Is It Possible to Over-Improve Your Home?

Everyone loves a good home improvement show, right? There’s nothing quite like the big reveal at the end when no expense was spared, and the result is nothing less than spectacular. 

But, while it’s fine – and expected – to push a budget to its limits for a TV show, doing so on your own home may not pay off as you hope. Depending on a few important factors – the real estate market, what buyers want, and the neighborhood where you live – you may need to dial it back when it comes to home improvement. 

Before you start tearing out the walls, consider the following.

Understanding the Market

Is your’s is a buyer’s market or a seller’s market right now? It’s easy to tell by simply asking a real estate agent or checking out the trends on Zillow. 

If there are a lot of nice homes not selling, it’s likely a buyer’s market. This means buyers have plenty of choices and are opting for the homes with the nicest amenities in the nicest neighborhoods first. 

If, on the other hand, homes in the area are selling like hotcakes, it’s a seller’s market. This means there aren’t enough homes to go around and buyers are snapping them up quickly. In this case, sellers often get above asking price due to bidding wars. 

Knowing which type of market you’re dealing with when you’re ready to sell will let you know how much you really need to do to sell your home. For example, if it’s a buyer’s market, you may need to do more to sell your home. If it’s a seller’s market, you can probably get away with making fewer improvements since buyers will likely be competing for your home regardless. 

Knowing Your Neighborhood

The age and appearance of your neighborhood play a role in whether your renovations pay off or not. For instance, if the homes within your neighborhood are 50 years old or more, you don’t want to make improvements that make your home worth more than the other homes nearby. On the other hand, if your neighborhood is relatively new and your home is the shabbiest on the block, you may want to make more renovations to bring it up to speed. 

Most buyers aren’t willing to pay $450,000 for a home in a neighborhood where the average home value is only $300,000, so don’t over-improve your home so much so that it makes it difficult to sell.

Improvements that Matter Most to Buyers

If you aren’t sure what renovations make the most difference when it comes to selling time, stick with improvements buyers look for most. An updated master bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen can up the value of your home and make it more appealing to buyers. If there are additional funds in your budget, consider replacing some flooring or updating little things like light fixtures and doorknobs. 

If you take the time to understand the market and what buyers are looking for when it’s time to sell your home, you’ll be able to make the right improvements that up the value of your home and help it sell quickly.