We often discuss on this blog what a homeowner needs to do to sell their Windsor property. We’ve discussed the repairs, updates, cleaning and curb appeal subjects at length. And at times we have included what renovations don’t always add value to your home. But this is information often bears repeating. More and more sellers are dipping their toes in the water and considering selling their home in the future now that the real market is heading in the right direction.
Sellers must realize that not all renovations increase your home value. Some can do the opposite. Anything that is over the top may not have the same appeal to the next possible owner. And while some projects are highly sought after, such as finished basements, large, open kitchens, garages and fenced yards, others are not quite so appealing.
If you plan on making some of the following renovations to your home, but know that you will be selling at some point, you may want to read further:
Over-building your home for your neighbourhood
As real estate agents, we often see this. On a street of similar looking homes, there is one that has overdone it with expensive renovations, adding extra rooms and landscaping that looks like it belongs at a 5 star hotel. Unfortunately, as wonderful as these improvements may be, these homes stick out and not often in a good way. Buyers don’t often choose the most expensive home on the block because what they see is higher taxes, high maintenance costs as well as a hefty monthly mortgage payments that their neighbours aren’t paying. Sellers, who think their “improvements” will result in buyers stampeding to their door with their pocketbooks, are mistaken, as their remodeling efforts will not increase the chance of selling the house for more money.
Most buyers are not looking for homes with swimming pools. In fact, it is usually a very small percentage of those that have a pool on their wish list. Why? Besides the maintenance issues they are a very serious safety issues for those with small children and pets. Buyers with teenagers are more likely to consider a home with a pool, but many don’t want the worry and responsibility as well. Certainly add a pool if your family wants one, but don’t think it will be a plus when you decide to sell.
When buyers see landscaping that is quite elaborate, they often remark that they don’t want to spend their weekends maintaining it. Big gardens are beautiful and often admired by many, but it doesn’t always add appeal to a home for those that don’t want have nor desire the skills in maintaining such a large space. For most sellers, a well mowed yard, trimmed bushes and leaves and debris picked up is good enough.
Buyers do like certain upgrades: stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, etc., but they are not necessarily impressed with decorations that are over-the-top, such as spa bathrooms that would rival any luxury hotel, baths with built-in jacuzzi for example, or hand decorated wallpaper, elaborate light fixtures or imported tile. Most buyers will not pay extra for features that they don’t want as they want to personalize their own home with their décor and tastes.
Sellers often think it’s easier and better to cover damaged hardwood flooring with wall-to-wall carpeting. Not so fast. Buyers much prefer hardwood as opposed to carpeting, so it’s always better to restore if possible. This improvement will pay you back, but carpeting? Not so much. Don’t spend money on buying expensive carpeting either if you need to replace it. Go mid-range or even try having a professional come and clean to save money.
Improvements Buyers Can’t See
Unless buyers can see it, chances are, they won’t be interested. You can advertise nonstop that you have new plumbing or furnace, but buyers are paying more attention to your kitchen and the size of your closets. Yes, it’s nice to have these improvements, but buyers don’t look at homes based on the fact that it has a new water heater. They are looking at your bedrooms, the neighbourhood and curb appeal.
If you have a patio that includes all the bells and whistles, yet takes up valuable yard space, the average buyer won’t be impressed. Don’t go too big when building your patio thinking that the next homeowner will love it as much as you do. Again, buyers see maintenance costs, and lack of a back yard for children and pets to run and play. A nice, well cared for deck need not be elaborate to impress buyers.
Changing The Character Of Your Home In Similar Neighbourhood
Don’t make your house stick out like a sore thumb by making your house modern in a traditional neighbourhood. If you live in an area where homes are one story, don’t build a two-story. If most homes have 3 bedrooms on your block, then don’t overbuild and have a 6-bedroom house. Buyers don’t like to move into anything that looks too different from the rest of the neighbourhood.