Sometimes, the answer isn’t obvious. As a Real Estate Broker with more than a decade of Construction Project Management experience, I’ve seen the full range of creative successes and some unthinkable mistakes. So along with the Comparative Market Analysis I’ll prepare for your property, I’ll present my one-on-one perspective, with the idea that at some point, you’ll expect to make the most of your investment. And as always, use licensed professionals, and obtain building permits when required.
Some Houses Are All They Can Ever Be….
❉ BUYERS in Charlotte are savvy – they shop for and expect architectural integrity. Those shopping for a specific style such as English Cottage, Mid-Century Modern, Bungalow and Four Square, to name a few, expect the full package with little or no architectural deviation. An add-on can be unsightly and devalue the property without regard for the tens of thousands invested in construction. A house should be the best of its original floor plan, so choose your upgrades carefully!
❉ NEVER remove or modify built-ins or pull out boxed beams and wainscot. When upgrading kitchens and baths, keep to period lighting and plumbing fixtures, when possible.
❉ DO consider upgrades with modern touches that universally appeal, such as stainless steel appliances, granite or stone countertops. Use quality wood cabinetry, replace carpet with restored wood floors, finish an attic or basement, add a well-placed wood deck, or quality landscaping. Using ‘green’ materials can add value if carefully selected, and we can now represent ‘green’ upgrades in your listing.
❉ ALWAYS make system upgrades a first priority. Replace an aging or failing roof with a full tear-off roof, re-side using quality materials, re-wire outdated electrical systems and when needed, upgrade the electrical panel. Consider replacing/repairing aging plumbing and HVAC. If you can afford it, I recommend copper for plumbing (Type L, or better), replacing water heaters with higher efficiency and capacity if needed, or installing on-demand hot water systems. And cure any ‘issues’, such as water leaks, wet basements, mold, dry rot, drafty windows and doors, and foundation issues. Be sure all maintenance tasks are completed prior to listing your home. It’s simply expected as part of the sale.
❉ NEVER convert a garage space into an additional bedroom or family room. Most buyers expect the garage to serve it’s original purpose of protecting a vehicle and providing storage. The expense to restore a space back into a garage will reduce the value of your home as compared to comparable homes of similar style.
Do Buyers Really Notice These Things?…
You bet they do! And so do their Realtors®. We see any number of do-it-yourself renovations that jump out to the trained eye ~ and not always in a good way! It is often very difficult to explain this to the enthusiastic Seller, but some things are better left alone.
Tax Implications of Moving Up…
Take a moment to review your current mortgage and the deductible interest amortization schedule. Typically, the interest you pay is higher than the principal during the first five years of a conventional loan. Over time, that begins to reverse. When you reach this point, the mortgage interest deduction you receive at tax time drops off drastically. I strongly recommend that you have this conversation with your tax accountant. And it should be a major consideration in your decision whether to purchase a larger home. The benefits of ‘moving up’ can be greater than any return you may or may not enjoy by adding on to your existing home and staying put.