One of the popular questions we get from homeowners that are considering a remodel is what options will give them the most return in the future, should they someday choose to sell their home. Although our ideal clients tend to be individuals that are not intending to move – those that have found their “forever home” and plan to live the rest of their life there—it is still a good idea to know what projects will provide the greatest ROI in the event that a move is necessary. Most contractors and realtors will probably tell you that a kitchen or bathroom remodel is going to be the best investment in regard to ROI. This is true, however, it’s important to know that this is only the case if you move a minimum of 10 years after your remodel. Moving within a 1 to 5 year timeframe is simply not a wise decision from a financial perspective, as the expense will be greater than the return within such a short time. For that reason, we typically are not the best fit for those that are working with investment properties or flip houses.
While it would seem that any update to your home would be good for your ROI, you should be aware that there are some projects that can actually lower the value of your home! Our owner, Mike Sr, will tell you that many times when he meets with a potential client to discuss a new project, he will spend the majority of the discussion trying to talk them out of it. If what they are thinking might serve an immediate need, but the long-term effect of the project on the value of the house will be a negative, he tries to get them to look at alternatives to serving their need. This might sound blunt, but our goal as a design-build firm is to provide our clients with honest facts and guidance when it comes to major home remodeling decisions. We want to educate you on the pros and cons of your potential project to help you choose the best option for the long-term!
Here are five home projects Mike Sr almost always tries to talk clients out of:
- Changing a bedroom into anything else. It is tempting start moving walls around to convert that extra bedroom you never use into more usable space. Ideas like removing a wall to open the bedroom up to a living area, doing away with a closet to gain more closet space in a neighboring room, or removing a closet completely to make the room bigger will reduce the marketability of your home, making it less valuable. The homes in most neighborhoods have the same amount of bedrooms. To reduce your bedrooms to at or below the average number of bedrooms for homes in your neighborhood will make your home less appealing to the larger market of people shopping in your neighborhood, which makes it harder to sell.
- Changing a garage into anything else. When extra people move into your house, or you just need more space, closing in the garage is one of the first options that comes to mind. This is a doubly bad idea. Not only do you devalue your house, you end up leaving your car outside and it depreciates more rapidly from being in the weather. Just like reducing the number of bedrooms, doing away with your garage to create living space makes your home less appealing to the larger market of people shopping in your neighborhood.
- Doing away with a closet. Removing a coat closet to enlarge a foyer or removing a hall or pantry closet to convert it into a second refrigerator space are also common requests we get. The problem is that most houses are designed with minimum storage space, while most people shopping for a home always seem to want more storage space. If you reduce the amount of storage space, it greatly reduces the marketability of your home (no matter how large and inviting that foyer is!)
- Installing a Jetted Tub. A jetted tub seems fun and exciting, but in reality, they are loud, costly to buy, expensive to install, and never as great as we hope they will be. When it comes time to sell your home, most potential buyers look at your jetted tub and think “gross,” and it becomes a drawback rather than an asset if they know they will likely want it removed. Not to mention, if you have one that gets installed improperly—such as not having a dedicated electrical circuit to the blower motor—you will soon have a liability on your hands. Our best advice is to steer clear of jetted tubs altogether!
- Loud and/or Trendy Designs. Trends are a contractor’s friend in that they increase sales. Unfortunately, when someone does a hip and trendy remodel, like heavy textured walls, dark colors, busy tile work, ornate wood work in a modest home, or a crazy looking floor, those rooms are more likely to be remodeled in a much shorter time span than a simple and timeless design. If you do a trendy remodel, then try to sell your house in 5 to 10 years, the potential new buyer is going to be thinking, “Oh my, this HAS to be remodeled.” If they do give you an offer on the house, the cost the remodel will be factored into the offer. It’s understandable that everyone has different taste, but simple and neutral tend to be the best bet when it comes to design decisions.
If you know you are living in your forever home, remodel it any way you want that makes you happy. But if there is any chance you’ll be selling within 10 years, take some time and consider the impact of your remodeling on your home’s marketability to be sure you aren’t devaluing it. What seems like a great idea now could result in a big regret later! If you have a project you would like to discuss, we’d be happy to set up an in-home consultation to provide you with the answers and guidance you’re searching for. Contact us today for more information!
The Medford Design-Build Team