5 Questions to Ask When Beginning a Home Renovation or Addition

Renovated Home in Kansas City | NSPJ Architects

Residential architecture clients often ask us, “Will the renovation I want also be good for resale?” Understandably, clients are concerned about “overbuilding,” especially in an already heightened real estate market. We can’t promise that a decision a client makes today will always be appreciated – aesthetically or financially – by a future potential buyer, but there are five key questions that can help protect “overbuild regret.”

When planning an addition or renovation, we review five questions with our clients:

  • Is this a solution to a problem that other people can identify with? For example, most people can relate to anything that adds space or storage. The more that other potential buyers understand how they can benefit from the improvement you made, the more positive impact the improvement will have on home resale.
  • How unique is the style? The more signature and personal the style, the more challenging it may be to find a buyer who will either appreciate it, or who will have the inclination, time, and resources to change it.
  • How easily could this be adapted for another use? A room with a single-purpose use (like an indoor sauna or swimming pool) could present a challenge to resale, depending on the needs of your potential buyers don’t have the same needs. Alternatively, spaces that can be converted with some light construction or some interior design changes so they serve a different need are generally an easier sell.
  • Is this in keeping with a growing trend? Features that today may seem extravagant may boost resale value, if they’re part of a growing trend. For example, a decade ago, a personal wine cellar was not something the average buyer would have considered a must-have or even a nice-to-have. As people have become more interested in (and even investing in) wine, though, a personal wine cellar is now distinctly in the “plus” column for resale.
  • How important is this to you? This is the most important question of all of them. Home renovations or additions are often the reflections of a client’s family history, dream, or lifetime goal. While impacted by economics, they can also be highly personal and emotional. It’s helpful for everyone involved to know from the outset what’s driving the decisions.

Both emotion and practicality factor in to residential design. To create a plan that achieves a client’s goals while helping them avoid overbuild regret, we discuss with them why they want the things they want. This allows us to create different versions of those things at different scales. For example, there are lots of ways to do an indoor/outdoor space, so we might talk about different options and see how the client feels about each one. This allows the client to move forward with their original vision with an understanding of how their choices may impact long-term resale, and without regret.

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