Any real estate agent will tell you that improving your home is always a good idea. It adds extra value that you can recoup if you ever decide to sell the property. However, realtors will also tell you that the type of improvements you make will affect your property differently and that you shouldn’t always leap without looking to see how the improvements will change your home.
Basic improvements, maintenance, and repairs, are always good. Replacing your rickety old deck with a new one, for example, is a no-brainer. It’s obviously going to add to the home’s value. If the deck is in really bad shape, it may be something the buyer wants you to fix before the sale, anyway. Doing it early means you get to enjoy that improvement. It’s best to do some of these basic improvements, especially easy ones, when you first notice them.
Larger renovations, remodels, and improvements, however, can be more complicated. One example can be found in the bathroom. If you don’t use your bathtub at all and want to replace it with a large walk-in shower, that can be great for you. But if that’s the only bathtub in the house and you replace it, your home suddenly becomes less attractive to families with young children. In that case, what’s an improvement for you, can actually become a deterrent for some buyers.
Are you changing something in the home to fix your particular needs or desires? Uniqueness can go a long way towards either making a home in high demand or driving off a large number of potential buyers. Customizing a house so that it’s perfect for you may mean making that house absolutely wrong for a lot of people. If the features you’re adding to the home aren’t in demand, you’ll have to face the possibility of being unable to easily sell the property or, worse, have to undo the changes you made!
One rule of thumb that realtors use for improvements is the ten year rule. Will you be in your home for the next ten years? If the answer is yes, make the improvements you want to make that you know you’ll benefit from. Replace that tub with a large shower. You’ll get ten years of enjoyment out of it, so it’s worth it. But if you’re not certain you’re going to be living in the property for another ten years, then you may want to look at how the improvement affects the resale value.