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Will that remodel add to your home's resale value?

remodel-breakfast nook.jpg
Loren Owensby

Remodeling can turn boring into wow but will it add to the value of your home? If your goal is to sell your home at a higher price after you doll it up, it pays to first ask some serious questions about the house, the land  it sits on, and the neighborhood.

Seattle-area real estate appraiser tells KPLU's John Maynard that most "remodeling guides" in glossy mags and realty fliers are often based on opinions from real estate agents.

"So, be very careful about where you're getting your information. It's risky to base an important business decision like this on anecdotal comments."

Hagar does recommend, however, a couple of sites that he says base their information more on hard data. They include, a site that releases a fact-based survey about home improvement and staging. Not surprising, says Hagar, the latest survey shows that when it comes to fixing up your home for resale, making "neat and clean" your number one priority will bring you the best return on your investment. 

Another site he recommends for remodel and resale guidance is the online trade magazine remodel which puts out an annual report on the relationship between remodeling costs and resale value with national and regional averages for popular remodeling projects.

But even when you're armed with solid information about the money you put into sprucing up your house versus the financial gains you expect to see when you sell your property, Hagar says home owners still need to take a hard look at whether their house is a candidate for being knocked down. He told KPLU's John Maynard that it's a cold, hard fact that in many fast-growing cities like Seattle, developers are often more interested in the land than the house itself.

"Ultimately, developers can make a bigger profit by tearing down the existing structure and replacing it with multi-family housing."

So, look around. Check your neighborhood's zoning. Look at how your neighborhood is trending, street by street. If your neighborhood looks safe for reselling your home without the risk of it being knocked down, Hagar says don't forget the simple stuff: Neat and clean. Fresh paint. All the personal clutter off the shelves. And, whatever you do, don't smoke in the house!

John Maynard started working in radio in the seventies as a DJ at Seattle’s KJR AM which at the time was the dominant AM station in the Seattle market. After a brief stint as a restaurateur and night club owner, Maynard returned to radio with Robin Erickson, creating the hugely popular “Robin and Maynard Show.” In the more than 20 years under that marquee, Maynard flew with the Blue Angels, piloted the Goodyear Blimp, sang with Donny Osmond and hung out in a Universal Studios bar with Kojak (Telly Savalas).
Richard Hagar's real estate career spans more than 30 years. He currently serves as a real estate investor, real estate agent, appraiser, and an SRA with the Appraisal Institute.