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Good and bad renovations for your home's value
Old 12-17-2013, 10:46 AM   #1
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Good and bad renovations for your home's value

I am sure there's no absolute consensus anywhere, but another list. And I'd think there are regional differences in some cases (IE, putting in a pool is a losing $ proposition, but it was a must in FL for median and higher $ homes when I lived there).

Most seem predictable, but 2-3 surprised me...explanations for each in link.

Renovation Do’s
1: Upgrade your kitchen
2: Revamp your bathroom
3: Go greener
4: Invest in a sprinkler system
5: Install built-in speakers

Renovation Don'ts
1: Put in a pool
2: Convert a bedroom
3: Lay down carpet
4: Install ornate lighting
5: Redo the garage

Good and bad renovations for your home's value- MSN Money
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:35 AM   #2
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Interesting, and useful. I would add "don't put in too many trees," an "error" we made 20+ years ago. Those doggoned things look so stupid and spindly for the first 5 years. Then they look nice for another 5 years or so. And after that, they just grow, and grow, and grow.

I've always found it depressing that there has to be so much focus on "what Other People will want" in owning and decorating a home. I fully understand the reasons why this must be, but I still hate it.

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Old 12-17-2013, 12:39 PM   #3
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As I sit here, I am listening to 4 guys overhead tearing off 2 layers of roofing of the house we've lived in for 30+ years.

I convinced DH it was time, after 28 years, to replace the 25 year roof before anything untoward might occur.

The new roof will make the house look prettier, and I imagine it would be appealing to any potential buyers, in case we do decide to sell and relocate.

We went to another area the other day to do some house/location hunting, and I agree with "don't lay down carpet." Many buyers these days want hardwood floors, from what I've read. While I think that with carpet, sellers are probably picking a lower-cost alternative to hardwood, I agree it's a mistake.

Give a flooring allowance, if you must, but don't make me tear out that new drab beige carpet to put in the hardwoods I want.

Ditto for installing generic granite, especially the kind that looks like head cheese, in place of tile. Just leave the tile and let me pick my own granite -- especially if you are leaving a carnival of paint colors on the walls that I gotta paint, anyway!

I get the feeling that people install granite in some places, along with stainless, so that they can feature it in the real estate listing, but if they haven't done the rest of the work to complete the whole appearance, it's almost better just to forget the granite and stainless, IMO.
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:43 PM   #4
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To sell a strictly middle class rental townhouse, would laminate floors be acceptable? Hardwood seems unlikely to recoup anything like its cost.

(Agree about the head-cheese granite and the gray speckled stuff, installed merely so the listing can proclaim "granite." I'd rather have good quality laminate countertops).

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I agree with "don't lay down carpet." Many buyers these days want hardwood floors, from what I've read. While I think that with carpet, sellers are probably picking a lower-cost alternative to hardwood, I agree it's a mistake.
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:43 PM   #5
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When you're making your flooring decision, I think you'd have to see what else is going on with the comps and what you're up against. I am not a realtor, just a long-time, very opinionated looky-loo. :-)

Maybe it is different if one is purchasing a townhome and plans to use it as a rental property rather than live in it.

There is some laminate out there that is really hard to discern from engineered hardwoods. When I've priced floors at Lowe's, et al., it seems to me that engineered hardwood floors are not that much more expensive than some of the better laminates I've seen out there.

I have one room with laminate, and I hate it, even though I chose the pattern -- the handscraped hickory look. It was not cheap, but it sounds plastic-y when the dogs walk across it; further, it scratches, but you can't refinish it like you can some hardwoods.

Our new roof is this year's big project, and next year's project, if we don't move, will be new hardwoods throughout most the house. (Two bedrooms are carpeted).

Good thing we have such a small house.
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:03 PM   #6
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Home prices here seem tightly tied to square footage, more than in any of the numerous other locations where I have lived.

So, the number one home renovation for increasing a home's value in my area, is probably to turn a perfectly good garage into heated/cooled living space and parking out on the street or driveway instead. That increases the square footage because here, the realtors do not include unheated/uncooled spaces like a garage in the square footage.

