I just returned from a most brief discussion about a potential renovation project in Wellesley. The meeting was a full 15 minutes. After a quick introduction, the home owner said “so, what should I do? I’ll walk you around and then you can tell me.” I shouldn’t have been confused, I am the professional in the mix and that is why he called me, right? I had to ask though…”What is it you need?”
He went on to tell me that he was going to have some repair work and painting done- but wanted my opinion on whether he should add on to his house before he did that. After a few questions about the lifestyle in the home, it was clear that he didn’t need any space, but thought if he could build something that had value for the future- why not, maybe a new master suite would improve the value? As we looked at some of the additions in the neighborhood- including a couple that I had done, we discussed the benefit of a while-you-are-at-it project and I had to tell him- “Don’t do a thing!”
In the 90’s, I built a lot of family rooms without doing anything else to the home. I like to think of that period in my building education as “generic home- just add family room”. The family room gained so much popularity that folks didn’t even consider what happened to the rest of the house and the family just abandoned the living room. The bottom line is, when trying to find the benefit, calculate the cost and then see what items are for enjoyment that are worth it to you.
Think about the value you get from new furniture and drapes… a nicer-looking, well-maintained home sells for more than a home with deferred maintenance issues and no interior design…but how much money do you make on a new couch at re-sale? I would have to think it isn’t an investment in cash; furniture is an investment in comfort and pleasure. While added square feet and a new bath will add to your home, my suggestion is that if it makes your life better, do it, and if you want an investment- call your stock broker.