Which remodel project would increase value of single family New Hope, MN home the most?

Asked by Kristina, New Hope, MN Tue Jun 8, 2010

My husband and I are planning some remodeling projects to make our New Hope, MN house more livable for us, as well as increase its value. We plan to stay in house at least another 5 years. We currently have a 3 bed, 1.5 bath, 2 car, 1600 sq ft single family home (have already remodeled kitchen and full bath, new windows and electrical). Which of the following would increase the home value the most (none of the options will add square feet to home):
1) during basement remodel, add fourth bedroom in basement by taking away some of the family room square footage. House would then be 4 bed, 1.5 bath.
2) during basement remodel, add bedroom in basement by taking away some of the family room square footage, AND taking small bedroom next to master and turning it into a walk-in-closet and bath so we have a true master suite. House would then be 3 bed, 2.5 bath.
3) just remodel basement family room (currently dark wood paneling) and don't add bedroom by taking away family room square footage.

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Susan Hoffla…, Agent, Shoreview, MN
Mon Nov 8, 2010
Hi, Kristina!
I hope I'm not too late. You would do well to read this article. This is a report that's done annually to determine how much return on investment home owners can expect to realize with the improvements they are contemplating. It's a GREAT compilation of information. See what you think:

Good luck!
Web Reference:  http://www.homestosellmn.com
0 votes
Scott Miller, Agent, Boca Raton, FL
Wed Sep 1, 2010
Hi Kristina. Although I don't know your specific local area, I was a GC and investor for many years up north.

I think that most buyers want the same thing: space and comfort. I suggest you go with choice #2 because you're balancing the home's space. If you go with #1, it's a very odd combo to have 4 bedrooms with only 1.5 baths. Yes, you'll have 4 bedrooms, but you'll also have a line outside the bathroom for showers. Imagine everyone lined up with towels, toothbrushes, flipflops and toothpaste in hand (just kidding), and it might get ugly. ; )

All joking aside, a master suite is a wonderful selling point, but even more important, that second, full bath. Mucho important!!

GOOD LUCK whichever way you go.

Scott Miller, Realty Associates, Boca Raton, FL
0 votes
Jennifer Mur…, , Minneapolis, MN
Wed Sep 1, 2010
Hi Kristina,

I happen to be an Realtor and live in the area so I know you're style of home very well. In general below ground finished square footage is simply worth less than above ground. the kitchen and batch are the obvious choices but, since you've already done that, I would suggest option #1 in this market. Adding a bedroom is a huge bonus and will permanently add to the value of the property. Because it's a lower level room you will have to install an egress window for safety. All bedrooms are also required to have a closet. The master suite is a great idea if you can do it on the cheap. Not many of the older homes in this area have a master bath, let alone a master suite. It would be a great selling point but what you don't want to end up with is the Taj Mahal in the middle of suburbia. Most of the homes in the area were built in-the 50's and 60's and it sounds like yours might be like that. Keep in mind that your home is compared to others in the area that are similar in size and feature. If you put too much into the property you will not recoup the costs let alone profit from the changes. New Hope has also been hard hit by the housing crisis and has a high percentage of distressed homes, regardless of how nice your property is those homes will affect your overall value. It's great that you'll be staying put. That will defiantly help. My best advice is to keep it simple, functional and affordable.
0 votes
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Tue Jun 8, 2010
It depends on a couple of things. The most important element is: What would buyers expect or want in a home similar to yours.

Specifically, in some cases, they'd want that extra bath. In other cases, they'd want that extra bedroom. And that's something that you'd need a local Realtor to advise you on.

Then, since you say you plan to stay in your home for at least another 5 years, the equation tilts a lot more to what would make the home liveable for you, regardless of return on investment.

A couple of considerations:

In many areas of the country (but I'm not speaking for your area), that extra bath would probably be a smart project.

On the other hand, now you're separating the bedrooms--two up and one down. And many families with small children wouldn't like that. So you'd be narrowing your market when it came time to sell.

Another question: While you'd be constructing something in the basement, could it legally be called a bedroom? It depends on your local regulations, but often a "bedroom" requires both a closet and some sort of exit--a walk-out, for instance, or a large-enough window. So, functionally, you could use it as a bedroom, but when it came time to list the property you might have to call it a 2 [legal] bedroom/2.5 bath. That probably wouldn't be a good idea.

Another possibility which you may already have considered: Remodel the basement and add a half bath down there. Right now, it sounds as if you don't have a bath down there. People will appreciate the convenience of a bath (even a half-bath) down in the basement. Fix the basement up, brighten it up, and add a new half or full bath down there. That way, you won't be separating the bedrooms. The trade-off is that you won't get a master suite.

So: Consider those possibilities. Check with a Realtor to find out what buyers want and expect with your type of home. But then--really--make the decision based largely on your needs.

Hope that helps.
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