Improve it but don't over do it.


( February 21, 2006) — Plenty of home owners have tapped into their home equity in recent years to finance improvement projects in the hopes of boosting resale value. However, it’s important to avoid overimproving, as owners likely will not recoup their costs when they sell.

If owners must unload their property quickly, there is even a chance that they could owe more than the dwelling is worth.

"Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a fairly significant core of the population spending more than half the value of their home on improvements," says Kermit Baker, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

Remodeling expenditures hit $127 billion in 2004, marking a gain of 6 percent from the previous year, according to the center. To avoid overimproving, home owners are encouraged to consult a real estate professional, who can conduct a comparable sales analysis and provide information about how certain projects would impact resale value.

Experts also discourage unique designs that are not likely to be appealing to a wide range of buyers. The 2005 Cost vs. Value Report, which is published jointly by Remodeling magazine and REALTOR® Magazine, shows that home owners can recoup more than 100 percent of the cost of upscale siding and mid-range bathroom upgrades, 95 percent of the cost of a two-story addition, and close to 99 percent of the costs of a minor kitchen remodel.

Source: The Washington Times, Shelly K. Schwartz (02/17/06)

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