Expensive, Misplaced Home Improvement

Bob , a small business owner who worked out of his home, wanted a large, well-appointed main floor office with separate entrance to welcome and entertain clients.

So he spared no expense in converting and extending the attached garage to his bi-level home. Bob also gave the large room a lavish yet comfortable family room appearance. He was thinking ahead, in the event he should one day decide to sell the home.

Within five years, however, Bob needed to relocate to a city more convenient to his growing client list.

So when the call came to list the home, he proudly pointed out the home's amenities, especially his favorite addition that boasted a second fireplace. The bilevel's lower level was also fully finished with a familyroom, fireplace, a fourth bedroom and second full bath.

The challenge in selling the home was at least two-fold:

  1. Would a buyer forego the lack of a garage for the allure of extra main floor space?
  2. If so, how much of the cost of Bob's addition could be recouped by a higher selling price, if any?

As it turned out...

  • Within 3 month's, Bob's home sold, as did three other bilevel's on the same street and in the same block.
  • The addition had appeal but most buyers wanted a garage or the space to build one, a choice the lot did not allow for.
  • The other 3 bilevels all had a finished lower level similar to Bob's. Two had attached single garages; one had a double as well as a striking enclosed back porch.
  • Bob's sale received 2.5% less than the single garage homes and about 8% less than the double garage home.

A Double Whammy

Consequently, Bob suffered two financial setbacks: The entire cost of an expensive improvement, and a loss in value for eliminating a feature valued by buyers.

Avoid preventable cost and potential loss. Before you renovate, it's best to seek the advice of a trusted real estate professional - someone more knowledgable than you in what homebuyers want and are currently buying in your neighbourhood.

Eugene Pilato is the broker of record at CENTURY 21 Today Realty Ltd. in Fort Erie, ON.

1 Comment

  1. Fair Service 07/12/2012 at 10:21 AM

    I guess it just goes to show, you shouldnt try to make certain personal renovations something that everyone would want and try to raise the value of the house through it. Maybe stuff like finishing a basement, etc is fine - but something like this is a bit misguided.

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