There’s an old expression: One man’s meat is another man’s poison. To put it another way, your dream home may be someone else’s nightmare. Worse, your choices could make it difficult to sell your home. It’s hard to think of selling a home you haven’t even purchased, but here are some things to consider before you buy. If you own a home and are thinking of remodeling, some will apply to you too; all are designed so you don’t make it harder to sell your home.
School House Rocks? If you have children, you may like the idea of living close to their school. You could walk them to school, and when they are old enough, they might be able to walk by themselves. Schools also bring bells, traffic, noise, and kids. Lots and lots of kids. When you have school age children, you’ll probably take it for granted that there will be buses and playground noise, but that may be a turn-off for some buyers.
Too Busy. You want to wake up in a city that never sleeps. You enjoy walking to the grocery, the coffee shop and the hip new diner. If you need a car, you’ll rent one. However, there’s a difference between living in a cool urban area and a gridlocked crush. Check out the neighborhoods you like at different times of day so you can see the traffic patterns and gauge the noise.
Over-Improved. You love your house and you don’t want to move, so you decide to renovate. Look at your neighborhood before you embark on that epic spa bathroom and the professional kitchen. Make sure you don’t do so much to your home that it no longer fits in. Remember, you don’t want the most expensive house on the block when it’s time to sell.
Cool At The Pool. When you live in Phoenix or Fort Lauderdale, a pool is a no-brainer. In some neighborhoods, you’ll be at a disadvantage if you don’t have one. In a cooler climate, it can be a drawback, and the number of days you can use it will be limited by the weather. Pools are expensive, too. They require cleaning, maintenance and security measures. If you must have a pool, enjoy it, but remember that you are unlikely to break even on your investment when it’s time to sell.
Idiosyncratic décor. Yes, Ultra Violet was the 2018 color of the year. Yes, it’s a very striking color. But a little goes a long way. Similarly, one interior wall of varnished pine may be charmingly rustic. An entire house (true example and it wasn’t a log cabin) will send most buyers running, or at the very least result in a lower offer as they look forward to hours of sanding and gallons of paint to cover that shine. Are you a collector? Your delightful display of vintage salt and pepper shakers may require walls of shelves that will obscure the room. Enjoy your collection, but be ready to pack it away and remove the shelves before you put your home on the market.
One bathroom. One bathroom was the norm for many years. It was a great improvement on a cold tap in the kitchen and an outdoor privy! Now, people look for 2 or more baths. If you find a home you love with only one bath, consider renovating immediately with a purchase + renovation loan. When it’s time for you to sell, you’ll be ahead of the game. As a bonus, if other homes in your neighborhood haven’t added a second bath, your home should be more desirable. Just remember not to overdo it.
Dated. I haven’t seen a big demand for 1970s kitchens yet, and even people who love Victorian architecture tend to want kitchens and baths with the latest in fixtures and appliances (although they might look vintage). If you’re thinking of selling, look online at houses in your area and go to some open houses if you can. See how your home measures up, and consult your Realtor® about changes to improve your chance of a quick sale at a fair price.
Senior Vice President, Renovation