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  • Writer's pictureJessica Doberneck

"Love where you live! Who cares about resale value?!"

I frequently get asked, "If I renovate X to look/function like Y, will that negatively affect my resale value?" I LOVE getting this question! I wish more people checked in with a professional before making rash remodeling decisions. As a realtor with a background in interior design, I love seeing others consider their remodels to be calculated financial decisions.


However, in the online world, I almost always see this response to that same question:


“Who cares about resale value?! It’s your house do whatever you want to it! Love where you live!”


Every time I see comments like this I cringe. I absolutely hate it.


Your house is your LARGEST growing asset. Why would you ruin your chances of gaining any equity when you sell because “YOLO!”


I understand you may consider this your "forever home." I can't tell you how many times people say, "This is our forever home!" and they move 3 years later. On average, people move every 5 years, so statistically, this isn't your forever home even if you wanted it to be. Even if you fully intend to stay in the home forever, you never know if there will be a life-altering event that will force you to move; job loss, job change, death in the family, inflation, your kids not having a good friendgroup, etc.


People don’t want to drop 30k on a new kitchen to turn around and learn it would hinder their house’s ability to sell. If you're critical about that renovation, you could ensure that a 30k kitchen remodel will bank 50k more in your home's value. Rather than spending 30k on a unique/funky kitchen remodel that drives any potential buyer away and you have to drop the house price 30k+ to get it sold.


I would vomit if I knew I made a decision that could potentially lose our family $30,000!


Storytime


When Tyson and I were house shopping in Anthem, Arizona 4 years ago we considered buying a "unique" house. It was clear that these homeowners decorated the house to their unique liking and functional needs.


These homeowners knocked down a wall between 2 bedrooms to make one long rectangular room, now causing it to be a 3-bed house rather than a 4 bedroom (a huge loss in value for the sellers). The room was such a narrow rectangular shape, it would have been the strangest shaped bedroom.



You could still see where the wall used to be because the contractor (homeowner) did not do a good job with the drywall and wall texture. Some parts were left unpainted.



They had new baseboards put in throughout the whole home, but they never actually touched the ground. There was an obvious gap between the flooring and the baseboards (the pictures make it look better than it was).


They also had crown molding throughout most of the home that had the same issue; it never actually touched the ceiling.



This particular room pictured above didn't have any flooring, it was painted concrete.



You can see the gaps in the crown molding in the photo above. It was a problem throughout the whole house.


The primary bedroom was the worst. The crown molding was even lower off the ceiling leaving enough room for their rope light that not-so-subtly tucked into the crown. The rope light hung off the ceiling and plugged into the wall (not pictured - but I'll never forget that part). The molding that ran up the walls didn't touch the crown molding at the top, so it was just floating molding strips on the wall.



The shower was updated, but the glass partition wasn't up to code. It could easily be wiggled from side to side. The flooring was incredibly slippery. The cabinet hardware was on a 45-degree angle, which we haven't seen since the 70's. There was marble on all the walls, but the paint color was left an obnoxious yellow. So strange.




Grey, black, and white were totally in style 4 years ago, but the flooring throughout the rest of the home made you feel like you were in a black-and-white film. I remember at the time even thinking the flooring was not the best choice.


Not only that but it was installed terribly. Loose planks, weird cuts everywhere, and the transitions to different flooring were bulky and messy. These pictures really hide how bad they were, trust me.


We considered buying the home because we were looking for a fixer-upper, but this didn't feel like it was livable. With the baseboards not touching the floor, it felt like a personal invitation for scorpions and other bugs to enter our home. The flooring would have to be changed/fixed ASAP and that would be a pricy renovation. It was too much too soon for us.


Here's what happened to this house...


This house was listed at $350,000 and never sold. In fact, the agent kept circling back with us offering to lower the price or fix some of the molding issues in the home. Those poor sellers were desperate, Tyson and I felt so sorry for them.


At the same time, another house was listed for sale with the exact floorplan and it sold within 2 days for $385,000. This home was outdated (like most houses in Anthem), but didn't have any funky "updates." It was a neutral blank slate of a house. It also had 3 bedrooms instead of 4, not because they knocked down a wall between 2 bedrooms, but simply because one bedroom didn't have a closet, and was thus considered a den.


This seller lost out on $32,000 because they took the YOLO approach. "Do whatever you want with your house! It's yours! Who cares about resale value?!"


I do. I care. You know who also cares, these poor sellers when they couldn't sell their house because of that exact mindset.


Here's my solution (It's an easy one!)


I don't agree with the mindset of "who cares about resale value," but I am a huge advocate for "loving where you live." But sometimes those two mindsets conflict.


If you’re dead set on changing your home to a unique style (one that is not "sellable") here are my 3 rules:

  1. Try achieving this style with furniture and paint.

  2. If you must replace cabinets, flooring, and countertops with funky materials, please don't spend too much money, because you will likely not see that money back.

  3. Expect to do some updates, prepping, and staging before selling to get your home looking sellable and restore any lost equity. (Your realtor should help with this.)


Lastly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY... When you are ready to sell, call me!


If you want to have a funky home, that's totally fine! Do it! But when you are ready to sell, call me and I'll come do a quick flip to get it sellable and highly desirable! We don't want your home sitting on the market for 82 days (35k under your comparables) and never selling.



I have an Update & Sell Program where my investors will front the renovation costs, we do a quick and affordable flip, and your home will sell significantly faster and for a killer sales price.



If you have any questions about an upcoming renovation, please reach out! I'd love to give my stamp of approval or some advice to consider. And if you're looking to sell your unique home, please reach out! I'd love to help you turn a profit with your property.



Sincerely,

Jessica Doberneck of











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4 Comments


Guest
Mar 02

Do a lot of realtors have/or know someone who does this kind of update and sell program?

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Jessica Doberneck
Jessica Doberneck
Mar 02
Replying to

Short answer: no. I personally do not know any realtors that offer this (aside from those I work with.) I’m sure there’s more out there! I mean, if you’ve seen the HGTV show “unsellable houses,” then I guess I can say those sisters are the only ones I’m aware of that do this haha.


Most realtors have a go-to handyman. And they *should* know what styles sell well (however, you'd be surprised by the lack of design awareness I see in my field of work). The tricky part is coming up with money for the renovation. So they should be able to help to some extent, you may have to do some digging for someone who's at least done nice…


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Guest
Mar 02

Right on point. Could not have said it better

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Jessica Doberneck
Jessica Doberneck
Mar 02
Replying to

Thank you! I've been simmering on this topic for years haha.

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