Inexpensive Ways to Avoid Outbuilding the Neighborhood

I was working with a buyer recently, who was fortunate to be able to buy without having to sell her current house.  As part of the process, she asked what she could do to improve her current home.  There’s almost always something that can be done to improve a home – the problem in her case, however, was that the value in her neighborhood didn’t quite support major improvements.

Let’s assume your home is worth $200000; you have three bedrooms, two baths, and you really want to add some square footage by utilizing the backyard and creating a nice, finished sunroom, adding another 400 square feet to your total.  This is a nice sunroom – the bill for the whole thing is going to run ~ $40000.  When can I come over and hang out?

Start here to find a home you can improve.

As you look around the neighborhood, three bedroom/two bath homes are selling between $215000-225000, so by putting a $40000 addition onto a $200000 house, you’re overbuilding by as much as 10.5%.  That’s not good.

Adding square footage can add value, but not all the time, and certainly not in the example above – unless you just want to throw away $40000.  When considering what to do to improve the value of your home, be sure that the money going in will be something you can get out when you sell.

Here are some other ways – most less expensive then my $40000 example – to add value to your home:

  • replace appliances with new, stainless steel appliances.  Some buyers are trending toward black appliances, but stainless still seems to resonate with the greatest number of buyers still.
  • change out cabinet hardware. For just a few bucks, you can change the way the cabinets look.  And for a few bucks more, painting cabinets will get you a completely different look without having to break the bank. If you need help paint the house, then go to CalRes Painting so you can hire professionals.
  • find unfinished square footage and finish it.  Maybe it’s a basement, or a small nook under the stairs.  Either way, adding square footage can often be the best way to add value to a home, provided that (1) the square footage is finished to a similar quality as the rest of the house, and (2) that you’re not “overbuilding” for the neighborhood.
  • clean up the yard. Trimming trees and shrubs can have a big impact. It opens up the yard, providing light and a direct visual to the house. Spend a weekend this spring and see what kind of a difference you can make.

HGTV is great – sometimes – but there’s more to adding value to a home than just a 30-minute TV show.  Start small, and don’t overdo it.

Click to search for that perfect fixer-upper.

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