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Pricey upgrades add little to a home’s value

Pricey upgrades add little to a home’s value

The constant, rapid advancement of technology impacts every area of our modern lives, even our homes.

Water softeners, artificial grass, solar panels, solar heated pools, video surveillance cameras systems monitoring every entrance, ovens and dishwashers that can be programmed before you leave for work, and home automation systems that can be started from your iPad just before you leave the IMAX Theater.

Does anyone else remember Disneyland’s “Carousel of Progress?” It really is a great big beautiful tomorrow. But what’s it worth?

When you are selling your house, be careful how you add on to your asking price for all the things you’ve added on to your house over the years. They may be worth less than you think. So in no particular order, let’s break this down.

Water softeners: These are great to have, in order to neutralize all the minerals in our local water, and certainly make it easier on the plumbing.

How much can you add to your asking price? Nothing.

This is viewed by most home buyers as a bonus – a nice to system to have, but not anything that will prompt buyers to raise their offer price. And if yours is leased rather than owned, it may even been seen as a nuisance by some buyers. Deciding whether to keep it and how to transfer the lease just adds more items to their huge to-do list before they move.

Artificial grass: This may make a difference to many home buyers, given our continued drought. Most SoCal home buyers are aware that the cost to install artificial turf is not insignificant, and the savings in water use and lawn maintenance can add up.

Depending on the size of the area covered by the ever-green turf, buyers may be motivated to add on a few more green backs. Possibly another grand or two.

Programmable appliances: Now you’re in the big money.

You’ll most likely get every penny back on what you spent to replace your avocado green or harvest gold appliances with bright, shiny new stainless steel appliances with Bluetooth on board.

Especially if they are nestled amid your sparkling quartz counters and white cabinets, which are the fashion leaders in kitchens today.

Video surveillance systems: You can package this together with your home security system and pat yourself on the back that you’re offering up piece of mind to your target buyer.

However, why you need such an advanced security system in your house may give buyers some doubts about the neighborhood, which may lead them down a different path that does not lead to a higher perceived value.

Solar panels: Probably the most controversial home feature today in terms of added dollar value. Do you own them or lease them? How long is the lease? How does the buyer know if they’ll qualify to take over the lease?

How much do you pay monthly now and how big was your electric bill before you installed the system?

The bottom line is this. You can’t assign an exact dollar amount to these additional features of your house when it’s time to sell. The subtle benefit these will provide you is differentiation from your competition, which should translate into a faster sale for a higher price.

You are likely to tip buyers your way if the choice is between your house, with multiple added features, versus another similar house without added features. Just how much faster and how much higher always depends on the rest of the package your house has to offer.

Leslie Sargent Eskildsen is an Orange County real estate agent. She can be reached at 949-678-3373 or leslie@leslieeskildsen.com. Her website is leslieeskildsen.com.

The Orange County Register – News Headlines : Real Estate News