Here in Athens, real estate seems to be doing very well. Another area that is currently thriving is construction. Builders are back building new homes, and contractors are booked up for months. It seems that there are renovations going on all over town, and it is definitely a good time to be a contractor. As we all know, supply and demand are tied together. Therefore, if the demand for contractors is higher than you should probably expect the cost to be higher as well. Conversely, if you look back to 2010 the cost was lower due to the lack of demand. As I mentioned before, the 5 Points and Normaltown areas are seeing a lot of renovations and remodels. Depending on your taste, you may or may not like the trend. But trust me when I tell you that it is a good thing for our community. When people invest in their home it is a sign of confidence in the market. It also a good sign when builders invest in properties. However, the one thing to watch out for is supply. You never want to see the supply greatly exceed the demand. All that aside, many homeowners are taking advantage of the low interest rates and investing in their homes. This is great to see, but it is an area that many homeowners need advice because they often make mistakes.
Thanks to the wonders of HGTV, many of us watch remodeling shows all the time. The problem with these TV shows is that they are just that…TV shows. For instance, Bill Cosby made raising kids seem fairly easy and often humorous. Well it is often funny, but it may be one of the hardiest things a person will do in their life. TV shows are not always based in reality. This is especially true with so called “Reality TV Shows”. If you pay attention to the credits in some reality shows they give credit to “writers”. How in the world can a “Reality TV Show” have a writer? My point is that these shows are fun and entertaining. They are good for giving us ideas, but keep in mind that what works in California may not work here in Georgia. Too often homeowners get excited and spend money in the wrong areas. So where should homeowners spend money in their house? In my opinion, homeowners should focus on three main areas when upgrading or investing in their property.
- Livable Space
- Up Dates
First, you must spend money on maintenance. This is commonly overlooked by a majority of property owners. You absolutely have to maintain your property. Maintenance comes first no matter what. It makes no sense to put in cultured marble if you have rotten windows. The issue here is that most people don’t see the deferred maintenance. But they can easily see a new bathroom. If you do not maintain and upkeep your property it will definitely cost you money in the long run. The next area that owners should focus their money is in the main living area or even adding more livable space. Everybody seems to focus on bathrooms and the owner’s suite. And these can be good areas to put money if you have it to spend. But be warned that you may not get it back. You need to be careful with how much you spend in areas like a master bedroom or bathroom. In some cases, it is smart to upgrade them or make them larger but you can overdo it quickly. You need to understand that people don’t live in their bathroom or bedroom. They sleep and shower there, but they live in the rest of the house. Buyers want large and functional kitchens with open living space. Any outdoor living space is always a huge plus as well. Storage can be a big plus, and if you want to expand a master it would be wise to make sure the closets are spacious. Lastly, it is important to keep your house up to date or least keep it from becoming too dated. Some older houses have fantastic space, but they have not been touched in 30 + years. Therefore, they eventually sell at lower price because the entire house needs updating. Which creates a good opportunity for a buyer to purchase the property low. I am not suggesting that you remodel your kitchen and redecorate every 5 years. However, if you are in your property for 15 years you may need to update a few things.
In closing, you will need to spend money on your home no matter what. At the bare minimum, you need to maintain the property. But if you take it a step further and renovate. Be sure to do it wisely. In the end, your home belongs to you, and you can decorate or upgrade it any way that you see fit. But if you ever plan to sell it would be smart to consider future buyers.