• On the Market: Home renovations that can increase or decrease value

    (MyFoxBoston.com) -- People know that kitchens and baths add value to homes during a renovation, but what else can add value to a home and what can hurt the value of a home? Swimming pools, in-law apartments, barns, sheds and changing a room’s original use can all add or decrease value.  

    Anthony Lamacchia from McGeough Lamacchia Realty Inc. gave us his opinion on these four questionable renovations.

    Swimming pools are a big question this time of year, and they can add value to a home, but they can also decrease the value. Adding a pool can be beneficial when you have is a big house with a sprawling yard, so that the pool would only take up a small section, leaving room for grass, a play area for kids or a nice garden. Having a pool will hurt a home's value when a house has a smaller yard and the pool takes up a large portion.

    In-law apartments are never a bad idea, but the value of a home can be hurt if the space given up to build the apartment is too valuable.  For example, in a home with a two car garage, owners might build an in-law apartment where the garage once was. In the average neighborhood, this may limit buyers, because not as many buyers are looking for a home with an in-law apartment, and even fewer are looking for a home without a two car garage. When the buyers are limited, this type of in-law apartment could hurt the home's value.

    Barns and sheds can add value to a home. Though if you choose to add a barn, be careful, because they can sometimes hurt the value of a home, because it could limit the pool of buyers to those specifically looking for a home with a barn.

    When selling a home, the house should be set up and staged to appeal to as many buyers as possible.  This will help the homeowner get top dollar for their house.

    The last renovation that people worry about is what happens to the home's value when a room’s original purpose is changed.  One specific example might be when a three-bedroom home has a small bedroom, and the owners knock a wall down to create a walk-in closet for a larger bedroom. The homeowners would have better luck marketing their home as a true three bedroom, instead of a two bedroom home.

    However, if you're dealing with an unfinished space such as a third floor, renovating it into a bedroom can add value to the home.

    Lamacchia made sure to stress the "five-year rule" when renovating.  The five-year rule is that the homeowner has to think about how long they plan on remaining in their home.  If it is over five years, then go ahead and add that pool or create a walk in closet. 

    Five years is a long time to be able to enjoy those changes to the home and also gives the homeowner time to change the space back if needed for resale value.  If you're planning on staying for less than five years, the homeowner really needs to consider market value for their home and the renovation value that has either been added or lost due to the renovation.

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