Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor®
Philadelphia Main Line Homes and Real Estate
Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties
Relocation Specialist
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E-mail: jp4re@pahomes.com
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Subject: Choosing Options That Add Value Will Pay Off At Resale

Whether buying a new home or renovating an existing one, you want the upgrades and options you choose to personalize your home. However, if you are looking to recoup some of your investment during resale, you need to know that not all enhancements add value.

As a general rule, functionality wins over cosmetic and neutral is preferable over the exotic. Current trends also play a factor. According to HousingZone.com, some popular features among suburban home buyers are: oak kitchen cabinets with natural finishes, hardwood flooring in the foyer, kitchen and hallway, kitchen islands and pantries, and door levers instead of the traditional round knob.

If you are remodeling an existing home, take a look at resale properties in your neighborhood and compare it to newer properties. This will give you an idea what may be considered a standard or luxury item.

If you are selecting upgrades to a new home, ask the builder how much other buyers are spending on upgrades, as well as the type of upgrades. Use this information as a gauge so that you won't over-improve your home. National research shows that the typical home buyer spends $5,000 to $7,500 on options (source: New Home Options Become Commonplace, Sept. 19, 2001, Realty Times).

Your real estate professional can also give you guidance on the type of options and upgrades that can add resale value to your property.

Below are some enhancements that will more than likely provide a return for your investment.

In this age of high-tech, having your home wired for high-speed Internet access and computer data ports throughout the house is a plus. In addition, extra ceiling fan outlets give buyers the flexibility of adding more fans.

This is a valuable option that is worth more in certain locations such as the family room rather than in rooms such as guest bedrooms.

Upgrading your carpet padding can make your carpet last longer, especially in high-traffic areas. You may also want to upgrade the carpet in those areas as well.

Hardwood floors are another popular feature that many buyers are interested in and are willing to pay extra for.

Updating your cabinets and counter tops are just two minor changes you can make that will modernize your kitchen and increase your home's resale value. According to Remodeling magazine, minor kitchen enhancements return more value than any other remodeling project.

New siding can give a much needed facelift to an older home. Vinyl siding is preferable because it comes in almost any color and wood texture. It is also easy to maintain.

Adding a deck can provide a comfortable outdoor setting for homeowners to get some fresh air, relax and entertain. According to Remodeling magazine, deck addition projects recoup 54 percent of the initial investment at resale.

Although, your home is an investment, it is just as important that you are able to enjoy it. Just because an enhancement doesn't add monetary value doesn't mean you shouldn't add it. So, go ahead and add the two spas in the back yard or the fireplace in the kitchen. Just be aware that if you do, don't expect others to want to pay extra for it. Most future homebuyers will be willing to pay more for the upgrades, but not substantially.

"Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: jp4re@pahomes.com. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors® is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.

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