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Why “Invisible Renovations” Aren’t Good Enough

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Invisible renovations

You may think that upgrading the way your home functions at a structural level would give you some major leverage when it comes time to sell. However, all you’re really doing is creating “invisible renovations” that may not give you much of a bargaining chip at the negotiating table.

But what exactly are “invisible renovations”? They’re things that a potential buyer isn’t going to notice right away – like new insulation, better windows, or a foundation upgrade. Invisible renovations can be very important to the way your home functions on a daily basis (for example, they can dramatically impact your home’s utility bills or make your home safer during a storm). But since they’re not as dramatic as a bold new paint color or a new set of granite countertops, they don’t make the same first impression that other renovations do. And, unfortunately, that can mean they won’t fetch you as much money in a sale as traditional renovations do. Remember, the name of the game in home renovations is recouping your investment. It’s not good enough to wind up with renovations that YOU love. If you ever plan on selling your home, you’ve also got to think about what potential buyers will love, too. Since banks aren’t showering people with loans like they used to a few years ago, you’re going to wind up spending a lot more of your own money to pay for your home renovations. So, if you want to get the most bang for your buck, you’ve got to keep potential buyers in the back of your mind. That means you can’t focus solely on invisible renovations.

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Why? Typically, buyers only pay for what they can see. While a buyer might eventually be thrilled to hear about your brand new HVAC system or your new plumbing system, they’re not going to be wowed by either of those things when they pull up to your home. Instead, they’re going to notice that the siding is a little shabby, that the landscaping needs to be replaced, and that the front door could use a fresh coat of paint. So, if you don’t address the visible things in addition to the invisible stuff, you could wind up losing money in the end!

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How is that possible? After all, many of these invisible things – like plumbing, electrical, and foundation upgrades – are major projects! While they can (literally!) make or break your home, invisible repairs aren’t “sexy”. They don’t do anything to add curb appeal, so as a result, they typically don’t add enough value to your home to offset the money you spend on them. In some cases, invisible add-ons can be a life-saver. For example, if you have a historic home, you may want to add special storm-proof windows. Since they don’t look any different from their original counterparts, you can get the protection you need, without having the historical council breathing down your neck. Invisible renovations like these are the exception, rather than the norm, though.

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So, how do you bridge the gap if your home isn’t one of these exceptions? Blend your invisible projects with visible ones. For example, if you need some structural work done on your roof, get some fresh new tiles, or add a skylight. If your living room wall needs some work, add a bay window. If you’re going to take all of the time, energy, and money to go through the invisible renovation process, you’ve got to throw some visible renovations in there, too. Even if it’s just something as basic as a fresh coat of paint or some new landscaping, potential buyers will immediately know you’ve made some upgrades – without a realtor having to fill them in later!


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