Should we remodel our 3/1 in 78704 to make it more appealing to buyers and get a higher sale price?

Asked by Ss1325, Austin, TX Wed May 23, 2012

The kitchen has been updated with new appliances but there is only one tiny bathroom that is in the hallway and I think most buyers want a master bathroom that is inside the bedroom. Also we do not have a garage but instead a carport with one closed in room that contains the washer and dryer so you have to go outside to do laundry. Is that something that would deter buyers? There is no real "master" bedroom as they are all small and no room for a kitchen or dining table either because of the floorplan. The house is 904 sq feet and we are either going to sell it or remodel and stay there but I would like to know about the restricions on home additions. I heard it was something like no more than 50% of the current square footage which is not a very big addition in our case. I am curious if anyone can help me find the building restrictions for the area and if it would be worth it to do. We are close to S. Lamar and Bluebonnet if that helps. Thank you!

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Perry Henderson’s answer
Perry Hender…, Agent, Austin, TX
Mon Mar 11, 2013
Sell it as is and frankly, construction is pain in the rear. Not only will you make a higher profit by doing nothing... You wont have to work with Contractors and the 3-1 will sell to a contractor would specializes in adding space and flipping.

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Betina Forem…, Agent, Austin, TX
Sat Mar 23, 2013
This question is a year old and should be closed. It's been answered a million times already. People it's time to move on to current questions.
1 vote
1st Zero-Emi…, , Austin, TX
Sat Mar 23, 2013
Doing add-ons will depend on the size of your Lot.

The decision to sell or to add-on, now that's a fun subject!

Here's my personal opinion, which is gathered from what I take notice of in my line of work as a real estate agent:

Adding on to a home presents a future problem of foundation issues.
If you were to also go in and do foundation work to completely secure your entire home, including the new add-on, then you could rest knowing that your entire footprint is on solid ground.
However, that requires the cost of "foundation repair", an expense that goes 100% unnoticed when a buyer walks into your home.

It's preventative of future shifting, which causes interior cracking and damages to sheetrock, etc.
Bigger problems with foundation shifting is plumbing/water main breaks.

In my experience, 90% of foundation issues I see are because of an add-on.

It's real simple. You change the footprint of the home, adding weight and changing the soil fluctuation in areas that once got water to expand and contrast with the rest of the home as it has been doing for the past 50 years (probably 50 years if you're near Bluebonnet and Lamar).

Spending the extra $5k-$15K on a foundation job secures the home, but again is an expense that goes unnoticed because there isn't any visual value added to the home.

However, when a foundation shifts (which is common with add-ons because most don't know about this) then it goes highly noticed by buyers because your house is cracking, your doors are closing on their own, and the home feels like a fun house at a carnival where your equilibrium is off as you walk room to room!

Ok, that was a bit dramatic, but very possible in the bigger foundation issues that arise.

Central Austin soil is more prone to this too.

My personal opinion... Sell and buy another.
I live in 78704. Feel free to contact me to chat more about this subject.
Here are the houses for sale in 78704 as well.…
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0 votes
Josh Lasserre, Agent, Austin, TX
Fri Jul 20, 2012
You will definitely add value by adding on a master suite. There are several 3/1's in 04 but lets face it its impractical and inconvenient. Buyers are paying a premium for homes in your location and some are willing to pay more for a home that is completely facilitated and offers more than the compromise that a 3/1 is.

The way things are selling in 04 now I'd be unconcerned with current laundry location such as it is; though if you do a thoughtful addition you could integrate a laundry room into the expansion.

The restrictions you write of relate to non-permeable coverage of the lot, so the square footage of the house may not exceed 45-50% or the lot square footage; this may compel you to add a master on s second story addition depending on how big your lot is.

Take a look at the city's Residential and Compatibility Standards here:…
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Rodney Harris, , Austin, TX
Wed May 23, 2012
I don't live far from your location (s. First and Stassney) and have sold multiple homes in your neighborhood. I would be happy in assiting you with your research. Market statistics are available to research values at different square footages to show you cause and effect with your differnt options. I work with investors on a regular basis whose project estimators are good at estimating what rehabs will cost expense wise. On a side note if you do sell my company offers Full Service Listings for only 4.5% versus higher fees by most other and we pay our buyers to purchase with cash back rebates up to $2000. Please contact me if I can be of service.

Rodney Harris
Realtor/Austin Team Leader
Ready Real Estate
0 votes
Sara Scott R…, , Cedar Park, TX
Wed May 23, 2012

Your instincts are correct in what buyers will be looking for, and expect. They will also not be willing to pay more to get features that they expect to already be in the home. That being said, yes you will be able to sell at a higher price if you complete the renovations than you will for the current condition of the home, but you will most likely not be able to get back all that you put in.

