Home Remodel 101 – Do Not Over Customize Unless You Plan to Stay

  • December 17, 2013
  • devinlucas

Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Orange County homebuyers love an updated property.  Homeowners are wise to invest in occasional updating and remodeling, which is almost always a great idea, with many projects (such as tasteful kitchens and bathrooms) often instantly raising a home’s resale value.   Be cautious however, as some remodeling projects go too far, pushing into overly unique renovations that may not appeal to all buyers and/or which costs far more than what will ever be gained in overall home resale value.

According to a new publication from the California Association of REALTORS® and Moneycrashers.com, these five worthwhile projects may not lead to immediate gains when done excessively and should be thoroughly thought-out before acting:
  • Gourmet Kitchens with High-End Accessories. Kitchen remodels are a staple of home improvement and something many buyers want to see; just be cautious, as ridiculously expensive appliances or materials will not be fully recuperated (especially if such high-end upgrades do not match the rest of the home). Likewise, over customization (such as unique tiles, colors or layout) could turn away some buyers. You want it to be nice, but not crazy. If you’re having to special order too many items, that’s likely a sign that you’re going overboard.
  • Landscaping. Green grass, some plants, maybe some nice lighting and/or a fence will no doubt help your sale, but no need to expend thousands on new hardscape, a coy pond, or a complete re-design if you’re plan is to sell, you just won’t get the recovery. 
  • Home Office Remodeling. Too unique. Unless you already have abundant extra bedrooms, buyers want to be able to maximize their personal needs for the space and may not have the need or desire for an elaborate home office. Whatever you do, don’t eliminate any closets from bedrooms (as technically there must be a closet to call it a bedroom, otherwise, it’s a den). If you have the doors off the closets for easy storage or whatnot, put them back when you go to sell. 
  • Garage Additions. Clean up – yes; rebuild – no. The garage is often of little (or last) concern for most buyers. Spend your money elsewhere. Once the house is re-done with tasteful new kitchens and bathrooms, new interior and exterior paint, carpet/flooring and other niceties, then feel free to re-build that garage. If you’re going to explore that option, ensure to get proposals for adding properly permitted additional space. Depending on your lot size, city, HOA, etc., you may be able to add an extra bedroom onto the garage while you’re rebuilding. Do it properly with permits however, as an unpermitted living space within a garage is gravely dangerous.
  • Whirlpool Baths. If you want one, go for it! But don’t think you’ll recoup that hefty expense anytime soon if you’re going to resell.

-Devin Lucas

Author Devin R. Lucas is a Real Estate Attorney, Broker and REALTOR®, specializing in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Orange County, serving individual, investor and small business interests in real estate.  Active with the Newport Beach Association of REALTORS® and Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce, Devin R. Lucas Real Estate is an independent real estate brokerage and law practice located in Newport Beach, California.

Devin R. Lucas Real Estate
Real Estate Attorney | Real Estate Broker | REALTOR®
devinrlucas.com | devin@devinrlucas.com | BRE No. 01912302
949.478.1623 office | 888.667.6038 fax

2901 West Coast Highway Suite 200
Newport Beach | California | 92663-4023

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