My Blog

Home Selling Mistakes To Avoid

10/26/2020

For many, selling a home seems like a much easier job than trying to buy one. While there's certainly less paperwork when selling your home, it's not as simple as listing it and it sells. There are many sellers out there that will make mistakes when trying to sell their homes, and mistakes can make the sale process longer and possibly more difficult. If you're thinking of selling, make sure you don't fall victim to these common seller mistakes.

Not Using an Agent

Selling a home is a lot of work, especially when you consider all the time that goes into marketing and the actual sale process. Unless you have unlimited free time and a broad understanding of your local real estate market, a big mistake when selling your home is trying to do it without an agent. A real estate agent has the knowledge, the experience, and the time needed to get your property sold. An agent will also do all they can to help you get your home sold. Selling a home can be emotional - an agent will help guide you through the entire process, especially if you know it's going to be hard for you or your family.

Not Expecting Selling Costs

Buyers are not the only party in a home sale that need to expect spending money - sellers have a number of costs that come up once a home is on the market. Common costs associated with selling can include agent commissions, closing costs, staging costs, repairs that come up from the inspection, seller concessions, and moving expenses (it's important to note that not all property sales will include these costs). Some sellers may have two properties with two monthly payments while they wait for their current home to sell. For sellers, listing your home can come with some unanticipated upfront costs; an additional benefit of hiring an agent is that an agent will be able to go over and help you understand the additional costs that come with selling your property before it goes on the market.

Hiding Major Repairs

Every seller would like to get top dollar for his/her property, and it can be enticing to hide major repairs from potential buyers in order to get the biggest return on your home. Many buyers will schedule a home inspection after their offer is accepted, and should an inspector find any major damage to the home, the deal could fall through. It's best to be upfront about the state of the house as this can help find buyers who are open to properties that need work and weed out those that don't want a project. It can also help with negotiations if both parties are privy to all pertinent information about the property.

Limiting Showings

Traditionally, in-person home showings were the way to go for potential buyers to view your house. While things have slightly changed due to the Coronavirus, showings are still incredibly important. Buyers still want to view homes in-person, and while virtual showings and virtual open houses have become popular throughout North America, many people still want to physically visit a property before they make an offer on it. Limiting access to your property decreases your chances of a quick sale. Accommodating buyers, especially those that are motivated, is still vital to selling real estate. If you can accommodate potential buyers, do so (but abide by any local regulations pertaining to the Coronavirus).

Not Prepping

One of the most important parts of selling a home is the preparations. Buyers react better to homes that are decluttered, well-lit, staged, and have nice listing photos than those that do not. Many buyers begin their home search online, and listing photos need to make a great first impression. Lighting plays an integral part in selling a home, especially in photos but also during showings - a well-lit home is inviting and enticing. You don't need to go out and rent or buy new furniture if you're putting your home on the market, but you should be aware of ways to clean your rooms and arrange your current furniture to best showcase your house. Taking the time to prep your property could mean an offer in a matter of days versus weeks or months.

When it comes to real estate, every party involved has something to expect. Selling a home isn’t easy, and a fair amount of work goes into getting a home on the market. Don’t make the mistakes others have – plan and be ready to go as it will only make the process easier for you. If you’re thinking of selling your home, contact me for more information.

Sprucing Up for Autumn Sales

9/14/2020

Fall is a beautiful time of year! If you have your home on the market, make the most of the season to boost its curb appeal. If you have a gorgeous red maple or golden yellow aspen in your front yard, you already have a great head start. Make a list of the most important changes you need to do to win that vital first impression. As trees and shrubbery begin to lose their leaves, more of your home is exposed, so you might need to power wash or paint. Here are more suggestions to get you started.

Focus on the Front Door
Your front door is the focal point of your home. Whether you have a simple stoop or a wide front porch, this is the place to start with your fall facelift.

  • Give your front door some zing with a new paint color or refresh the current one.
  • Polish the door handle, lock, and knocker. If they are too tarnished, replace them.
  • Make sure the mailbox or mail slot look sharp. Replace them if they have aged too much. The same goes for your house numbers.
  • If you have a porch swing or furniture, give them a cozy autumn look with a warm throw and coordinating pillows. If your furniture has cushions, make sure they aren’t worn or moldy from being wet.
  • Wash the windows and repair any cracks in the glass.
  • Sweep away cobwebs and knock down wasp nests.
  • Add a new welcome mat, perhaps with a seasonal theme. A new mat is practical as well as inviting.

