Form over Function
I live in Vancouver where the conversation about real estate is quite literally as common as a conversation about the weather. People are intrigued with the potential of earning money through home renovation projects and DIY additions. In order to tap in to this potential it is important to know what exactly to renovate. It is different with your first starter home than it is with your retirement home. For example in a low income starter home it’s a bad idea to invest in marble arches if your sole purpose is to increase the re-sale value. A better option here might be the roof, driveway, yard, front door or entrance way. Something that creates an up lifted home for a potential customer who fits your neighborhoods financial bracket.
For example I moved into a house with my family when I was younger. The previous owner had installed a large marine style propeller in the upstairs ceiling. The propeller sucked the hot air out of the house and into the attic where it dissipated. It was very efficient and I think in the summer everyone in our family appreciated it. As a young kid I was quite fond of having a powerful red propeller in our house. At bargaining time however, Mom and Dad seemed more concerned about purchasing a house with a high powered boat prop spinning above there children’s heads, than they did with potential cooling system. You can imagine the bargaining that went on between this boat enthusiast and my mother in terms of what this propeller offered the prospective party. Needless to say his project added very little to the house in terms of value for the seller. The message here being that this fellow may have been better off, financially, adding some plants and a new garage door.
When it comes to return on your renovation the most recent information I’ve come across is that siding and kitchen renovations are the most cost efficient. Siding provides curb appeal, offering onlookers some color and fresh lines. It provides a basis for your landscaping, windows, roofing and so on. It is a good central place to start. The kitchen is the busiest room in the house, providing a meeting spot for the family and guests as well as providing the space for your appliances. So in the world of limited income these are important choices. Consult with people locally or trust your instincts, but in either case try and compliment your home and your neighborhood.