Myth 1: Focus on Improving Interior Spaces
If you've ever heard the term "curb appeal" you know that the exterior of a home makes the first impression. Focusing too much on interior projects might leave little time, effort and attention to the yard, which could backfire. On real estate listings, a photo of the exterior of the home is usually first, which could mean if the exterior is bad, it'll get passed right over. On top of that, lack of attention to the front yard could lead buyers to believe you're trying to impress them with smoke and mirrors on the inside...
Myth 2: All Remodeling Projects Add Value
You can never assume that your project will add value to your home, especially if your project doesn't fit within your neighborhood or doesn't appeal to a wide variety of buyers. Maybe you've decided to turn garage space into living space - most buyers love the benefits of having a warm garage with some extra storage, so you might have over-improved yourself out of a possible buyer. If you're thinking of doing a "unique addition" such as a steam room, pool, wine cellar, etc. it might be best to check with a real estate professional to see if buyers are looking for those features. If not, there is money better spent elsewhere.
Myth 3: High End Finished and Materials Appeal to the Majority of Buyers
What myth #2 didn't cover is what this myth does - higher-end finishes doesn't mean that it will prove valuable to all buyers. Make sure your improved finishes are in line with the rest of the neighborhood. On top of that, understand that some buyers will be much more cost conscious, and less prone to see the value in higher-end finishes. They could look over your home and choose a more reasonable home, with a more realistic price tag.
Myth 4: Doing it Yourself Gets the Biggest Return
I feel this is the biggest myth of all, and I have seen some of the worst examples of this myth backfire on sellers. Do you know how to expertly finish a basement? Do you know how to expertly finish drywall? Do you know when your mechanical upgrades and electrical upgrades need to be permitted? I have walked into more "do it yourself" basement finishes, and I have to tell you, they were rough. If you can't expertly do the job, DON'T. Rather than adding value, buyers see dollar signs of what they'll have to spend to make it look right, bring it up to code, or finish correctly. There are plenty of things you can do yourself, but don't trick yourself into believing you can do it all.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, match the style, era, and upgrades seen in the rest of your neighborhood. Don't overdo it, because you'll either price out certain buyers, leave them scratching their heads, or be the most expensive home in the neighborhood - sticking out like a sore thumb. My biggest suggestion is to have your realtor show you a few homes around the neighborhood before you begin your remodel project. Who knows, you might even get some good ideas when you see what they've done. On top of that, you might see some issues to avoid or how you could do the projects better. Good luck!
Jared Reimer is a real estate broker with Prudential Rocky Mountain Realtors in Northern Colorado. Real estate is his passion and he always wants to connect with like-minded and savvy real estate fans. For more information or to get in touch with Jared, please visit his website at www.ReimerRE.com or email him at JaredReimer@ReimerRE.com