. Here’s a link that might help you flesh-out the matter further. It comes from The National Association of Home Builders’ website. It’s an Adobe Acrobat file that you can print out and peruse at your leisure:http://www.nahb.org/fileUpload_details.aspx?contentID=180910&fromGSA=1
- Is there a possibility that we’re about to go too far with our home improvements?
Yup. Again, this gets down to the comparison of local market value. If your house is priced on the high-end, since you spent all that money on fixing-it up, it’s not going to sell all that quickly. Those searching for a new home are more likely to attach themselves to something cheaper. And then there’s this: How do you know that the buyer likes what you’ve done to spruce-up the place? How about if the couple is getting-up in the years? Do they really want to climb a few flights of stairs to use that bathroom/spa you’ve built? Or think along the lines that a family with young kids may not want to have an in-ground pool.
- What’s the timeline? Do you plan to move sooner-or-later?
This requires very little brain power. Ever done a remodeling job? It’s messy. It screws with your karma. It’s stressful. And you won’t even get to enjoy it once completed because you plan to unload your property after the work is done. Then, ask yourself: Why would you pour thousands-upon-thousands of bucks into a home that you’ll be putting up for sale once the place has undergone renovations?
- Does it really make sense to improve a house based on its location, age and square footage?
Let’s put it this way: Would you order a whole bunch of HD channels from your cable company if you still watch your programs on a black-and-white teevee set? Sure, the old Magnavox works as perfectly as it did when you brought it home from Digby’s Appliance Store back in the mid-60’s. But HDTV it ain’t. If you have some old, but functional element in your house, let it be. This is especially true if you’re putting in a state-of-the-art, Norwegian-style kitchen in a 150-year old Victorian. Similarity works. Weirdness doesn’t.