5 Property Updates You Should Think Twice About

By on April 27, 2018

One of the biggest mistakes novice rehabbers make is thinking that all home improvements have the same effect. The reality is that if you don’t do the right work for the property and the market you will be left greatly disappointed with the results. Simply throwing money at a property and expecting a windfall is a recipe for disaster. An in-ground pool or a custom movie room may be appealing to you but may not hold the same appeal to buyers in your market. Before spending any money on your rehab, you need to take some time looking at comparable listings and recent sales to get a true idea of the right improvements. The wrong updates can lead to disaster, but the right updates will get your property sold quickly, typically at your price. Here are five updates you should think twice about on your next rehab project.

  • Pool. A pool is a big-ticket item that does not guarantee a return. For as many people that love pools, an equal number want nothing to do with them. As great as they are in the middle of the summer they can be a real handful the rest of the year. You need to start by examining how much use your buyer will get out of it. If you are in a part of the country that has warm temp 8 months or more a pool may be a necessity. However, if you are in the Northeast or Midwest a pool can be more of a burden than anything else. Not only does a pool need to be maintained but there will be an increase on your annual insurance and the loss of space in your yard. You may have seen a custom in-ground pool that you thought was cool on TV but if it doesn’t work for the market it will do much more harm than good.
  • Room expansions. The three most important items for most home buyers are price, square footage and bedroom count. It is tempting to dazzle the market with extras but in most cases, less is more. As much as you want to put your own stamp on the property, this is often a waste of time, and money. Knocking down walls and reducing the useable square footage to add a walk-in closet isn’t the best use of space. Sure, the closet space is nice, but it doesn’t fit with the property. The same if the case if you put a large hot tub on the deck or patio. Sitting in a hot tub on vacation can be a welcome relief but that doesn’t mean you want a hot tub taking up most of your patio space. Every inch of the property must be put to good use and fit with the rest of the market. High end upgrades don’t always work in every market.
  • Unique rooms. What you consider “cool” may be a complete turn off for someone else. It is critical to remember that your rehab doesn’t need to go in a magazine or win an award to be successful. The goal is to change the property to create maximum appeal that produces demand which ultimately helps find a buyer. Keep your personal preferences out of the improvements for the property. You may have a dedicated toy or movie room that fits for you and your property, but it doesn’t mean it is a good idea for another property. There has been a definite shift in they way we live in the last decade. More people are working from home and would rather use an extra room on an office instead of a big “man cave”. Specialty rooms like a sun room, toy room or “man cave” are outdated and in many cases, unappealing.
  • Specific upgrades. Every rehab you do should be a little different. You can have the same team and a common thread to your properties, but they call can’t be exactly the same. The countertop you put in one property may not be the same in put in a property across town. There should always be a balance between affordability and practicality. In some markets your buyers will not know, or appreciate, a marble countertop or high-end flooring. You are better off installing something middle of the road and making improvements elsewhere. Upscale finishes and unique designs should be kept to the truly high-end markets where there is intense competition.
  • Unique exterior. A deck is one of the best home improvements you can make. However, like everything else you need to make sure the exterior fits with the rest of the property. Infinity edge pools, exotic waterfalls and oversized sheds can ruin all the good work you do with the rest of the house. In some cases, all the exterior needs are some seed and water. It is ok to let your buyer use their imagination and provide a blank exterior canvas for them to do whatever they please. First impressions are important, but you can ruin it by adding too much clutter to the yard. Keep the exterior neat, clean and clutter free and avoid over the top items.

Less is usually more when it comes to rehabbing. Pick and choose your spots for where to splurge and where to save some money. Throwing money at a property doesn’t mean you will get it all back.