Plant Fall Flowers
As summer flowers fade, replace them with autumn favorites in the rich colors of fall. Mums. asters, pansies and kale are always popular and come in many vibrant shades. Check to see what varieties thrive well in your area. Take a look at your flower boxes, planters, garden beds and hanging baskets. If you don’t want to redo them, then clear away all the withered plants and blossoms. If you think the garden still looks shaggy, a fresh layer of mulch would make the beds appear more tailored. Trim uneven shrubbery and clip out dead branches from bushes and trees.

Skip the Scarecrows
It can be fun to go all out with an array of traditional autumn decorations like hay bales, cornstalks, and Halloween spooks. You need to forego those this year while your home is on the market. Instead choose a wreath of fall foliage and berries for the door. A simple arrangement of a few pumpkins and a potted chrysanthemum or two will look great. Here’s a tip: cover live pumpkins with a light coating of peppermint or garlic oil to keep squirrels and other critters from nibbling on them.

Clear Leaves Off the Lawn
Keep your lawn cut and well trimmed throughout the growing season. A few scattered leaves give a pleasant, seasonal look to the yard, but too many look untidy. An accumulation of leaves can damage the grass and result in ugly dead spots. Keep your walkway and driveway swept clean, especially in advance of a showing. Gutters must have a neat appearance as well, so clean them out and consider installing leaf guards for the best effect.

Light It Up
It will be dark earlier so make sure your home is easy to see from the street and your sidewalks safe for visitors. If your front porch is too dimly lit, illuminate it with new lights or lanterns and use bright, long-lasting LED bulbs. Line walkways with lights; solar ones work well and need no power besides the sun. Strategically placed flood lights can make a beautiful improvement.You might want to use motion-sensor lights for added security and for lighting your driveway and sidewalk.

To sell your home quickly and for top dollar, you must make it look pristine and beautiful. The change of seasons from steamy summer to cool autumn brimming with fall colors can give you great curb appeal. Make your home a stand out in the autumn real estate market.

Selling Your Home in Uncertain Times

9/11/2020

The arrival of the coronavirus, COVID-19, has changed virtually every aspect of life, including the momentum of real estate sales. Some home sellers are waiting, hoping that the situation improves as we find a new normal. Others have decided to put their homes on the market because of urgent reasons, such as a job transfer, financial difficulties, or an expanding family. Since we can’t hope to return to pre-pandemic real estate norms any time soon, sellers must adapt to get a “For Sale” in the yard and their property sold.

Although the current inventory is lower than normal, the demand for homes continues to be quite high throughout the country. A low inventory can definitely work to your advantage, but you and your real estate agent must figure out the best way to show your home safely and efficiently.

Nearly all home buyers shop online, but this method of marketing has never been more crucial. Virtual tours, including 3-D tours, make your property available for viewing 24/7. Your agent can conduct tours via Facetime on cell phones or tablets, through narrated videos that move viewers through the rooms, or using tools such as Facebook Live. Make sure your agent is willing to give your video the time it takes to be excellent and professional. This is not the time to depend on a few nice photos to entice buyers.

Your home must look its best for videos and for still photos featured in your online presentation. The majority of buyers want a home that is “move-in” ready. Pictures can show no flaws, so make sure your home is spotless with all personal items and clutter completely cleared away. Staging is imperative to make your house appealing; don’t skip this important step.

Be thoughtful and careful with pricing your home. Your agent can help you with a strategy so you don’t overprice your home. In an uncertain economy, buyers will be cautious. It is more likely for buyers to jump at a bargain now than to pay a premium or get into a bidding war.

Social distancing requirements and safe hygiene procedures are discouraging many sellers and agents from holding traditional open houses. In fact, they may be completely banned in your community. How agents are allowed to conduct actual showings may vary according to HOA requirements, city regulations, and personal comfort levels.

However, if you decide to allow potential buyers into your home, take every precaution to stay safe. Ask that all appointments be scheduled through your agent. Only one or two people should come for a viewing, but no children should come inside at all. Hand sanitizer, masks, disposable gloves and booties should be provided. Leave lights on to discourage visitors from flipping light switches. Leave all doors open and closet doors cracked a bit so no one needs to touch your door knobs. Ask accompanying agents to be the only person to open cupboards and drawers as their clients request and ask them to do it holding a disinfecting wipe. You may want to provide a document asking all visitors to sign in by confirming that they have no COVID-19 symptoms and that they have not been in recent contact with anyone who does. After each showing, disinfect all counter tops, door knobs, cupboard pulls, faucets, and light switches.

