What Improvements Add Value to Your Midtown Montgomery Home?

By on 28 October, 2011 in Real Estate, Sandra Nickel with 0 Comments

A brick walkway and simple shrubs greatly enhance the curb appeal of this Hillwood home.

I am asked almost weekly what improvements add value to homes in our Midtown Montgomery neighborhoods. Unfortunately, my answer often sounds something like, “How long is a piece of string?”

No such thing as a simple answer

Simply put, there is no simple answer to the question. First, the value of your home — or any home in Midtown — is driven primarily by location, or put another way, the value of the homes around it. For example, homes in my part of the Garden District tend to be modest bungalows and cottages ranging in value from around $100,000 to $200,000. No matter what I were to do to my home, it still would never be worth a whole lot more than those of my neighbors.

Second, the cost of an improvement is NOT — repeat, NOT — any indication of what value if any a proposed improvement might contribute. Why, you might ask? Well, let’s assume you have a way to do a room addition for zero cost (you’re married to a contractor and have all the materials on hand). Does that mean the addition is worth nothing?

Conversely, let’s pretend your addition is going to cost $50,000 (easily spent today!) That $50,000 cost is irrelevant because all that matters is what a buyer would pay for the extra space, which takes us back to location and the value of homes like yours nearby.

So what’s a homeowner to do?

The best way to decide whether or not to make a major improvement is to get a pair of appraisals by a credible individual (and we can recommend some if you’ll call us at 834-1500 or email us at WhataTeam@HatTeam.com). One appraisal is to establish the value of your home as-is. The other projects its value with the planned improvement. If your cost to make the improvement far exceeds the projected increase in value, it’s a pretty easy decision, isn’t it?

And sometimes even the best informed of us — that would be me waving my hand — go ahead because the improvement we want means more to us than making a strictly dollars-and-cents decision. I expanded my master bath — adding little if any value in the process — just so I could feel good about being in there for at least a hour every morning!

Are there any improvements guaranteed to pay their way?

You will never go wrong with paint (neutral colors, please, if you’re getting ready to sell) and simple landscaping upgrades. Floor-covering replacement is also usually at least a breakeven, unless you go overboard on materials.

We can give you specific advice and are glad to do so—free! Real estate is a service business and we proud to serve our Midtown Montgomery neighbors.

Sandra Nickel has been listing and selling residential real estate for over 29 years, most with an intense focus on Montgomery’s Midtown neighborhoods. Sandra serves on the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless, the Cloverdale Business Coalition, Historic Southview, the Volunteer and Information Center, Landmarks Foundation and her own neighborhood Garden District Preservation Association.

 

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