We are buying a new home in Charlotte, NC and we are not sure what upgrades we should do in terms of what will hold the most value for the house in the future. Or is it better to just add square footage to the home – adding something like another bedroom or a sunroom. Your advice is appreciated!
Sonny – Charlotte
Dear Sonny – the right answer is that there is no right answer! It depends a lot on what you do, how well you do it, and where you are in terms of location. Also, are you buying this home to live in, or is it instead an investment property? Generally upgrades to a home are more for the comfort and happiness of the residents. They rarely give the home significant additional value. That said, an updated/upgraded home may be more attractive to buyers later on when you go to sell.
If you are looking at this home as an investment, then do minimal updates to keep the house current, but don’t go wild with trendy things and extras. Think basic, clean and “blank slate.” However, if the house is going to be your home, think about what will make you happiest—Bathrooms and kitchens often add the most value, and make a house more attractive to you and later buyers and increase your quality of living—but they are also the most expensive!
I almost always recommend upgrading the carpet and the carpet padding. The builder’s grade carpeting generally wears very quickly and is of low quality. It shows stains and looks old fast. If the house was previously owned, then it is always nice to start fresh with something brand new and free of the previous owner’s dog hair, stains, dust, etc. New carpet just always makes a house look better and cleaner, and it is an easy and relatively inexpensive update. (For the record, as a real estate agent trying to sell a new home, I will often recommend that the seller put in new carpet before the house is shown!)
Other great updates are things like landscaping, a new front door, or windows—especially on older homes.
As for your question on square footage, it is always nice to have more, but be careful when you add onto a home to get all appropriate permits and hire a professional contractor. This is one of those things you want to do right—so don’t skimp. However, also don’t expect to necessarily get your money back when you resell. Depending on what you do, the other homes in your neighborhood, and your location, this may be one of those things you do because it will make YOU happier living in your home, not because you will make money off of it.
Bottom line, if you have a limited budget think about the things that will make the biggest impact for the least amount of money: carpeting, paint, moldings, windows, landscaping, closets. Then think about those bigger upgrades: the deck, sunroom, kitchen remodel, bathrooms, etc. Remember if this is your home, you have to be happy here!
Enjoy Charlotte! And please let me know if you would like my recommendations on specific trusted home improvement vendors in the Charlotte area.