Note that people who want to make actual visits to your home are those who have real interest in it. Buyers are not touring dozens of houses in person as they would have before the coronavirus. If your home is on their short list, it is because they were impressed by your online presentation.

When you receive an offer, have your agent email it to you and review it together over the phone. Because you must sign original documents, have your agent leave the papers outside your door or in your mailbox. When you have signed, put them back outside for her to pick up. During this time of social distancing, closing companies are able to use software that allows them to conduct the closing remotely. Ask your agent to use a company that is willing to do this. If you do have to go in person, request a minimum number of people in the room. If you co-own the property with a spouse or partner, you might want to take turns going in to sign. Don’t be surprised if the closing period is 60 days or longer instead of the more standard 30 days. Title companies may be short staffed if they have chosen to furlough some of their staff. Many people are choosing to refinance now which increases the title companies’ work load. Home inspections may take longer and getting repairs complete might take longer, too.

The COVID-19 situation is evolving constantly and you must be flexible to get your home sold. You and your agent should be able to come up with creative strategies to find a buyer and complete this complex transaction.

Team with an Agent When House Hunting Online

9/8/2020

Everything happens online now, whether it’s business conferencing, entertainment, social networking, finances, or shopping. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, about 95 percent of home buyers look for their next property online. There are numerous sites that take you to a multiple listing service (MLS), where you will find data, descriptions, and very often photos of homes for sale. The status of listings can shift quickly, so it’s important to work with a real estate agent from the beginning of your search.

Even though you have the internet at your fingertips, working with an experienced real estate agent is critical. The internet gives you a broad look at what’s currently for sale, while your agent will give you all the nuances of the property, the neighborhood, and the community. She or he can answer all of your questions about the homes you are considering, including many details that are not found on an MLS. For example, if the house has been inspected recently, the results will likely not be shown on the MLS listing. If the zoning for the neighborhood is going to be changed soon or if the streets need drastic repair, that kind of information will only come from your agent. You can browse the internet all day and night, but rely on an agent when you are ready to get serious about the house you hope will be your new home.

Keep in mind that a real estate agent is usually paid through the sale of the property, which means you are not responsible for that fee. You have nothing to lose and much to gain when you hire an agent. They can guide you through the entire home-buying process. This is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make so make sure you have a skillful agent advocating and negotiating for you until the sale is complete.

When you first begin your search, however, the internet is invaluable for getting acquainted with the market and narrowing down to your favorites. There are several things to consider when you start looking for your perfect match. First, home descriptions are written in the most glowing terms that can be applied to the property. Likewise, smart sellers make sure the accompanying photos make the place look warm, roomy and as enticing as possible. Many houses have been staged to make the rooms look their best. You may be disappointed when you walk in the door and see it for yourself instead of through the camera’s flattering lens. Videos and 3D tours are being used more and more so be sure to study them. Frequently, the home’s condition is easier to see through a video than it is in still photographs.

Check out the home’s history. How long has it been on the market and has the price changed during that time? What are the property taxes? What information about the neighborhood is pertinent to your sale? For example, have there been many foreclosures of nearby houses? Are the homes on the street well cared for? Your agent will provide you with comps for the neighborhood so you can study the prices of similar houses that have sold in recent months. You will want to know about local schools, even if you don’t have children. This information will be important if you choose to sell sometime in the future. Check on crime rates for the area. Also, learn about how long you can expect the commute to work to be, whether you drive yourself or use public transportation.

You can find plenty of information and leads online, but rely on the expertise of your real estate agent to save you time and money. Your agent has access to multiple outside search engines giving them access to literally thousands of real estate websites. When you partner with someone who understands what you want in your next home, you are well on the way to finding your dream house.

Become Familiar with HOA Requirements

9/5/2020

Homeowners associations, or HOAs, are governing bodies that set and enforce the rules of a neighborhood or condominium development. They maintain common areas and oversee the amenities, covenants and restrictions of the neighborhood. There are many ways a HOA can be beneficial to you, but there are also aspects that you might find restrictive. If your new home falls under the jurisdiction of a HOA, learn all you can about it so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises.

