When purchasing a home, most people think that they will be there for the rest of their lives, but the reality is that you will probably move after about 6 or 7 years. So before doing major renovations or spending a lot of money on upgrades, consider your long-range plans. If you will, indeed, be moving after a few years, you may want to hold off turning this temporary home into your dream home.
Here are four reasons to proceed with caution, particularly if you want to maximize your chances of a profitable resale later on.
1. High Maintenance. A prospective buyer may view an upgrade that requires too much upkeep as a liability rather than an asset. A pool, for instance, requires cleaning, heating and maintenance and can cost a small fortune to install. In more exclusive neighborhoods, a pool is almost a must. But throughout most of Orange County, a pool can sometimes be viewed as a negative, especially if it takes up too much backyard or is in need of repair.
2. Overdressed. Don’t get carried away when installing upgrades or making renovations. Look at the scale of your neighborhood and improve accordingly. For instance, in a neighborhood of entry level homes, you may not want to install granite countertops, travertine floors, etc. or do a major expansion to the home. You may not get the money back when it comes to sell.
3. Too Personal. I have seen many homes improved and renovated to the specific tastes of the current owner that have ultimately been a turn-off to many potential buyers. I have seen odd or awkward floorplans, “unique” paint colors in each room and/or wall textures and treatments, built-ins that might be hard to remove or change, obtrusive water features or plantings, etc. All of these may work for the lifestyle of the current owner, but most likely will not for the average homebuyer and may even COST the seller money in the long run in lost sales and removal of such “non-traditional” features. Even if the owner spend thousands in wonderful, tasteful upgrades, they are still going to appealing to a specific buyer, i.e. one who is willing to PAY for those upgrades, thereby decreasing demand and decreasing return on the upgrade.
4. Unpopular. Wood paneling in a den or dark green carpet or flowery wallpaper or garage conversions or sunrooms are all features that may have been popular AT ONE TIME, but may NOT be now. And who knows; maybe granite won’t be one day. So think twice before adding the most popular or “in” upgrade to your home. And by the same token, think twice about keeping up with the Joneses. If everyone is doing it, then it gets overdone.
So live in your home for a while before leaping in to make costly upgrades. What might seem like a must have now, may change in priority a few months from now.