Monday, November 15, 2010

The resale boogeyman

For whatever the reason, I hate it when my clients say the word "resale" to me.

Call me a dreamer or a romatic, but I hate to be tied down or constrained in any way by the untamable, fickle and downright illogical beast that is, the real estate market when I am working on a house. And frankly, "resale" refers not to the current real estate market, but for most people, the market of the future. I would like to shout from a mountain top that none of us could possibly know what will sell houses five, ten, fifteen years from now. And yet we, as homeowners constantly try to crack this nut. If we are able to make changes to a home that will entice the mythical future buyer, then our homes will appreciate and fortunes will be made.

It doesn't work this way. (anymore)

Sure there was a time when appreciation was more or less formulaic. And if you are trying to sell your house, right now, you had better find what out today's formula is for selling. But if you're not selling your house at this moment, let it go. The needs of strangers who may or may not buy your home in the unnamed or calculated future are very simply, moot. We don't feel this way - we feel beholden to them - but they are indeed moot. You are betting the walls that surround you and nurture you and shelter you and you are very likely to bet wrong.

I know there are folks who call me irresponsible or immature in this matter - surely you must consider the value of your biggest asset when you make changes to your home. But let's be clear - thinking about the value of your home - and thinking about what future buyers want are two different considerations. One is rational and logical and unemotional. The other is completely subjective and nearly impossible.

Again it's an issue of timing. And I contend, if you not planning on selling any time soon go for what you can afford and what you need in your home. Go for what so many of my clients have passed on, in fear that the resale boogeyman will come and take their fortunes in the middle of the night:

-paint a room rasberry

-skip the bathtub

-go for the artist's studio

-yes to blue cabinets

-kill the formal dining room, it won't mind

-get a purple door

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