We recently had our realtor come back out to our house and tour it. (We love her btw! She’s spunky and tells you how it is!) We made a few changes, as you might already know, and wanted to get a sense of where we stood as far as the new possible listing price. So, to recap… here’s what we have done to the house so far:
- Painted the front door
- Ground down rough spots and painted the basement floor
- Added more lighting in the attic
- Painted all the trim in the house
- Painted all the rooms
- Added an updated fan to the master bedroom
- Updated lighting in the office
- Added built in shelves to the office
- Re-landscaped half the front yard
- Updated all the windows from mini blinds to bamboo shades
- Swapped in our newer washer and dryer
- Updated all the interior doors and hardware
- Upgraded from 100amp to 200amp service
- Remodeled the kitchen and dining room
- Painted the fireplace mantle
- Installed new furnace and AC units with a wifi thermostat
It’s possible I missed something in that list. But as you can see, we’ve done some pretty minor things and some pretty major things to the house already! The furnace and AC snuck up on us… those brats. I’m happy to report, our realtor was stunned when she walked through the house! She couldn’t believe it was the same space! Of course I was smiling ear to ear like a doofus with all the compliments flying around, and trying to act humble while also being really proud of myself…
But now for the nitty gritty. It looks nice, but what kind of return would we see? Did we overspend on the kitchen? Or create a profit for ourselves? What haven’t we done that could be hurting us? Is there something we did that we shouldn’t have? We had so many questions. Well, she did her homework of course before coming by looking up any comps in our area. Come to find out, there really aren’t any. Most of the houses in our zip code are 1920’s Cape Cods, not 1960’s brick ranchers. This could either help us, or hurt us depending on the buyer. So she went by average pricing for our area instead.
The great news here: we will get ALL of our money back easily that we put into the kitchen! That’s a home value increase of $30,000 in one and a half years. So we spent just right there! If we had gone with that original kitchen estimate of $50,000 (EEEEKKKKK!!!!) we would never have gotten that back in the neighborhood we are located.
The bad news: Also because of the neighborhood we are in, houses don’t typically go for more than $300,000. So we are nearing the top of the average for our area and haven’t even touched our two bathrooms. This isn’t exactly a surprise to us however. We knew the area and home prices when we were shopping around ourselves. Thus why we didn’t go with the $50,000 kitchen.
While we had her to ourselves, we also discussed what additional updates to focus on to increase the value a little more. Obviously, we plan on finishing the front yard landscaping which does make an impact because of curb appeal. We also plan to update the bathrooms, but will not be doing anything major. All the utilities will stay where they are, while we make cosmetic changes to fit with the rest of the house now. Then we walked down into the basement… and this is where our realtor REALLY helped us out.
We’ve been kicking around ideas on finishing part of the basement for awhile now, but always get stuck thinking about what kind of rooms, how many rooms, and in what layout we should do. It’s such a blank slate down there, it would basically be a whole new creation of another house below our existing house with almost limitless possibilities. Yeah… that’s daunting! She was able to tell us what most people look for in finished basements, and how she has seen it done well in many other homes. This was an amazing perspective to hear that has helped us hone in on what we want to do down there. Also, with the addition of another bedroom and half bath, and adding some finished, livable square footage to our home’s stats – that would help us increase the home’s value a little more. Maybe even over $300,000 if we’re lucky…
But in reality, we aren’t going to hope for much more of an increase in the home’s value right away. We didn’t have the realtor out because we are looking to sell any time soon. So what the heck was all this for you ask?! Having our realtor come back out and give us all the information she did, is going to help us plan for our future projects better. The more information, the better! We know we are doing a balancing act of figuring out what is important to us, and what we can do in a budget friendly way. There is always a way to make something feel a bit more like you, without giving away your first born. This isn’t our forever home, but we plan on being here for between five to ten years. That’s a long time! Who knows what the housing market will do in that span of time. If you have a crystal ball, maybe you could let us in on what you know? Since we plan on making this our home for the foreseeable future, we plan to make this home ours. We plan to update things in the way we want to live in our home – to create spaces that function for us and make us happy. And we realize, some of these updates we will never get a return on. But I won’t let resale keep me from enjoying my home in the here and now. We will just be smarter about how we do it.
Last modified: January 23, 2018