A serious issue plaguing real estate in this day and age is the existence of cable television networks, such as HGTV and the DIY network.
While they are certainly entertaining and can provide great information, we often lose sight of their place in real estate — which is actually non-existent. They truthfully don’t belong in real estate at all. They are solely meant for entertainment. Like any reality television program, they are directed, produced and edited; never true to life or 100% accurate and applicable to all situations.
The biggest concern of all are the home renovation programs. Patrons become engrossed in these programs and desire to imitate their idols. These shows are glorified and glamorous, and often fail to adequately depict how real estate functions in real life. I’m often faced with performing damage control because my clients have taken a real estate crash course via HGTV 101, and now know more than I, the professional, about real estate.
So, I would like to take a moment and reprogram everyone away from the ways of DIY network. Please put down the chalk paint, burlap, shiplap, and sander. Step away from the reclaimed wood pile. Exit Home Depot, Hobby Lobby and Michael’s — and just listen to me for a minute. I promise this won’t take long, and you can still craft and rehab to your heart’s content, because I know it’s fun and there’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s important that you understand something…
All the crafting, DIYing, rehabbing and HGTVing in the world isn’t going to help you if you don’t understand how real estate works. If you don’t understand the deep financial factors of your local market, you are in trouble. You can have a beautifully decorated and designed home that looks like it belongs in a magazine spread, and buyers can think it is amazing and fall all over themselves, drooling at the chance to own it. However, if you have failed to maintain your home’s main components or structures, it isn’t going to be worth half of what you put into it.
Remodeling a bathroom when your foundation is failing is like putting lipstick on a pig, or polishing a turd. Your décor and design aren’t worth as much as you think, and don’t have as much of an impact on your home’s value as television will have you believe. If you really think you can spend $500 and make $50,000, you need an industry professional! Appraisers don’t care that your bathroom tile was deemed the hottest trend in bathrooms by a celebrity home renovator. That’s not how things work.
Let me clarify that, yes, updating a home has the potential to increase its value, there’s no denying that. However, it is how you update that matters. Just because you spent $15,000 on granite doesn’t mean that your home is now worth $15,000 more than when you purchased it. You have to update things that improve the home overall to the majority of people.
New windows, a new roof, energy efficient upgrades and improving the layout and flow matter more than custom draperies and fancy unnecessary finishes. You also have to have realistic expectations — again, a $500 invest doesn’t make $50,000 in value. Money spent doesn’t automatically equate to value earned.
A very important factor that is most often overlooked is that your home has to be able to support the renovations you are putting in to it. You can load a home with granite, stainless, hand-scraped hardwoods and all the distressed and rustically beautiful touches you want, but if you’re the only home in the neighborhood boasting those features, your appraisal is going to make you cry! Square footage and location have the biggest effect on home value over anything, no matter what.
If you want to use HGTV as inspiration, please pay attention — the formula is to have and rehab the “WORST HOME, IN THE BEST NEIGHBORHOOD!” So, do the research, invest wisely and always get a professional’s input. We work hard, educate and dedicate ourselves to this industry, use us! Now…I return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
Our guest poster Cassandra Simpson is a Realtor, CMRS, VA Specialist and you can reach her at www.letsimpsonsellit.com.0