I’ve written multiple times on the home improvements that add the most value and the areas you want to focus on to attract buyers. I found a great article on what could possibly turn buyers off, those improvements or features that might cause your home to sit on the market for a lot longer than you expected. So if you do need to make one of these changes, consider your market and possibly try to convert it back prior to listing. I’m focusing on a few that may affect more Chicagoland buyers.
1. Inserting a motorized stair lift. Of course, this may be a necessary feature for someone who can no longer climb the stairs. But for buyers that do have disabilities and are looking for a home, most buyers are looking for a ranch-style home, and they often search for homes that have a first floor master bedroom and full bath. You may also be competing with communities that specialize in low-maintenance living and those for ages 55 and over.
2. Converting a bedroom to a home office. I’m not saying not to do it. Trust me, I have one myself. I’m saying that if you do, you could hurt your resale by not converting it back for showings. If you have a 3-bedroom home and only 2 of your bedrooms look like bedrooms, many buyers may be turned off. It’s best to put your desk and computer away and put a bed back in. Now some people really upgrade a home office with flat-screen televisions, custom lighting, etc. This would hurt your resale value a lot more, especially if it’s taking up a bedroom space. If this is a location in an area of the basement that isn’t taking up a space meant for something else, you should be fine.
3. Converting a room to a hobby room. This is a similar scenario to having an office in a bedroom. I’ve come across lots of bedrooms that are now knitting rooms or scrapbooking rooms or pottery rooms. Again, move that space somewhere like a basement, where it’s not taking up a bedroom. Your home could sit on the market several months longer because of this.
4. A home theater. This I’ve seen quite often. Oh, they’re nice features to have. I’ve even seen mini movie theaters complete with theater chairs, popcorn machines, etc. While it may not turn off a ton of buyers, it can put the home out of budget for many that weren’t expecting that feature to begin with. You may price your home higher to recoup the $8,000-$15,000 it cost to install, but it will be hard to make that money back on a sale.
So if you are considering a major home improvement or upgrade, it’s best to consult with a Realtor prior to spending any money, just to get an opinion on resale value and how much you can expect to recoup when it is time to sell. If you need to reach me, find me via my Web site.