Calculating Home Improvement Projects

As homebuyers stroll through model homes they realize that are many varieties and finding the home that meets your dreams becomes paramount. Some people like to dream, and some homebuyers like to be practical and focus on what they can afford to pay each month for a home. And then there are the "bargain hunters" who only care about getting a "deal." We can't forget the "looky-loos;" some people are simply bored and some of these people are savvy because they are there to absorb ideas about decorating and take away mental pictures for home improvements.

This latter category of visitor usually wastes little time talking to a salesperson, opting instead to make mental notes of their likes and dislikes about the model homes in a devil's advocate kind of approach. Their mission illustrates a good way for homeowners to formulate perspective on where they may be heading while they are preparing to add value and improve their current homes, even if the goal is to ready their homes to sell within the next few years.

Some ideas are inexpensive and cosmetic; others take a lot of planning. But which ones actually pay off, reaping at least as much, if not more than the investment in the improvement itself?

We'd like to think that a potential future buyer for our own home could appreciate that the money and time spent on a total remodel to our kitchen is as valuable to them as it is to us. But we must face the reality that potential buyers have no idea of what our kitchen looked like before we got our hands on it and in many cases, don't really care.

This is, of course, unless we're talking about the renovation of something truly remarkable, like an historical, period home.

The simple fact remains that homebuyers tend to look at what is in front of them and whether it's in line with the market and area they are considering.

Here, then are some points to ponder for determining which projects add value when preparing to launch on a home improvement campaign.

Eliminating "functional obsolescence. Edith Lank, in her book, "The Home Seller's Kit," (Dearborn Press) describes functional obsolescence as the practice of as improving a house beyond its practical use for the occupants. An example of a functionally obsolete home would be one with an added wing of bedrooms, but only the original number of bathrooms retained, or a home where someone has knocked out a wall to make a huge kitchen within a two bedroom, otherwise modestly sized home.

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