Rules of the HOA

Your real estate agent should be able to get a copy of the HOA rules for you. Review them together so you have a good understanding of what is expected since you can count on them being enforced. Some items that may be regulated by the rules include satellite dishes, pets, exterior paint colors, plant and tree choices and fences. Parking campers, boats or commercial vehicles in front of your house may be covered. Yard decorations or hanging laundry on a clothesline may be addressed. Each HOA has its own set of rules and restrictions. You need to know what you are buying into and if it suits your personal preferences.

Learn about the annual fees

What is the cost and how will it impact your budget? Find out how much the fee costs and when it is due. Check to see when the fees were last raised and what is the process for increasing them. Know what the dues cover and if there are any additional fees collected regularly. Find out the size of the reserve fund. Ask if there are any special assessments pending? Special assessments might be for unforeseen expenses, such as storm damage to a clubhouse roof. Some also may be for periodical projects, such as resurfacing a parking lot or a big landscaping plan for a common area.

Talk to the neighbors

Chatting with a few people who live in the neighborhood can give you a good idea of what the HOA is like. Ask if it is overmanaged or if they find it difficult to deal with board members. Is the money well managed so that bills are paid efficiently? Are conflicts settled reasonably? You want to live with a HOA that does a good job taking care of the neighborhood regulations, but is not overbearing and intrusive. If you have concerns, attend a meeting before you close on your new home. You can depend on your real estate agent to provide specifics about the HOA as well.

Outstanding violations can delay a home sale

If the seller of your new home owes money for HOA violations, they need to take care of the issue and the accompanying fee before you take possession. Common violations often concern exterior maintenance, such as painting or landscaping issues. To guarantee that problems have been corrected, the title company will request an estoppel certificate from the HOA indicating the status of the violation. If the issue has not been addressed prior to closing, the closing date could be delayed. Another option is for the sellers to put money into an escrow account to cover the problem. They will get the money back once the fix is completed within an agreed time period.

There are benefits to a HOA

HOAs promote financial stability of the neighborhood and protect property values. They help residents get to know each other through community work days, social events and activities. This helps the neighborhood feel more secure and comfortable. Common areas are kept neat and amenities, such as pools, walking trails and tennis courts, are funded through fees collected from all the residents. Architectural rules keep home painting or remodeling within the original design of the neighborhood. Many HOAs pay for trash collection, pest control and snow removal.

There can be disadvantages to a HOA

You need to know the details of your neighborhood’s HOA rules to determine if they are too restrictive for you and your family. Many HOAs limit the number of vehicles allowed at each residence; if children’s backyard playset may be installed; and how mailboxes must be placed. They may dictate what exterior colors you can paint your house, whether banners or flags may be displayed, or even if holiday decorations are allowed. They may require pre-approval of exterior building plans such as storage sheds or new decks.

Be aware before you buy

Living with a HOA is usually not a problem and will enhance your neighborhood and home value. However, they are not for everybody. Educate yourself well before buying within a HOA community and decide if it’s right for you.

Is Your Dream Home in a Danger Zone?

9/3/2020

When you are considering a specific house, one of the most important questions you will ask is if it’s in a safe neighborhood. This is especially crucial if you are moving from out-of-town or into an unfamiliar area of your city. Do the research to learn if the location is safe for kids to play outside or for overnight guests to leave their cars parked in-front without problems. There are several ways to determine if you are looking at a danger zone, whether the threat is weather, crime or other risky possibilities.

Do some detective work

While your real estate agent can help you with practically every other aspect of home buying, there are some questions they legally can’t answer due to the Fair Housing Act. This means you will have to do some research yourself.  Fortunately, there are many online resources to address your concerns. Here are a few:

  • AreaVibes helps you find appealing neighborhoods by rating subjects you find important. It ranks seven livability factors such as crime, schools, education and housing.
  • NeighborhoodScout provides crime statistics and other information. You can measure your neighborhood against others in the area. Most of their information is free, but there is a fee for detailed data and reports.
  • City-Data gives statistics on schools, neighborhoods, crime, sex offenders, and even nearby restaurant health violations.
  • CrimeReports collects police and crime reports. Type in an address and the site will display a list of crimes committed in the area, broken down by types and dates.

Scout out the neighborhood. Drive through the streets surrounding your potential new home at different times of the day. Check out how well the homeowners keep up their lawns and homes. Well-kept properties tend to indicate a safer community. If you see many overgrown yards, sagging fences or broken windows, it may signal an unsafe neighborhood.