A modest or partial kitchen renovation might help, but then when one sees a highly renovated home the first question that comes to my mind is whether the house was partially or completely submerged in filthy water for weeks after Katrina or not. If so, this might result in a home that needs renovations to sell, and also in hidden problems such as warped structural wood or who knows what other issues. So, the renovations might be a warning flag for the buyer to carefully scrutinize the disclosures and to make sure the house passes an especially rigorous home inspection or inspections.

Apparently most other renovations won't increase the price of the house much in my area, I guess because the few qualified buyers don't want to pay more per square foot. But, these other renovations may mean that the house sells faster.

A pool is a negative here according to my realtor.

I loved having a sprinkler system in California, but here it is unnecessary. It rains so much that I don't even OWN a sprinkler, and have never seen anybody sprinkling their lawn that I can recall. If I had a sprinkler system it would never be used.

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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
I've always found it depressing that there has to be so much focus on "what Other People will want" in owning and decorating a home. I fully understand the reasons why this must be, but I still hate it.
+1000
Some renovations that I'd love to do, but won't because I am pretty sure they would negatively affect resale, are:

1) converting the bathtub in my second bathroom to a huge shower, meaning there would be no tub;
2) enlarging the second bathroom by taking down a wall to combine it with my littlest bedroom, leaving me with only 2 bedrooms instead of 3;
3) paving over the entire back yard
4) paving over the entire front yard
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:14 PM   #7
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Kitchens and bathrooms is what I've always heard. But that is assuming everything else (roof, exterior, etc) is in decent shape. Like AR implied, a fixed up kitchen in a run down house won't do much. We are at this instant redoing both bathrooms. They were falling apart 10 years after our diy remodel, so we are having professionals make them look fabulous and exactly the same so the second bathroom doesn't look like the second bathroom. in four years we are planning to sell, but we also want to enjoy the nice bathrooms for a while.
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Bathroom and Kitchen Updates--Do them thoroughly or not at all
Old 12-18-2013, 10:09 AM   #8
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Bathroom and Kitchen Updates--Do them thoroughly or not at all

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Kitchens and bathrooms is what I've always heard. But that is assuming everything else (roof, exterior, etc) is in decent shape. Like AR implied, a fixed up kitchen in a run down house won't do much. .
I wasn't implying that there were quick fixers in run down houses; rather, I was talking about updates made in an overall very nice house but just not completed.

For example, in one house we looked at over the weekend, we saw 3 bathrooms, in 3 states of improvement.

The ground floor full bath had new tile counters and tile floors, a new vanity, and new, ornate mirror and faucets. Very pretty and updated. However, they left the outdated brass-trimmed shower door and cultured marble tub surround. If I wanted to finish that update, I'd have to find tile to match the counters and floor. To my mind, so it would have been better to leave the whole thing undone. Do it right, and thoroughly, or clean it and leave it.

In the huge master bath, they did the whole thing, extensive tile work, yet the tile was somewhat personalized to their taste, with a southwest theme to the trim tile. Gorgeous, but too personalized. However, I don't think they did that upgrade to sell it but instead did it for themselves.

And in the hall bath upstairs, the kids' bath, I guess, other than paint the oak cabinets white, they left it as it was: all the brass fixtures, the cultured marble counters and sinks and tub surround, and also left the little blue soccer balls stenciled on the soffit.

Of all 3 bathrooms, I prefer the third one, because I can paint over the soccer ball stencils and choose tile or countertops myself.

In the kitchen, oak cabinets were painted over, with new bronze pulls put in, and they added the head cheese granite from Lowe's, but they still had the older black appliances. It was clean, but I'd take the granite right out and also consider that I will probably have to replace the appliances because they are older. They might as well have left the tile counters they started with.

The wine chiller was a nice update, though. :-)

I think they did some very basic updates, inexpensive ones, to make the house look pretty for photos -- it's very well staged -- but updates were not thoroughly done.

It makes me think they have to sell -- especially since the house is staged and they have moved out, except for their 3-car garage full of stuff they left behind.
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:30 AM   #9
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Some interesting points.

We have hard wood throughout but the main floor is pretty trashed. We are going to put house on market it 12- years. the first floor wood has issues (pets and such) We are torn between getting it repaired or doing the allowance thing at time of sale.

