It doesn't matter if you've lived in your home for 15 years or 15 minutes-there's something about it you want to change. Maybe you want new appliances in the kitchen, or perhaps you dream of a 1,000-square-foot addition. Whatever your particular remodeling fantasy, consider not only how an improvement adds value to your home, but how it adds to your family's enjoyment of the house.
Do you plan to sell your home soon? If not, don't fall into the trap of considering only remodeling projects that you think some future buyer would want. You're the one who has to live there.
I'm not saying you should completely ignore how a project will affect your home's overall appeal. But if you want to convert the garage into a bedroom, don't add a deck instead because you think that's where you'll see a better return on your investment with buyers.
Get your money back
If you anticipate putting your home on the market in the next few years and want to make a splash with improvements, Remodeling magazine's "Cost vs. Value Report" offers a lot of helpful advice. Keep in mind that the majority of remodeling projects cost more than the amount your home's value will increase. However, some types of projects come closer to paying for themselves than others. This report provides an estimated percentage return at resale on 29 different types of remodeling projects.
The big winners?
It's not much of a surprise that money invested in bathrooms and kitchens generated the best return in Texas. According to the report, a bathroom remodel recouped 90.9 percent of dollars invested and a kitchen remodel recouped 88.3 percent. New windows, new siding and the addition of a deck were close behind-and topped the nationwide list-but buyers in this part of the country want shiny new bathrooms and kitchens.
Space is in the eye of the beholder
I've never heard of someone remodeling his house in order to decrease its square footage. However, when contemplating a project, consider how it will affect the perceived amount of space. Taking part of a large bedroom to create a home office may work for you, but will it make both rooms seem small?
Don't be odd
The value of improvements can vary from city to city and even neighborhood to neighborhood. One constant, however, is that odd projects won't ever increase your home's appeal in the minds of most buyers. If you plan to stay in the same house for years to come, go ahead and turn your living room into a replica of Reliant Stadium. Be aware, however, that if you do have to sell, potential buyers-even most Texans fans-will see that as a drawback.
Ask for help
The report from Remodeling magazine is a good place to start. But for specific advice about how a room addition or other improvement may affect the resale value of your home, ask a Realtor. If you're already planning a move, a Realtor can even help you choose projects that might help your home sell faster.
Whether you're interested in buying your first home, your next home, or just want to know more about home-ownership in general, I encourage you to check out a couple of great online resources: http://www.texasrealestate.com/ or http://www.har.com/ and for all of your Pearland TX and Northern Brazoria and Galveston County real estate needs, please visit my site at http://www.danfrankrealty.com. All of these sites offer tons of useful, real estate-related information geared specifically for Texans.
Danny Frank is a local Pearland TX Real Estate expert
This column was published in the 31Aug08 edition of the Galveston County Daily News