Not all home improvements are created equal. Even in a seller’s market, it’s important that you make the right investments that will yield higher returns. Here are the top 10 home improvement myths so you can stop believing in them.
1. Any remodeling project will add value to your home.
While many remodeling projects will add value to a home, some can be seen as a negative by future buyers. For instance, combining two smaller bedrooms to create one larger bedroom may better fit one homeowner’s lifestyle today, but it may cause the home to lose value in the eyes of a future buyer who needs the two separate rooms.
2. Buying the highest-quality materials attracts more buyers.
Installing high-end materials may seem like a wise decision, but it can backfire. For instance, using the most expensive tile in a bathroom may create an impressive appearance, but value-conscious buyers may opt for a more affordable home if the seller has over-improved compared to others in the neighborhood.
3. Adding square footage always adds value.
A better way to think about this statement is to insert the word useable into the sentence. Finished attics and basements – even if considered liveable by local standards – may not be attractive to a buyer if they are not finished to the same standards as the rest of the home.
4. Colors and textures – safe and simple is better.
Keeping a home “vanilla” so buyers can choose their own style and décor might be a safe bet, but it ignores the fact that most buyers just don’t have the ability to visualize the home differently. Without splashes of color and mixtures of texture, sellers can lose value to others that have taken the time to consult with an interior designer.
5. Inside improvements are better than outside improvements.
Not necessarily. If a home’s exterior has been neglected or doesn’t offer a good curb appeal, a buyer might stop there – and then the seller’s efforts on on the inside may not net them any more dollars. To get the biggest bang for their remodeling buck, sellers should start from the outside and work their way in.
6. Adding a bedroom is better than adding a bathroom.
It depends on the starting point. If a seller only has one or two bedrooms to start with, adding a bedroom before adding a second bath is probably a wise choice since most buyers are more attracted to three-bedroom homes. On the other hand, if the home already has three bedrooms and only one bath, the sellers’s next investment should probably be in a new bathroom.
7. Paint hides a multitude of sins.
Dry rot? Fungus damage? Mold problems? Carpenter ants? Termite issues? Nothing a can of paint can’t fix, right? Wrong! Not only does this practice violate disclosure laws in most states, it can set sellers up for liability after the sale, as most buyers will want the sellers to foot the bill for these hidden issues.
8. Converting a garage to living space is a great trade-off.
Nope. A garage conversion is almost always viewed negatively by future home buyers unless the sellers replace the lost garage with another parking and storage space of equal size.
9. Sellers can save money by doing improvements themselves.
For some homeowners, wiring a new lighting fixture or plumbing a new dishwasher is a no-brainer, but for others it may end up costing more later if they have to have the work redone by a professional. Another consideration is local and state laws regarding remodeling work: In many states if a buyer has purchased a home to remodel and resell, they must either hold a contractor’s license or hire a contractor to do the work for them.
10. Pools add value to your home.
This is only true in areas where pools are must-have amenities. In most areas of the country, pools have more limited appeal – and the idea of maintaining a pool for ten months out of the year when it can’t be enjoyed won’t appeal to most buyers.
Knowing these top home-improvement myths will allow you to help your seller clients choose the right remodeling projects. But don’t stop there. To keep your pulse on the amenities that are coveted most in your market, talk to local remodeling professionals, contractors, and home-improvement specialists on a regular basis.