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Deciding Whether or Not to Remodel Your Home

If you are considering making any changes to your home, be it remodeling or redecorating, it can be a very big decision involving a number of factors. After all, for most of us, homes are not only where we live, but also our single biggest investment.

As a living space, a home’s design and condition influences our lives day in and day out. As an investment, we seek to preserve and enhance value in the marketplace.

As you do this considering, there are certain things which should definitely factor into your thinking and decision. The first remodeling factor to consider is that of distance.

Distance, or curb appeal, has to do with how well the property looks from the street before a person gets out of a car and takes a closer look. If someone doesn’t have any interest at first glance, you’ll never get them inside.

Things that give your home better curb appeal generally have a high rate of return. Landscaping, the front entrance, and the condition of the paint or siding are the biggest factors in curb appeal.

When it comes to landscaping, nothing elaborate is necessary. Well-trimmed foundation plantings, potted plants at the corners of the front porch, a groomed lawn and mulched flower beds all contribute to the house’s appeal.

The front entrance can be a big draw and seems to play a large role in curb appeal. The door should be in good shape with a fresh coat of paint.

The paint should be in good shape. Sometimes a thorough washing can freshen the look of paint or siding.

The second factor to consider is that of deficiency. Deficiency has to do with whether or not your house is flawed compared to nearby homes.

If you have one bath, for example, and everyone else in the neighborhood has three, adding a bath is likely to have a relatively high return. Obvious deficiencies substantially reduce the value of the home.

People tend to lower the offering price by an amount greater than the actual cost of the remodel or addition. Taking care of such problems not only makes sense in terms of resale value, but also will make your stay in the home more pleasant.

Next, consider the idea of distinctiveness. Distinctiveness is the one thing most people talk about.

In fact, it’s what you and your realtor talk about when you describe the house to others. When people buy a house, they tend to buy on emotion and then back up the decision with rational considerations.

A key to selling a house at a good price is to get the buyer emotionally interested in the home. Homes generally sell better if they have two or three special or distinctive features.

A walk-in closet, a whirlpool bath, a fireplace, attractive landscaping, or a grand foyer can separate your home from the crowd and stir interest for buyers. These special features become very important in a competitive real estate market where a lot of similar homes are on the market.

Last, think about demand. While the special features that make up distinctiveness are important, they are of no help and can even lower the value if these features are not widely in demand.

You may think a whirlpool in the living room will give your home a terrifically distinctive character, but if those looking to buy your house don’t see that as valuable, you may actually reduce the value of your home by adding the feature. Anything zany or out of character with the neighborhood should be avoided.

For example, an ornate fireplace with a sculpted marble mantel may add plenty of value in an upscale neighborhood of $500,000 homes. But the same fireplace may be seen as difficult to clean and not energy efficient in a working class neighborhood.

Limit improvements to those for which there is documented demand. Look at new model homes to verify that features you’re considering adding are present in those homes.

If the builders, with all their market research and surveys, aren’t including the feature, you can bet that the market for it is limited. As you can see, even beyond finances, before you make any changes to your home, make sure that you consider these important factors to make an informed decision.

Jack R. Landry has worked since 1986 as an interior decorator specializing in ceiling decor. He has written hundreds of articles about decorating home and office spaces including finding the right kind of tin ceilings.

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Jack R. Landry