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The Business of Real Estate

Home Improvement — Get Your Money’s Worth?

Remodeling and home improvement are perennial discussion topics in this business, and rightly so.  Several cable TV  programs have made them even more common in recent years, but not all “improvements” are created equal.  I have lost  count of how many times I found otherwise perfectly acceptable homes marred by faux finishes or sponge painting in every room,  or horrible overuse of accent wall colors, or do-it-yourself garage conversions.  Most of these mistakes can be fixed.  Others are  more difficult — and more expensive — to deal with.

This article from Yahoo! Finance brought this to my attention again this morning:

10 Risky Home Improvements

The article begins with a story about a closing that failed because the buyer decided at the last minute that they really didn’t like the  bonus room the seller had added to the house.  Ignoring the fact that that decision could and should have been made before the  contract was ratified in the first place, it is reality that what one homeowner considers beauty may be completely unacceptable to  some buyers.

If you plan to be in your home for several years, and you want to make a change to meet your needs, then the project may well be worthwhile.  Be aware of the information here, hire professionals to do the work unless you are certain you know what you’re doing,  and carry on.

On the other hand, if you’re dressing up your home with the intention of selling in the coming months, please go easy.  I hire a professional stager for most listings, and it is money well spent.  In most cases, just decluttering and depersonalizing will be  enormous improvements.  If paint and flooring are required, then get some local, professional advice — and “go neutral” is NOT always the right approach.

In addition to some very valuable info in the article linked above, spend some time with the Field Guide to Remodeling from the  National Association of Realtors® and the most recent Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling magazine.  Here’s a snapshot from  Realtor®Magazine:

Average Nationwide Return on
Source: 2009 Cost vs. Value Report,
REALTOR® Magazine, Jan. 2010)

Again, if you’re remodeling for YOU, then you’re making a different decision than if you are preparing your home for sale.  In either case, though,
why not take into account the likely value of your investment in the future, and balance your needs and wants  accordingly?

About Bill Morris, Realtor

Many years of business experience (high tech, client service, business organization and start-up, including almost 20 years in real estate) tell me that service is the key to success and I look forward to serving you. I represent both buyers and sellers throughout the Austin metropolitan area, which means first-hand market knowledge is brought to bear on serving your needs. Learn more about my background and experience, my commitment to my clients, my profession, and to the real estate industry at


2 thoughts on “Home Improvement — Get Your Money’s Worth?

  1. Not sure how I stumbled across your website, but I wish more people would pay attention to what you’re saying. Sometimes it’s best to just do a bit of painting, maybe some carpet/flooring and other minor upgrades and bring in a home staging expert. Viola’ a nice prsentable home.

    PS I’m moving to Austin some time in the next 6-10 weeks. Use to live there, but that was 20 year ago.

    Posted by Tom | August 31, 2010, 2:37 AM

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