To list or not to list? Should you or shouldn’t you? When a new year arrives, the desire for change usually does, too: health, finances, job, home, education, etc. If you’re wondering whether or not you should take on a change of address in Brooklyn this year, here are 7 strategies to help with that decision:
1. Examine the elements of your home to help you decide to list or not to list
Think about the traffic pattern, how dark your home might be and if you could use a mud room that isn’t there, for example. Now, answer these questions:
- What really bothers you about your home?
- What’s missing?
Often the perfect changes can be made without adding a single square foot. Simply taking down a wall or partial wall, removing or changing doors and adding or enlarging windows, can convince you not to list. Eliminating an unproductive traffic pattern, brightening up your home or adding a missing feature can increase your home’s value as well. In his book Staying Put: Remodel Your House to Get the Home You Want (Taunton Press, 2011) architect Duo Dickinson “offers guidance on looking before you leap, ways to avoid pitfalls (and money pits), strategies for staying green or going geriatric, and moves you can make so you don’t have to move out.”
2. Study the land your home is sitting on
The landscape, condition and size of the property can’t be ignored. It’s a good decision to list if the land your home is sitting on:
- property too small for your gardening passion
- needs more yard for your growing family and summer entertainment (i.e. barbecues, pool, backyard get-togethers …)
- lack of parking on or around your property
Remodeling can’t fix those issues!
3. Discuss and weigh your neighborhood’s plusses
Remodeling to fix your home’s issues might outweigh the option to list your Brooklyn home if your neighborhood offers:
- Shopping for every budget
- Excellent schools
- Safety and family entertainment
- Beautiful parks and walkability
- Special memories (ie: your kids grew up in that house, your daughter got married in the backyard of that house)
4. Think about how long you plan to stay put
If you plan to stay put for at least 5 to 10 years, adding on or finishing a basement, may be worth the time, effort and expense. It will increase your home’s resale value, too. But if empty nesters needing to downsize are more likely to buy in your neighborhood, adding on or finishing your basement probably won’t help you sell in the future.
This is where a good financial planner and a mortgage lender can help. A good financial planner will help you gauge your home’s value in relationship to your assets and the needs of your family. A mortgage lender will discuss the costs of a new mortgage and whether or not you need one.
5. Get estimates from contractors, designers, architects or structural engineers
It’s worth paying to get multiple bids from remodeling professionals. Some even offer free estimates! They will:
- Listen to what you want
- Appraise your home’s present condition
- Point out things you may not have seen or thought about
- Estimate what remodeling could cost realistically
If your house is over 30-years-old and hasn’t been updated, the wiring, plumbing, HVAC system, roof and insulation may need attention. Whether you decide to list or not to list, these things will need to be updated.
6. Compare the resale price and remodeling costs of your home with other homes in your neighborhood
Yes, remodeling isn’t solely done for resale value, and it shouldn’t be. You should consider how much enjoyment adding on or remodeling will give you and your family, but don’t overbuild for your neighborhood. Think of it a little like this: If you live in a neighborhood full of “Volkwagen Bugs,” don’t try to renovate your VW into a “Cadillac.” Changes made to your home will affect its resale value in comparison to other homes in the area. This must be considered. Most people would rather buy a decent home in a great neighborhood than pay for a nicer house in a not-so-great neighborhood. Rismedia.com shares the following great information: The 2016 Cost vs. Value Report compares, across 100 markets, the average cost of 30 popular remodeling projects with their average value at resale one year later. Average resale value is calculated based on estimates provided by real estate professionals. View the full report, including project descriptions and city-level data, here.
Something else to note here: Improvements can affect the value of your home when it comes to taxes. Depending on whether you are knocking down a wall or adding on to your home, your real estate taxes will or will not change. Look into this before you decide to list or not to list.
7. Walk through homes that are available in your price range in neighborhoods you like
You may find a home with a better floor plan. You may discover one with the just the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a great kitchen and a great yard, too. It may need some paint, new carpet or a renovated master bathroom, but compared to the costs of remodeling your current home, you should list.
Sometimes it makes better financial sense to list. Sometimes it makes better financial sense not to list. Before deciding to list or not to list, consider the cost and time of remodeling your home and all the facts.
Get estimates. Talk with a financial advisor and mortgage lender. Call me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate at (718) 253-9600 ext. 206 or send your questions to [email protected]. I’ll provide you with comps for your neighborhood. Together we can help you decide to list or not to list.