Which improvements pay back at resale?

Improvements that are good for you that are done right and made to last are going to maintain some value for a future buyer. Some pay back at a high rate at resale. Some only pay back in your enjoyment of the place (and may help you sell faster.)

deckAccording to Remodeling Magazine, improved/renovated houses and condos are selling well and selling high this year. My experience house hunting this season bears this out. In the tight market of 2013 and 2014, fully renovated houses are in high demand, unless they are poorly located, very small, or renovated in a way that doesn’t live well for many people. Which improvements paid back the best this year? Steel doors and wooden decks. Here’s the whole list.

What improvements can lower the value of your property?

There’s the rub! Owners who cut corners when doing work “get used to” weirdnesses. But house hunters just see weird rooms. Those odd-ball improvements actually cost the owner in resale. The other value-killer is when you make an improvement that you enjoy, but it makes the house or condo less usable for the typical buyer.

  • trendy tileBathrooms built in small spaces.
  • Additions built behind other rooms with no easy access. When a house has a bedroom that is only accessed through the bathroom or another bedroom, it is weird.
  • Additions with sudden step-downs or step-ups at the entry. Additions with low ceilings. Attics finished with low stairways.
  • Stylish or trendy tile work. When it goes out of fashion, it becomes a negative.
  • Reducing the number of bedrooms. Converting two small bedrooms into one bedroom is a negative, in most cases. You are likely to lose value, unless you are going from five or six bedrooms into four.
  • Yard features that use most of the space, especially in-ground pools and patios.

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