The links below show an estimated return on value of some common renovations.……

Another factor to the numbers listed on the above links is how your neighborhood will compare with your new renovations. Ultimately, you can still only get the price that your neighborhood market will allow for.

I also imagine that if you do these renovations, you will want to stay in the home because it will then have all of things that you have been wanting. So then you will need to determine the best course of action as far as your finances are concerned. I work with a great guy who works for United Lending. He can talk to you about renovation loans, which typically require 20% down, or your other options with selling and purchasing another home.

Give me a call at 512-578-8525 and I can get the information for you on the restrictions.

Sara Scott
Keller Williams Realty
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Betina Forem…, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed May 23, 2012
Dear SS1325,
Your question is a good one. 78704 is a very popular area for home buyers. The question to remodel or not should depend on if you plan to stay in thta home. Rarely do you get all of your money back on a remodel done only to sell. If you stay then it makes sense to do the remodel to suit your needs. If your concerned about only being able add 50% of the square footage, is that adding 50% to the homes"footprint"? If so you could simply go up and add a second story. Another factor to consider is the size of your lot. If its large enough to hold two condos or a duplex a developer may buy it and tear down the current home to build two larger units. In that instance you should not spend money to update the existing home.

0 votes
JOSEPH E JAR…, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed May 23, 2012
The biggest question I see is if you're going to sell or stay in your current home. If you're going to sell, I'd be happy to come take a look and give you my expert opinion on what you should or shouldn't do. I have a lot of experience in that arena, as I am a Realtor and own a home building company as well. If you're going to stay, remodel to a degree but don't overbuild for your neighborhood as you probably won't get all of the money you put into the house back, depending on how much you spend and how long you stay in the house.
If you are considering selling, please click on my photo to the right and review my credentials and client testimonials and contact me if you'd like some further assistance. I'd be happy to help and will steer you in the right direction! Joe Jarusinsky, Keller Williams Realty, 512-261-4415
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Cynthia Carl…, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed May 23, 2012
Great location and it is sought after but with a home as small as yours a remodel that will really increase the value could be very costly. Depending on your specific section of 78704 it might not be practical. It seems you need more information: the current value of your house and value of homes that are improved and similar to yours and how much the desired improvements would cost. When you have all the information you can make a better decision and evaluate cost/benefit of making improvements. This is a big decision and you should engage a full time Realtor and an architect to begin the process.

Good luck and I am happy to help.
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Cathy Douglas, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed May 23, 2012
I too live in 78704 and that question comes up a bit.

It sounds like you guys are in the exploratory stage of things. Depending on how much renovation you are considering it could be cost preventative to remodel and sell. If you know that you want to stay where you are than the overall cost to renovate has a different impact as it falls into the quality of life and lifestyle category.
I would suggest you sit down with a professional to see what your current value would be to sell and determine if that option is worthwhile.
In terms of renovation and building restrictions- you may want to talk with the city. Your ability to add on to your home is related more to the 40% of impervious cover on your lot size not your home size.

If I can be of more assistance to you, please let me know.
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Thanks for your help. What is impervious cover? I saw on a link posted below the restriction is something like 0.4 x the lot size, which in our case is around 2500 if I did that right.
Flag Wed May 23, 2012
Susan Kramer, , Austin, TX
Wed May 23, 2012
78704 is so popular your house will sell. It is often hard to add on/remodel a house successfully-the living room ends up too small for how much you add on or some other proportion gets out of whack. A small house is a small house.
I believe your information about amount you can add on is incorrect. If you really want to stay where you are, and I must admit your location is a wonderful one, I would recommend you pay for an initial consultation with an architect. He would know "McMansion" rules about how much you can add on. It is a pretty complicated ordnance. Size of your lot, whether on a corner or interior, and many other factors come into play. One saving grace is 78704 can handle differences in size of house without losing value at time of resale. A more consistant neighborhood would carry the risk of over improving for the area.
I live in the Clarksville area in an older house. I have also been a Realtor here in Austin for over 30 years, so I have a good bit of experience on close-in houses. Call me if you wish and I will come look at your house to help you think it through.
Susan Kramer, broker, ABR, CRS
Turnquist Partners 477-1948 (H) 328-3939 (O) 709-9402 (c)
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John Crowe, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed May 23, 2012
I wouldn't advise remodeling to sell, so I like the idea that if you do you plan to stay. There are a number of resources available to share possibilities. It's going to come down to lot size and restrictions. If you need help, contact me or anyone else on this thread. I can provide names of good people, as I'm certain they can too.

Good luck!
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Janet Quenon…, , San Antonio, TX
Wed May 23, 2012
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Bill Austin, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed May 23, 2012
This is a tough situation and while you provided what seems like a lot there is no way to answer you intelligently here. If you are looking for a professional full time Realtor to work with you through the whole process I"d be glad to dig in and help.

0 votes
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