Another point. We know 4 people that are going through major renovations. All of them are skipping the tub in the master (will have tube in 2nd/3rd bath) Seems to be a trend............
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:39 AM   #10
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We have birch wood floors, also damaged by 10 years of dog toenails. Birch is too soft a wood for those with dogs, but we didn't know that when we chose it. So we're doing it over, if we stay, with a harder, rustic-look flooring, probably acacia.

I have seen that tubless trend, even to the extent that houses don't have any tub at all. That always surprises me. Re: tub in the master, I personally would not get rid of that. We only have a shower in our tiny master bathroom now, and I am a bath person. I don't like to have to use the hall bath when we have guests. When we househunt for possible relocation, I immediately discard any house that does not have a full tub in the master bath. In fact, it has to be the kind of big garden tub we installed in our hall bath when we remodeled.

We don't have children, but I know that if I did, I would consider it a great luxury to be able to have my own full master bathroom, a retreat that had my own candles and bubblebath, not one full of toys and the other stuff I see in my nieces' and nephews' bathrooms.
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:45 AM   #11
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We are selling our house of 20 years in southern Texas. We are moving into a 55 and older community and buying a one level fairly newer house. We will be putting the old home on the market by years end as I am doing a few maintenance items first and giving it a good cleaning.

We had a 15 year old roof on it that was just about done in from a tree branch hit (roof patch job) and withstanding a couple of hurricanes. Cheap 20 year shingles didn't make 20. So we put on a new GAF Timberline roof two weeks ago.

New roofs make the buying process easier as insurance companies down this way won't write policies on a very old roof. So we made the investment.

House has granite in the kitchen and downstairs 1/2 bath (our install - not the cheese head variety), nice carpet and a great deck with a built in spa. I put in a sprinkler system in and a new A/C a few years ago.

All of the above should make for an easy sell, we hope. The new roof is the selling point here.
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Old 12-18-2013, 11:21 AM   #12
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I don't know about "built-in speakers," because the brand/type of loudspeakers and their placement in a room are individual choices, but if you have the walls open, it seems advisable to me to run quality speaker wire to every room of the house--ending with a dual wire terminal at electrical outlet floor level in each room. That way, you can put the amp/receiver wherever you want and use any speaker you prefer--as well as using wire from the terminal to place the speakers anywhere you desire in the room. That's what we did with the bottom floor of my home when we gutted and renovated it (ran wire to the bedrooms, family room, and kitchen--where two separate terminals are on the ceiling instead, to allow different placements with shorter wires). (Wireless systems is another story.)
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Old 12-18-2013, 11:22 AM   #13
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We are selling our house of 20 years in southern Texas.

New roofs make the buying process easier as insurance companies down this way won't write policies on a very old roof. So we made the investment.

House has granite in the kitchen and downstairs 1/2 bath (our install - not the cheese head variety), nice carpet and a great deck with a built in spa. I put in a sprinkler system in and a new A/C a few years ago.

All of the above should make for an easy sell, we hope. The new roof is the selling point here.
I am glad to hear your take on the roof and its potential value for resale. That is what we hoped for. Today is day 2 of our new roof install. We also splurged and got a solar tube for a dark hallway. It's quite bright!
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Old 12-18-2013, 11:45 AM   #14
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Since you mentioned kids...a real estate agent recently informed us that families still desire tubs because "Adults take showers, kids take baths."

All of us will have an individual "take" on what we would or wouldn't want in a house, and it may not always be what "the buying public" desires. Plus, that's going to vary by neighborhood, let alone region.

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I have seen that tubless trend, even to the extent that houses don't have any tub at all. That always surprises me. Re: tub in the master, I personally would not get rid of that. ..
We don't have children, but I know that if I did, I would consider it a great luxury to be able to have my own full master bathroom
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Old 12-18-2013, 11:54 AM   #15
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Disagree on the speakers. I would think they're like intercoms; put one in the house we built in 1987 and I'm sure it's been torn out. Speaker quality and placement is highly individual, if you want to put some in while walls open that might be OK but I wouldn't expect them to be a selling point. As for wiring the house, we recently got the wireless Sonos system and love the convenience and flexibility. Won't replace a high end hi fi system, but neither will built in speakers.
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