Make the Right Improvements in this Cooling Housing Market

Make the Right Improvements in this Cooling Housing Market


–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – CONTEXTO LATINO)–September 25, 2007–Visit a family member’s new home and you may be inspired to renovate your home this summer, thinking it will be a worthwhile investment. Remodeling can cost a pretty penny, but it can provide significant returns when it comes time to sell your home — if you do it right.

“The housing market is not what it was only a year or two ago. Things have cooled off significantly. Interest rates are up, houses are staying on the market longer, and some sellers haven’t gotten used to the idea that price is now a major player in how attractive a home is for buyers,” says Nestor Esparragoza, expert at The Home Depot. “Under these circumstances, if you’re planning on renovating to make your home more appealing to buyers, it’s worth taking a closer look at what investments will offer you the greatest monetary return.”

Certain home renovations can make your home more enjoyable and more marketable. Others, however, can be costly with no guarantee for a future pay-off. If you’re looking to make wise decisions, the first rule is to avoid the unusual in terms of improvements. The experts at The Home Depot offer the following for consideration.

1. Bathrooms and Kitchens: Mid-level kitchen and bath remodels can offer some of the highest returns available (92.9 % – kitchen, 102.2% – bath*.) The kitchen has always been the gathering place for Hispanic families. Therefore, potential buyers want it to stand out and be updated. Kitchen remodels can range from new appliances, to new countertops, to adding an island. Experts say that an extra bathroom can be very appealing for families, and most agree that you can’t lose on adding a bath to a home if there is space.

2. New Siding: To improve curb appeal and give your home a major facelift, new siding, particularly high-end siding offers a very high return. The new siding will be attractive and can increase energy efficiency, making it beneficial for buyers. Lean toward the neutral shades of siding when making a change, however, and keep any architectural accents in line with the rest of the house and the neighborhood. You don’t want Greek columns on a craftsmen-style home.

3. Assess your home’s value and the neighborhood: Improvement returns vary regionally and even from neighborhood to neighborhood. That is why it is extremely important to take the neighborhood into consideration when budgeting improvements. You want to increase the value of your home, but not make it exceed the other homes in the area. Granite countertops could be the latest thing, but not worth the investment if no one on your street has them. Being too extravagant will cost a lot and may not bring you the return you were expecting. “Don’t exceed the going rate in your neighborhood,” says Esparragoza. ”You don’t want to end up being the most expensive house for sale in your area, which will make it much harder for you to sell or negotiate price.”

4. Decks: Consider adding a deck if they are common in your area. Decks increase outdoor living and entertaining space and definitely improve the curb appeal of the home. Staging the deck with upscale outdoor furniture that provides an outdoor oasis can definitely entice buyers.

Renovation Surprises

There are certain renovations that may seem like they’d be a goldmine, but in fact, can reduce a home’s value. Even in a good real estate market, not all projects have widespread appeal.

— In some areas of the country where the weather is continually warm, swimming pools are a wise investment, especially if they fit in with the neighborhood. However, elsewhere pools can turn off buyers, particularly those who are concerned with the insurance and upkeep of a pool. Parents of young children may see a pool as an unwanted hazard and walk away from a sale.

— When done right, the addition of a family room or extra bedroom could be profitable, but if it looks awkward from the outside of the home and doesn’t fit in with the home’s style, it could affect a sale.

— Trendy finishes can look dated as trends fizzle out, so avoid any renovations that are ultra-trendy and stick with timeless changes. Even stainless-steel appliances are seeing a decrease in popularity, as homeowners prefer the appeal of appliances concealed behind wood-tone panels in lieu of an “industrial” kitchen. Also, avoid shiny gold or silver finishes on hardware and faucets. Brushed nickel and matte finishes are a better option.

— When renovating the bathroom, an oversized shower with a rain showerhead will be more attractive than a whirlpool tub. Young homebuyers are always on the go and will appreciate the time savings allowed by a shower, rather than lounging in a tub. Plus, those fancy tubs aren’t practical for bathing children.

For ideas and products that homeowners can use to make the right renovations, visit a local The Home Depot store or log onto

* “Remodeling” magazine reports

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Make the Right Improvements in this Cooling Housing Market