Introduce yourself to the neighbors and get their opinions. Ask if they feel safe and comfortable in their homes. You can learn a lot about mild irritations, such as a grouchy neighbor who doesn’t want kids and pets on his lawn, as well as significant problems.

Are there many homes on the market in the area? This could be an indicator of residents wanting to get out and find a safer place to live. Even if this is not the case, homes that stand vacant too long can attract trouble.

Finally, trust your gut feeling. If you have any concerns, don’t choose to move there. Find a place where you are confident that you and your family will be secure,

Note other safety issues beyond crime

Have your agent provide a flood zone map. Check how level the property is surrounding your potential home. If the yard is angled downhill, it may be at greater risk for flooded basements or worse.

Look up at the trees around the house. Towering trees are gorgeous, but could cause trouble in a windstorm or heavy rain. Roots from willow trees and other varieties can split a foundation, a driveway or sidewalks. An arborist or tree specialist can help you determine if you have any potential problems.

Carefully review the sellers’ disclosure. They have a legal obligation to disclose any likely problems or hazards. Does the basement leak? Is there damage from wood rot? If any red flags pop up, go back and ask questions. Use your agent; this is one of their specialties.

Check in with city hall. The city planning and code enforcement office should be able to let you know of any projects or construction coming up that could cause a problem for your neighborhood of interest.

Your home is likely your largest investment and the safety of your family is one of your greatest concerns. There is nothing that affects the value and enjoyment of your own home as much as the surrounding area. It’s crucial to know everything you can about your future neighborhood before signing any contracts.

Is Cash Always King?

9/3/2020

The old adage “cash is king” can certainly hold true when it comes to home buying. However, your investment might be safer and more productive if you take out a mortgage instead. You need to decide which way will give you the biggest bang for your buck.

Paying Cash for Your Home

  • Paying with cash can put you in a better negotiating position, especially in a seller’s market. If you are up against competing buyers for the same property, your cash offer could be very appealing to the seller. Risks to the seller are far lower in accepting your offer and closing is much quicker when you don’t have to wait for a lender to approve a loan.
  • Your cash purchase will eliminate some requirements that come with a mortgage, such as title insurance, appraisal fees, and closing costs.  It alleviates the seller’s concern that a buyer’s loan application could be denied. In that case, the buyer is forced to start all over with the sale — every seller’s nightmare.
  • In addition to benefits for the seller, a cash purchase may also create a discount for you. The seller may be open to reducing the price a bit in exchange for the speed of a cash sale. They understand that the quicker the sale, the faster they can invest or use their money elsewhere.
  • If you have a low credit score, that won’t stop you from buying a home with cash. You can avoid the hassle of providing the multiple documents required by a lender, which can slow down the process.
  • You can avoid sleepless nights worrying about a big monthly mortgage payment hanging over you for years to come. Your monthly household expenses will reduce dramatically when your housing budget only needs to cover insurance, taxes, and maintenance.
  • Achieving financial peace of mind is especially true if you are nearing retirement age. Although many Americans retire with years left on their mortgage, it is a bonus if you can stop working without that debt.

What Are the Drawbacks to a Cash Sale

  • Tying up all your money in your home reduces your liquidity. You need to have cash available for unexpected expenses, whether it’s a cracked foundation or a medical emergency. If you should lose your income, you need enough cash to keep you afloat for a few months while looking for a new job.
  • Mortgage rates are very low currently, making a mortgage loan a cheap investment. If you can put 20 percent down, you will have more room to maneuver financially and pay less than four percent in interest.
  • Your money will likely perform better for you if you choose to help it grow by diversifying. Putting all your funds in one place, including your home, is a big risk. The stock market, mutual funds, or other investments are ways to grow your wealth beyond just building equity in your home. Although you may think you will save if you eliminate mortgage interest, the money might actually earn more if you put the cash to work elsewhere.
  • Mortgage interest is one of the few remaining tax breaks. The higher your tax bracket, the more valuable this deduction will be for you.

As you probably expect, only a minority of housing purchases in the U.S. are made with cash. Yes, there are advantages, but do you want to have so much of your liquid assets tied up in your home? Your real estate agent and your financial advisors are excellent counselors to help you make your decision.

Improvements That Can Lower Your Home’s Value

9/3/2020

Many homeowners believe the money they spend on home improvements will always make their property worth more. There are plenty of projects that will do exactly that, enhancing your enjoyment of your home and making it more valuable. However, there are renovations and remodels that can work against you when you’re ready to sell and may actually make your home less desirable.

