Real estate is so staggering financially that care must be taken when anything involving a property is at stake. People around the world buy and sell property every day of the year, as realty forms one of the biggest markets in modern day society.

Maple Greystone [kitchen]
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Homeowners are always trying to position themselves economically, consistently aiming to increase appreciation values and potential sale value. A popular way to enhance listing value is renovation. However, care must be taken, because certain renovations are too costly to be made up for in an imminent sale. Below I have listed remodel ideas to avoid if a potential deal is looming in the near future. If you are a homeowner, make the right decisions when it comes to upgrading your house and avoid losing money on a transaction.

1. Windows.

While windows are a key feature that people focus on when looking for a house, they are an extremely expensive upgrade if you don’t plan on enjoying them yourself. During an open house, potential homebuyers will surely assess the window situation. While new windows wouldn’t hurt your cause as a seller, there are ways to work around a full blown window improvement. Unless the glass has deteriorated to the point of immediate recognition, alternative methods can be utilized.

Seller advice: Get all of your windows professionally cleaned, both inside and out. On top of this, consider repainting the trim on the windows. The clean and detailed look will accentuate the windows you already have and prevent a major renovation from being necessary. This could save you thousands upon thousands of dollars. Unless you are going to be in the property for years and years, avoid new windows if you are planning to sell.

2. Pool.

As a homeowner, do not install a pool if you have any intention of selling. While it’s nice to own a private body of water, this renovation is frighteningly costly. There are situations where grading and leveling of land is required to install a pool if the lot is uneven. If this is necessary, a pool can cost over $100,000. Usually an above average in-ground one will fall more around $50,000, but the underlying issue is still relevant. They are expensive, and it’s better to plan on being around to enjoy it yourself.

Seller advice: A $50,000 to $100,000 pool will NOT add the equivalent value to the sale price. If you are even considering selling your real estate, think twice about pool installation. It will save you money on the closing date, and also prevent you from getting attached to the newest property feature that you’d be handing to someone else.

3. Flooring.

Adding marble or nice wood to the surface you live on is without a doubt desirable, but it can cost a fortune. As with any renovation, the price can vary when material and size of the project are considered. However, the cost per unit of quality floor material will usually not pay itself off in a property sale. For one, the people buying the house might not personally like the flooring. This can make your property less desirable and decrease sale potential. New floor usually won’t hurt your cause, but it’s too expensive of a risk to warrant a full-blown remodel.

Seller advice: Unless your floors are atrocious, explore your options. Consider refinishing your wood floors rather than going brand new. Consider sticking with the current material even if you fancy marble. If your house may hit the market, there is no reason to revamp the floors to make them tailor more to your personal liking. Take advantage of what you have, and see what you can get. Everyone desires new flooring, but it may not be worth the investment when specifically sale value is concerned.

4. Cosmetic alternations.

While adding personal touch to the aesthetic appeal of a house can be desirable, it represents a renovation that most likely will not help sale value. For one, most people have different preferences to what the minor features of the interior and exterior of a house should look like. The reality is that people usually base their decision of whether or not to buy real estate on more general attributes of the structure like size, layout and location. While everything matters, little additions like room paint or lighting fixtures won’t make or break the deal.

Seller advice: Keep it nice and keep it sound. Tacky additions, while impressing you personally, are a risk not worth taking if you plan to sell. People have such varying opinions on what is ideal that small nuance upgrades won’t make or break a sale, and freshly done changes can even turn people away. The last thing you want is for a potential home buyer to feel like they will have to immediately rip up or take down all of the features you just told them were brand new. Present the house as the property that it is, rather than what you like it to look like when you’re living there.

Renovations to real estate are a luxury that people should enjoy to the fullest. Before doing so, however, make sure that you don’t plan to sell the property anytime soon. It’s always important to remember that changes made to satisfy personal values don’t always equate to increased sale value. With the financial magnitude of real estate, extra caution should be taken when this is concerned.

Tim Richmond writes about the mortgage industry, real estate, green building, personal finance and home ownership. He currently writes for the Native American mortgage specialists 1st Tribal Lending.

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