Overgrading, Oh No!6/23/2015
We’ve all thumbed through architectural digest, seen an HDTV episode or been on vacation and thought “Oh man, I really need THAT in my house!” Those remote control blinds are just too darn cool, but unless you have a high rise condo, or a custom home, they can also burn a hole in your pocket. Upgrading your home is not only fun and adds value, but it certainly can be expensive, depending on your scope of work. Just don’t overgrade it!
Clients regularly call me when they need a tradesmen or advice about their home and the upgrades they’re doing. I just got a message just yesterday from my friend Andrew asking whether he felt it was necessary to keep his master bathroom tub, or if it’s okay to remove it, and expand the shower to make it the focal point. I always appreciate when people confide in me to help provide guidance about home updates. Personally, with a moderately priced Las Vegas home, I don’t think it’s critical to have a bathtub in the master, but it is important to have at least one in the home, whether it’s for kids, your pets, or your sore legs after a good Hike on Mount Charleston or Red Rock Canyon.
I’m always recommending to my clients that if they want to do home upgrades, that they should do their homework first on their neighborhood and see what other people have done. It’s as simple as calling their real estate agent and sending over recent listings or sales in your neighborhood to see where other homes have been selling at. You don’t want to be the nicest home in an average neighborhood because other homes will have a tendency to drag your value down.
Focus on high value items like kitchen and bathroom updates, flooring and fresh paint and lighting. Generally custom upgrades are meant to make you happy versus getting them back dollar for dollar when you sell. Pools are a great example in Las Vegas of losing value over time. Generally depending on the pool, appraisers will value them somewhere between $15,000 and $30,000. Yet to have a pool built from the ground up costs usually between $25,000 for the basic pool and it goes up from there quickly. Unless your dream is to build your dream home from scratch, try and find a home with a pool rather than build one yourself. My caveat here being, custom high-end homes may be able to recoup the cost more easily than track homes in Summerlin or Southern Highlands.
When looking to upgrade the kitchen or bathroom or flooring, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Don’t take one or even two quotes. Make multiple appointments and get lots of feedback. Ask for referrals and see how past customers have fared with their work. You’re planning on spending thousands of dollars, so it’s worth the extra effort. You can even save dollars by purchasing raw materials yourself and quoting the labor. I get great enjoyment from picking out my own slab of granite at the stone yard and paying basically wholesale prices.
If you’re looking to upgrade the yard, that’s always a great decision. Curb appeal and greenery add enormous value to a home from a marketability perspective. You likely won’t get every dollar back, but proper landscaping makes a home much more inviting. Visit the tree nursery in the wintertime when business is slow, and prices come down significantly. You can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars!
Remember, upgrades are great but don’t overgrade. Homeownership is expensive already and when you’re ready for your next adventure, you don’t want to regret the decisions you made to update.