What Not to Renovate in 2011

ready to sellThere are lots of great ideas available regarding good renovation suggestions. For example, watching DIY shows can inspire many ideas and plans.

However, sometimes it’s helpful to know right off the bat the ideas that are just bad. It’s good to keep in mind when doing any renovations how they may add to the value or ability to sell your home if the need arises. Otherwise, you may be forced later into further potentially expensive renovations just to sell your home.

In general, most buyers are looking to create their own home. If you are indeed looking to sell, you want to have as clean a slate as possible. That way your potential buyer can work on “seeing” themselves in the house. Not that you have to keep your home bland, but you may want to be careful regarding any drastic renovations.

The bottom line is, our homes are personal to most all of us and you don’t want your personality to override your buyers.

Here are a few ideas about what not to renovate in 2011.

  • Don’t do renovations that will date your home. Different home interior styles will trend depending on where you live. It’s also a matter of business. For example, awnings are still being advertised as a “great addition to any home,” here in the northeast. I see the ads every summer. People who have had a business usually want to stay in business, even if their product has become passé. Another example is “paste on murals.” I saw an ad for this product just yesterday on Facebook. Murals went out in the 1970’s.
  • I can’t say this enough – no wallpaper. Wallpaper is a matter of taste. If you want wallpaper in your home, great. But if you ever want to sell your house, get rid of it. For one, it’s too personal, and two, it is aggravating to get rid of.
  • Don’t do huge expansions. With the economic downturn, more people are buying smaller homes.
  • Don’t price yourself out of your market with expensive renovations. Home theaters or major electronic systems, such as security for example, may not work in your favor when selling.
  • Talk with local realtors and go to a few open houses. If you are working with a realtor, they will also be able to get you “comps” or the pricing of comparable homes in your neighborhood. I had grandiose ideas of renovations for my home when I was looking to sell my house a couple of years ago (this still holds true and even more so now). My realtor helped me to see that I would have ended up with a house too pricey to sell in my neighborhood. You are better off fixing whatever needs to be fixed and doing smaller touches such as replacing hardware on cabinets.
  • Closed kitchens are out. There is a greater trend towards kitchens that a family can hang out and feel comfortable in.  You may need to make some adjustments to the kitchen if you are looking to sell. You might put in a breakfast nook or put in a butcher block as an island to allow the new cook to socialize more easily.
  • In that same vein, no continuous counters in the kitchen. A continuous counter generally runs in an “L” shape, with the person preparing food facing a bank of cabinets. To allow the cook to be involved with the other people in the room or perhaps have a window to look out of, you may want to create a variety of work stations. Think of how restaurant kitchens have work tables strategically placed to promote better communication and oversight between the cooks.
  • When painting in preparation to sell, don’t select bold, bright colors. Warm, soothing earth tones are trending right now.
  • Don’t do much with your basement. The best you can do is to be sure you don’t have dry rot and leaks. Resist the urge to put in a bedroom in the basement. Even though a house with more bedrooms is more likely to sell, having a bedroom up to code in a basement is costly and ultimately can be unappealing to a buyer.

Overall, think smaller renovations, more light-filled rooms, open floor plans, better windows and other energy savers such as insulation. Also, upgrade electricity and your home’s ability to handle electronics.

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