Before you dive into a major renovation project to give a house your special signature, consider how long you’re likely to stay in the house.
A lot of people get into trouble by going into a home they’re only going to be in for a relatively short period of time, and they start doing renovations and 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 proceed with caution, particularly if you want to maximize your chances of a profitable resale later on.
1. High maintenance – If your upgrade requires too much upkeep, buyers may view it as more of a nuisance than an asset. A prime example is an in-ground swimming pool, which can cost a small fortune to install, secure, heat and clean.
2. Overdressed – Luxurious amenities can be a good selling point, but only if they blend in with rather than outshine 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 an entry leval home to reflect remodeling from high-end home magazines.
3. Too Personal – Making a “Cookie-Cutter House” in the image of your own exquisite taste. Any time you deviate, no matter what the improvement is, from what is a fairly traditional, single-family house, you run the risk of improving in a fashion that will not lend itself to additional dollars 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 garage into an office, bedroom or playroom can be a less expensive way to add square footage and create more living space, it can have drawbacks. Potential homebuyers might miss the sheltered parking more than they welcome the additional room, especially if other homes in the neighborhood have garages.
This final tip for whatever type of home renovation you may be considering: Before you do anything in a house, live in it for a while. Prioritize what needs to be done, then go back a year later and see how much your list has changed.