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4 Dec 2015
Home improvements can help or hurt the sale of a home. When you are buying a home and when you make some home improvements, your first thought is probably not, “is this home sellable?” I believe it should be one of your considerations, because someday you will need to sell. That time may be many years away, even 20 years away. But when you do want to sell, sellability and price will be top of mind for you. For one person, this bright red tile bathroom was the cat’s meow, but I can guarantee that the majority of retirees moving to the Sequim area would be repulsed by this bathroom. It would hinder the sellability of this home.
I wrote an earlier article related to home improvements entitled Sellability and Appreciation, and one reader had a very good comment, which I include here so we can flush this idea out on whether some home improvements are good or bad for resale.
She wrote, “This is just depressing. All this time, I have been very careful not to customize the home I am in, avoided making anything but widely acceptable upgrades, knowing I will need a buyer for this home to relocate for retirement. But at the same time, I have anticipated the joy it will bring me to actually place mosaic tile (made up of all my saved broken Chintz plates and saucers) around my fireplace so that my home finally feels like ME. To paint the walls pastel pink. To possibly have vintage appliances. To paint any brickwork or wood paneling a shabby chic white. Instead you are saying that I need to continue to have escrow beige carpet, stainless steel appliances and neutrals throughout so that I can sell my retirement home before entering assisted living when I am 90. Most depressing.”
I think my response is worth sharing. I wrote, “Ann, your point is well made, especially with the kinds of specific improvements that make your home special and unique for you. My emphasis [in that article] is really not on specific improvements as much as it is on the bigger picture–the floor plan, the location, and the quality and style of the home. What you emphasized are the unique improvements that you would make to create that little piece of ‘Heaven’ for your own home. As long as unique improvements are not way outside the Bell Curve of what the average person would see as attractive, that’s okay. If you have a nice floor plan on a lot in a nice location, small improvements like an unusual colored tile in the bathroom are not likely to push a qualified buyer away, unless they are too radical or there are too many unique improvements for the average buyer. The truth is, one of the best reasons to own a home is so that you can make it your own little Heaven with some of those very special improvements. The thought in the back of the mind, however, should be that the more “unique” your improvements, the more likely the home gets pushed to the outer boundaries of the Bell Curve and becomes harder to sell someday.”
Home improvements can substantially improve the value of a home and the appeal of a home to prospective buyers, or home improvements can chase buyers away in droves.
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