This post is inspired by a true story.  A friend of mine moved into a newly built home a few years back and immediately began talking about knocking down walls and making radical changes.  He didn’t get around to most of them, but did get the biggest bang for his buck by painting several key areas in the home.

He and his wife have now decided that they want to sell within the next five years max.  And yet he is still talking about moving walls and building decks and all sorts of other things.

Recently he ran some of these wish list items by me and here’s a few things I told him to consider before making changes to his home:

  1. DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT make any taste specific changes – structural or otherwise.  Why?  Because the change you make may only work for your current situation.  It may not make sense to potential buyers who may why “this is there” and “that is here”.  And it may not even work for you long term.  Either way it’ll affect your bottom line.
  2. Ask yourself  if any change you’re planning to make will have an impact on your quality of life.  If the answer is yes for the positive, then it may not be about the money (or recouping the investment at sale).  This is a personal decision and should be understood and entered into as such.
  3. Have a financial threshold in mind.  This is two fold – have a threshold for how much you are willing to spend AND for how much you want/expect to recoup.
  4. Pay attention to the homes around you.  When it comes to renovations, do not overdo (or underdo) it for your area.  Also do not make changes that undermine the integrity of the area (e.g. erect a steel building beside your home to for business purposes when you live in a purely residential and/or planned community).  Not only will you hurt your bottom line, but your neighbors’ as well.  Plus your HOA will likely let you know that they DO NOT appreciate it.
  5. Consult a realtor.  This is probably the most important piece of advice as it can remove any guesswork from a project you may be considering. A good realtor will know or research your area well and advise you on what changes you may need to make.  S/he will also be candid with you about what changes may hurt you or will just be a financial “wash” when it’s time to sell.

I hope this helps you to make informed decisions on changes you want or plan to make to you home.  If you found these tips helpful, share them & pin them for future reference.

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