Recently a Portland, Oregon homeowner had the following home
appraisal-related question. The question
is edited for clarity.
“We are moving into a new house and I am curious about
suggestions on how to fix the place up and find value. My husband tells me that I am trying to make
the house something that it is not. He
says that the styles and designs that I have selected ‘do not fit the house.’ I do not agree. Should I worry about overdoing it? We have a small renovation budget and our
projects will all be DIY stuff like upgrading fixtures, etc. Do you
have any advice?”
The following is my best answer without viewing the house
or studying market data specific to the property.
Whenever I am counseling anyone on a renovation, the top
concern is always not to do too much.
The key to maximizing
value for most homeowners is to bring the property just up to
the level of the majority of the homes around it. It is generally not considered a good idea to
improve the property to a higher level than most of the other homes in the area,
unless the neighborhood is going thru a major change like gentrification.
With that said, style and design also need to, as your
husband says, “fit the house.” However,
from a value standpoint, a design that fits the house is not necessarily one
that is of your or your husband’s taste, rather one that matches the desire of
the typical buyer. When in doubt, I
always default to my wife’s taste, for a happy wife is more important than home
Joking aside, the idea is that if you appeal to as many
buyers as possible, you are more likely to receive maximum value for your
house. Avoid selecting styles that make
bold statements, unless the design of the house itself makes a bold
statement. A good place to find styles
that appeal to buyers is to look at speculation (spec) homes being built in
your area. Spec home builders are always
looking for styles that maximize appeal and increase the profitability of new
construction. Here is a link to a past
that explains more about the relationship between cost and value of changes to
If you have a home that you are thinking of remodeling, I
am happy to consult with you. My answer
might be surprising and could save you thousands of dollars. Call or email me anytime.
Did I leave anything out or do you want to join in the
conversation? Let me know in the
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