One Seller Suffers a Double Whammy

This story focuses on an expensive, misplaced home improvement

It not only eliminated one "gotta-have" feature for most buyers, a garage; it also removed the option to replace it without unjustified expense.

Bob Scranton, 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 bilevel home. Bob also gave the large room a lavish yet comfortable familyroom appearance. He was thinking ahead, in the event he should one day decide to sell the home.

Within five years he needed to relocate to a city more convenient to his growing client list. So when the call came to list the home, Bob 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 4th bedroom and 2nd full bath.

The challenge in selling the home was at least twofold.

  • 1. Would a buyer forego the no-garage, zero-option for the allure of bonus main floor space?
  • 2. If so, how much of the cost of Bob's addition could be recouped, 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.

Consequently, the seller suffered two financial setbacks-a Double Whammy:

  • 1. The entire cost of an expensive improvement,
  • 2. A loss in value for eliminating a feature valued by buyers.

Avoid preventable cost and potential loss. Before you renovate, seek the advice of a trusted real estate professional, someone attuned to helping you minimize loss and maximize profits.   

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