Improve or move?


By Kathy Henne

Contributing columnist

People often move for job or educational opportunities, to follow family, or any number of other motivations. But what if you’re simply too “cramped” in your present home? You face a dilemma: move, or just improve?

First consider how long you might stay where you are. It doesn’t make much sense to pour money into improvements if you’re planning to sell any time soon. Potential buyers may not agree with your choice of improvements, and with all the turmoil and inconvenience involved in most remodeling projects, your biggest benefit comes from remaining and enjoying the fruits of your labor! The cost involved in adding on a room or several rooms is very difficult to recapture.

Investigate how your planned improvements will impact the value of your home against others in your neighborhood. Your home could actually take longer to sell in the future if it’s in the “upper end” of the price range for your neighborhood. Or you could actually over improve and price your home out of the market range for your neighborhood. If homes in your neighborhood are selling in the 120’s and you add $40,000 of improvements to your home with new kitchen cabinets, Corian countertops, stainless steel appliances, new carpet, ceramic tile, new bathroom fixtures and a patio enclosure, you’ll be hard pressed to find a buyer willing to pay $165,000 or more for your home. You don’t want to over improve unless you’re planning on staying in your home for a long, long time. Buyers historically purchase the least expensive home in the most expensive neighborhood they can afford.

Of course, there are many improvements that will add to your home’s resale value, without pricing you out of the market. A fresh coat of paint is usually low cost and hides all those fingerprints and gives your home a clean feel. If a move is in your future and your kitchen flooring is in bad condition, you might consider putting down a new vinyl instead of ceramic tile. If your carpet is in poor condition and need replacement, choose a durable mid-grade carpet instead of the top of the line carpet. The vinyl and carpet should always be a neutral color.

Regardless of market conditions, your home is where you should be happy. “Improve or move” is an emotional as well as financial decision that requires deep and honest evaluation. It’s always a great idea to talk to your Realtor before making improvements. They will be able to give you guidance about your local market.

Contact the Kathy Henne Team RE/MAX by calling 937-778-3961.

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