Outbuilding the Neighborhood

Building an addition to your home could make it more appealing, but avoid turning your house into the most expensive one on the block. If your addition is a large, expensive project, such as adding multiple bedrooms and a bathroom, the cost could price you too far above the neighborhood’s average homes. Potential buyers looking for a $200,000 home will likely look in $200,000 neighborhoods. Your $375,000 house will be overlooked by buyers in your price range and ignored by the others. You’ll find the money you spent on your addition difficult to recoup.

Installing Luxury Room Renovations

  • High-End Kitchens – Gutting the kitchen and installing a high-end remodel is a very expensive project. Many people save up for their dream kitchen though, and pay five or six figures to get it. The addition to your home’s resale value will always be less than the price of the kitchen upgrade. Instead of a completely new kitchen, replace the parts that are worn or outdated and choose mid-priced appliances instead of the most pricey ones.
  • Bathrooms – Bathrooms renovations can be a great way to add value to your home. Just try to choose upgrades that will appeal to a wide variety of tastes. Fireplaces, waterfall showers, or deep soaker tubs probably shouldn’t be on your list. Whirlpool baths are not as popular as they have been in the past. If you have a tub in another bathroom in the house, consider a large walk-in shower for the master.
  • Sunroom – The Remodeling website’s statistics show that adding a sunroom to your house gives very little return on your investment. It is another high dollar remodel and has the most appeal only in areas with warm weather year round. A sunroom has far less value in the Midwest and Northern states and, unless it is heated, it doesn’t count when calculating your home’s square footage.

Overdoing the “Personal Touch”

There are a lot of decorating choices that help make a home reflect your personality. Just be aware that some of these changes might need to be neutralized before you put your home on the market. Too much wallpaper or brilliantly colored paint can make buyers move on to the next home on their list. Painting wooden trim any color other than white won’t appeal to the majority of buyers. Lavish light fixtures are another possible turn-off. So are rooms with themes, such as a jungle family room or a fairy tale bedroom. If you can’t live without any of these things, go ahead and invest in them during your years in the home. But, plan to make changes when you are ready to sell and do not expect to get your money back for the expense.

Making Unwise Flooring Choices

Buyers used to want carpeting throughout a home, but current trends favor hard floors. Installing hardwood floors can increase the value of your home. Save the carpet for bedrooms, maybe, but don’t put it in other areas. Also, most people are looking for quality hardwood floors that will look beautiful for decades. They think most laminate flooring looks cheap, so it can bring down your home’s value. Choice of tiles for a floor should be thoughtfully considered, too. Something that is funky-fun to you can send potential buyers right out the door. Think “mainstream” when you choose the tile.

Reducing the Number of Bedrooms and Closets

More bedrooms are better than fewer for most buyers. If you want to combine two smaller bedrooms into one master suite, it could change the comparable value of your home with the rest of the neighborhood. If everyone else has three bedrooms and you now have only two, that’s a problem. Watch out, too, for redoing a small bedroom into a large walk-in closet. People with families want the bedrooms.

Building Additions You Love, But Many Potential Buyers Do Not

  • Swimming pool – This may be fun for your family, but many people see it as a hassle and a safety hazard. A pool requires regular maintenance, upkeep, and higher insurance premiums. Further, it isn’t uncommon for the buyer to put a contingency in the contract that the current owners remove the pool before the sale in complete. Putting in a pool can be very expensive, but it adds little to your home value.
  • Hot tub – These have many of the same issues as pools, including upkeep, cleaning and liability. Many people just don’t want to bother with them. Also, hot tubs and swimming pools may have value in Sun Belt states, but far less in northern areas.
  • Home theaters – Again, home theaters are not to everyone’s taste. Some potential buyers might see it as a waste of space and electricity. Converting it back to an empty room is expensive, especially with built in electronics.
  • Built-in fishtank – An aquarium might be your favorite accessory for its beauty and entertainment value. However, a built-in tank makes it an obligation to new owners and many buyers don’t want that responsibility. An aquarium may look great to you up front, but it is costly to take care of and becomes an eyesore if not properly maintained. Installation is a big expense and so is its removal.

The bottom line is to use common sense when deciding how to remodel. If you plan to live in your home for many years, the renovations listed here are less of a problem. If you know you will be there for a shorter term, think carefully before taking the plunge. If you really want it, try to keep your changes more mainstream and be prepared for the possibility of making more changes when you decide to sell.

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