Cora's Properties

By Cora L Carleson

It appears that summer is here in all it’s glory!  I am sure you have been outside working on your home, cleaning the driveway, checking to see if the paint is peeling and surveying that roof for any missing shingles.  So let’s talk about general maintenance vs. home improvements. 

General maintenance are these things:

Cleaning the gutters

painting, inside and/or out

replacing a furnace

replacing a roof

replacing damaged siding

replacing a deck

replacing a tile shower

replacing flooring

replacing windows

removing popcorn ceilings

caulking

Improvements:

Adding on a master suite

Increasing the square footage

Adding a garage

Building a large deck

Paving a driveway

Updating the exterior

Replacing a kitchen

Replacing countertops

Finishing a basement or bonus room

Here is an easy way to look at it, anything that has worn out, and you replace, will not necessarily increase the value of your home because when your home is on the market for sale and/or is appraised, it is assumed that all these  components are working, still have useful life

or in serviceable order.  Now, can you get more for your house if it has a new roof?  Well, possibly.  Don’t you hate answers like that!  Here’s why:

if your neighborhood was built in the late 1990’s, and all the homes in there were built around the same time, the roofs are now needing to be replaced.  Your lovely home is the only house in the neighborhood that has had its roof replaced.  To replace the roof cost $10,000.  All the homes in the neighborhood are similar size, the prices are all around $380,000.  Could you sell yours for $390,000 because it has a new roof?  Maybe, depends on competition in the market. (how’s that for a vague answer!)  You may not get the entire $10,000 but you should be able to get some back.  If nothing else, your home will most likely sell faster because that expense isn’t looming over a new buyer. 

Let’s look at values that will definitely increase value: 

If you are increasing finished square footage, the value will increase.  Finding square footage that you can finished is always the most cost effective.  Like a bonus room over a garage or finishing a basement.  This space is already there, it’s just not finished.  Best value right there.  But what if you are adding garage or shop square footage, the value will increase, however, not as much as it costs to build.  Garage/shop space is considered non living space and it is appraised at a different price per square foot, significantly less that a contractor will charge to build it.  It’s an argument that we have had with appraised value for years, but there doesn’t seem to be anything done about it.  You can have a wonderful shop that cost $120,000 to build and only get $80,000 value for it when you sell. 

Here is my simple recommendations:

If you are planning on living in your home for at least 3 more years, and making changes will definitely help your living situation, then do it.  If you are only wanting to improve your home to sell it, proceed with caution as you may not get your money back that you put into it.  Call me if you have questions on this.  I can help you and I can also take a look at your home and see what you could or should do before selling your home.