Think About Resale When Building Your Home

June 4, 2018

Selling your dream home is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re in the middle of a build process—but it pays to think about resale value when you’re selecting the features and upgrades for your new home.

Some upgrades are no-brainers, with high resale value whether you’re planning on staying in your home for five years or twenty-five. Other upgrades are nice-to-haves that will give you a better return on your investment than other options. And some upgrades sound good on paper but actually add very little to your resale value.

So which upgrades will offer you good resale value, and which upgrades should you think about skipping?

Good Resale Value

  • Kitchens

When you build a top-of-the-line kitchen or renovate down the road, you’re going to get back about 75% of your investment in resale value. But it’s not about making money from it; it’s about getting the highest possible return on your investment. And homebuyers will definitely notice a cheap or dated kitchen. That doesn’t mean you need granite countertops or cherrywood cabinets—just high-quality materials that look good now and will continue to look good down the road.

  • Ensuite Bathrooms

Like kitchens, ensuite bathrooms are a good area to spend a little more money in upfront. But unlike kitchens, homebuyers aren’t looking for the practicality of a functional, durable, stylish space. They’re buying ensuite bathrooms based on imagination alone. They want to picture themselves relaxing in a Jacuzzi tub after a long day or taking a long, luxurious shower in a tiled stall or enjoying a stress-free morning getting ready at his-and-her sinks. And it can pay to tap into that imagination.

  • Premium Vinyl Siding

Exterior upgrades can go either way: vinyl or composite plank siding costs a lot of money, but it’s hail-resistant, so if you plan on staying in your house for the next ten years, it could pay off. But one thing that does pay off in a quick sale is premium vinyl siding in deep, rich colours. This siding might not up your resale value per se, but it will help your house stand out and increase the likelihood of a quick sale.

  • Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is something that everyone talks about when they’re buying a home but few think about when they’re building a home. But creating good curb appeals starts right at the design process, in the materials, colours, architectural features, and landscaping you choose. Curb appeal is a homebuyer’s first impression of your house, and you want it to be a good one.

  • Gas Fireplaces and Hook-ups

There’s a reason that gas fireplaces have shot up in popularity over the past ten years. They’re clean, practical, stylish, and easy-to-use. And while you’re investing in a gas fireplace for your living room, den, or master bedroom (or all three), consider including a gas hook-up on your deck for a barbecue. It might not boost your resale value a whole lot, but it’s an inexpensive way to set yourself apart on the housing market when you sell your home.

  • Basement Bars

Okay, this one is a nice-to-have, not a must-have. Basement bars are a fun feature that don’t cost a lot, but help your house stand out from others on the market when it’s time to sell. Like luxurious ensuite bathrooms, basement bars appeal to the imagination, and while homebuyers generally focus on practical features in a home they’re viewing, they’re also considering how a house makes them feel. And basement bars just make people feel good.

Poor Resale Value

  • Energy Efficient Upgrades

Don’t get us wrong—energy efficiency is important, especially if you’re planning on staying in your home long-term. Things like spray foam insulation, triple pane windows, and low-flush toilets will probably save you some money on your utility bills, but they won’t improve your resale value. From a pure cost perspective, these upgrades are expensive, and if you put them in because you think they’re going to be a big selling feature down the road, you’re going to be disappointed.

  • Tile or Rubber Roofs

Tile and rubber roofs look good and offer some real benefits, including improved energy efficiency, lower maintenance, and increased weather-proofing. But like other energy efficient upgrades, both tile and rubber roofs are cost-prohibitive and really don’t add a lot to the resale value of your home.

  • Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood was the ultimate sign of luxury in the 80s and 90s, but there’s a reason homebuilders and homebuyers are shifting away from hardwood flooring. It’s not cheap; it’s not durable; and it’s not cool (for lack of a better word). Vinyl composite tile and vinyl composite plank flooring will be far more durable and stylish at a fraction of the cost of hardwood. Even the most expensive vinyl plank will look better and cost less than hardwood.

  • Closet Organizing Systems

Closets are a money pit. People can spend upwards of $4,000 on a closet organizing system that gets stacked with old shoe boxes and suitcases and boardgames and then hidden behind closed doors. It’s just storage. And while good storage is really good to have, homebuilders will build any custom racks that are needed anyway, so save your money for something that offers real resale value.

  • Wood Burning Fireplaces

Everyone thinks they want a wood-burning fireplace when they begin a build process, and who can blame them? When you think of a wood-burning fireplace, you think of cozy winter days beside a crackling fire. What you don’t think about is the hassle that comes with cleaning and maintaining a wood-burning fireplace. But homebuyers will, once they’ve taken some time to mull it over.

  • Home Audio Systems

Think about your smartphone. Now think about the cellphone you had ten years ago. Technology gets dated quickly, and home audio systems are no exception. Even if you install a top-of-the-line home audio system today, there’s no guarantee you’re going to get a return on that investment tomorrow.

Building a home is a big decision, and ultimately, you want a home that will meet your wants and needs for many years to come. Maybe that means putting in energy efficient upgrades or installing a wood burning fireplace—and that’s okay. It’s your home. You can choose the features you want. But it’s important to understand that the features that are valuable to you won’t always be valuable for a homebuyer down the road.

If you’re looking for the right balance between the features you want and the upgrades that homebuyers will pay for in the future, give us a call or stop by our show home. We would be happy to help you find upgrades that will meet your needs today while still offering you good resale value tomorrow.

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