Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Homes as investments: remodeling for resale

While we all care about our homes and how they look, sometimes we remodel with something more than appearance in mind.  Remodeling is about enjoying our home, but it is also about protecting and enhancing our investment. Sometimes we remodel with resale in mind.

When resale is our prime consideration, where should we focus our remodeling effort and how should we approach it?

Two key areas in terms of “return on our investment” are the kitchen and the bathroom. They are hugely important in buying decisions and therefore areas we want to ensure will catch the eye of a potential buyer.

Just as there are two key areas, there are two key things to keep in mind when remodeling with resale in mind. Keep it simple and keep it neutral.

If a potential buyer doesn’t have the same taste as you, they will be put off by the thought of having to redo a room because the colors are so strong and they aren’t their colors. Neutral is generally easy to paint over or otherwise adapt.

Simplicity allows any important features of the kitchen or bathroom to stand out and get attention.

That word neutral is an important one to keep in mind. If your house has rooms with bold, solid colors you should consider repainting with something more neutral. If a buyer doesn’t love the colors as you do, it may produce a negative response in them. On the other hand, something less bold could allow their imaginations to run lose as they dream of what they might do with room.

Flooring is a consideration as well. With today’s tastes, hardwood has great appeal. If your home doesn’t have it, you could consider putting hardwood in to enhance the attractiveness to a new buyer. If that isn’t in your budget, new carpeting could help your home to “pop” in the eye of a buyer.

You should also keep in mind first impressions. What is the first thing anyone sees of your home? The outside. We’re talking “curb appeal” here.

When making changes to your home with resale in mind, the outside should be at the top of your to-do list. Your home’s landscaping can have a huge impact on whether a potential buyer even bothers to stop and take a look at the inside.

If you put some work into gardens, possibly siding or taking care of any lingering issues outside that affect how your home looks from the street, the return you get could surprise you. At the same time, your home will look beautiful indoors and out!

Whether you’re considering selling or not, remodeling is about a better, more beautiful home. And that always means greater value.

Homes are for living but they are also investments. Make sure you get the return you should!

Windows beautiful and green

One of the first things I did when I bought my home was to replace all the windows. I had bought an older home. It was beautiful, but the windows were dated and not designed as they are today to keep heat in and cold out efficiently.

It had less to do with environmental concerns than it had to do with my bank account. One of the nice aspects of taking a green approach to renovation is that the things we can do to help create a sustainable, healthy planet also allow us to have sustainable, healthy finances.

They often reduce our costs by saving energy. And with energy costs these days – seemingly only going up, rarely down – that is a big plus.

Beauty and function

Replacing windows isn’t simply about having windows that are more efficient. It’s also about how your home looks. It’s a visual element as much as it is a functional.

And the variety of windows available today is only getting greater. Here are just some of the standard types of windows available:

  • Fixed – a basic window, one that does not open.
  • Double hung – a traditional window found in older homes where only the lower half opens.
  • Casement – these windows swing open and closed usually with a crank.
  • Awning – these windows are like casement windows but swing up and down.
  • Sliding – another traditional window, these slide to either side on tracks.

Today’s windows, however, allow us a wide variety of options so while a window may be a standard, traditional style, it can look anything but standard.

Depending on the room, you may choose a traditional square or rectangular window (one of the types mentioned above). On the other hand, you may choose an arched version. You may even go with an angular style – an octagon, for example, or a square/rectangular window with a pyramid-like top.

There are many options. Have you considered something a little more for your windows? For example, you might choose:

  • Bay windows
  • Bow windows
  • Accent windows
  • Garden windows

Many of these allow for a window seat because of their style. And they are just some of the possibilities.

In my own situation, I replaced a bedroom window with French swing doors that opened onto the deck. This is an option to consider, be it for a bedroom, dining room, study or just about any room.

The choices are many and offer a wide variety of decorative styles. So it’s possible to not simply make your home more energy efficient and environmentally sound but also beautiful and imaginative. And your pocket book will smile at your home’s added value and energy savings!

Remodel to make the attic part of the house

Many homes have empty rooms that are seldom, if ever, used. When they are used, quite often it is simply for storage. They are called attics.

Yes, the attic is space just asking for a makeover so it can be used fully, the way all the other rooms are.

An attic can be remodeled as a new room – possibly another bedroom or study – or, as a number of people do, it can be converted into a loft to give a lower room a greater feeling of space and utility, even as it functions as an upper area of its own.

Because of the way most roofs slope, you may think you lose a great deal of space (that allows headroom) on two sides of the attic. This is often compensated for with a dormer – a structural feature that allows for more usable space because it extends out from the slope of the roof. If you are considering an attic conversion, this may be part of your renovation.

Dormers are often used as windows and skylights and can be part of a home’s original construction or are an addition put in place when you remodel.

There are other important elements you’ll need to think about too. At the top of the list are safety and insulation. You will need to plan for safety exits and you will need to ensure the attic is adequately insulated to stay warm and keep energy costs down.

You will also need to decide how the attic or loft will be heated, ensure the electrical elements are in place and also consider lighting.

Natural lighting is always a great idea – which brings us back to the possibilities that dormers allow for. You may consider a skylight or putting dormer windows in place. While allowing for the great appeal of natural light, windows also allow for airflow and fresh air.

A renovation that brings the attic into the day-to-day life of a house, either as a new room or a loft, can be a wonderful enhancement to your home. Quite apart from the joy of having a beautiful new room, it adds to value.

And its possibilities are only limited to your imagination! It could be a bedroom, an element of your living room, a media room for television and computers, a study or home office … it’s endless.