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Value Add Home Improvements

If you have the funds to perform improvements on your home, you want to also consider the long-term payback in terms of increase in value and payback when you sell. So, what improvements get you the best return?

 

Adding Square Footage – although a quite significant project both in time and money, this can return between 50-83% of the initial investment.

 

A Deck – adding this brings more use and appeal to the outdoor space, and can return between 65-90% of initial investment.

 

Kitchen Re-Model – there is a sweet spot here, extremely niche styles with million dollar price tags don’t return. However, quality timeless appliances and finishes can get you a return between 50-120% of initial investment.

 

A New Bathroom – adding a bathroom, especially to a one bathroom home (typically older homes have a shortage of bathrooms) can return 80-130% of initial investment.

 

The most important thing to consider is who your future potential buyers may be. Make improvement that will be generally seen as increasing the appeal and livability of the home.

Assessments and Appraisals

The value on an assessment notice may vary quite a bit from a mortgage or real estate appraisal. One reason for this may be the timing that the assessment was done; versus the appraisal just done reflecting the most recent value based on the current market conditions.

Home Appraisal

An appraisal provides you with a document outlining an estimate of a property’s current fair market value. Since an appraisal and an assessment are not definitively connected, most lenders will require as a condition, that an up to date appraisal be performed. Lenders use this valuation to base the size of mortgage they are comfortable lending.

Appraisers are highly regulated and provide unbiased valuations who take into consideration the property, home, location, conditions and many other external factors such as nearby amenities and access to public transportation. Some lenders will provide a list of approved appraisers they accept.

It is most often the borrower that is responsible for the cost of the appraisal, which upon completion will be sent directly to the lender. The lender is getting assurance that they are making a good investment for the value of the subject property.

Even though the borrower has paid for the appraisal, they are often now allowed to look at the report –although usually a consolidated version – until after closing. The appraiser performs the report following the parameters defined by the lender. It is the choice of the lender to allow the borrower he see the report. Reason for this strict access on the lenders part is to avoid the borrower taking the report to multiple lenders in search of the best deal.

Some lender may offer to refund the cost of appraisal after funding your mortgage.

Preparing for an Appraisal

  • Appraisals do include pictures of the exterior and interior of a property, so clean up and consider the curb appeal of your property.
  • Make sure to note all upgrades that you have done and the costs associated to assure they are not overlooked.

Look for any small repairs that may affect the value and make repairs before the appraisal is done; it is likely that the appraiser could over estimate the cost, thus having a significant effect on your value.