Q. What mistakes do people make when renovating their home?

  • Michael Meier
  • 01/13/16

We have seen situations where sellers spend an exuberant amount of money renovating to make their home perfect, and then buyers are not willing to pay to cover the cost of such an expensive renovation. We advise sellers to consider what investors do when they take an apartment that they have been renting out for many years: they basically give the apartment a “facelift,” instead of a complete gut renovation. They put in kitchen cabinets that look clean, but not high-end Poggenpohl kitchens. They don’t pay as much attention to the designer of the cabinet and mirrors in the bathroom, but instead focus on what looks great. It’s okay to spend extra on high-end fixtures, as usually they are not where the major expenses are, but add a nice touch. It’s also a good idea to spend money on stainless steel appliances, but you don’t have to get the top of the line $5,000 stove.

It’s also important to realize that every situation is different. If your entire apartment has very high-end fixtures, designer floors, top of the line appliances, and then you renovate one section of the apartment with items that are clearly different to the rest, they will stand out and you will come across as having done a “cheap” job. You don’t want your facelift kitchen to stick out as a bandaid job, as people will feel that it needs to be renovated again. To illustrate this point, look at some of the newest development buildings where apartments are asking ten or twenty million dollars each. In those situations, every fixture, cabinet and appliance has to be the “crème de la crème” or it won’t live up to the asking price and building as a whole. In that case, people are spending top of the market prices to be in the building itself, and if the apartment does not live up to the perceived standards of the buyer, it will not realize its highest potential sales price.

As with most ‘preparing to sell” questions, you should speak with your broker to get “Real Advice” on what you should, and should not spend money on when considering the effect on your future sale.

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