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home remodeling and effects on value


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oh, and you should try to have the popcorn ceiling checked for asbestos before you close on the house. (you might be able to get the current owner to pay for the test, or even negotiate its removal at their expense if there is asbestos.)

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the other thing is that if you have this work done now you'll probably like the place more and feel that the house is more your own as well.

yes, this is very important to us. we want the house to have the things we like while we live in it. it is just that since there is a possibility that we might leave the area in a few years we are worried about losing money (if the market stays flat) because we put even more money into it post-purchase. but i think we will end up doing it. we are set to take possession at the start of the 2nd week of june, and our lease at the current place runs out at the end of june. so we'll have a 3 week period to get all this done before we move in.

 

it does sound like the consensus here would be against doing other things like built-in shelves and so forth in our offices.

 

when do you think we need to get contractors in to give us estimates for a mid-june project? home depot for floors?

 

(the house is occupied by the current owner, but she seems congenial enough.)

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oh, and you should try to have the popcorn ceiling checked for asbestos before you close on the house. (you might be able to get the current owner to pay for the test, or even negotiate its removal at their expense if there is asbestos.)

the house was built in the 80s. is this still an issue? it doesn't seem to be part of the inspection process here and no one has mentioned it to us yet. will look into it.

 

i should add that a previous owner had already had the popcorn taken out of the kitchen, but for some reason not from the other rooms.

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according to wikipedia:

 

Many buildings contain asbestos, which was used in spray-applied flame retardant, thermal system insulation, and in a variety of other materials. Typically, asbestos was "flocked" above false ceilings, inside technical ducts, and in many other small spaces where firefighters would have difficulty gaining access. Structural components like asbestos panels were also used. In residences, it was often a component of a type of flocked acoustic ceiling called "popcorn ceiling", until its production was banned in the U.S. in 1978. However, the ban allowed installers to use up remaining stocks, so houses built as late as 1986 could still have asbestos in their acoustic ceilings. The only way to be sure is to remove a sample and have it tested by a competent laboratory.
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So far as built-ins go: in my rented apartment, I had California closets come in and do "built-ins" in three closets. They are made of components that I can have knocked dwn and take with me and use reconfigured in another space. There are contractors who do this sort of stuff, too, with shelves and bookcases, etc.

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when do you think we need to get contractors in to give us estimates for a mid-june project? home depot for floors?

Immediately. You want to get on the contractor's schedule, especially since you only have a specific window in which you want the work done.

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Someone posted a link to a website that gave estimates for the return on various re-modeling projects a while back. IIRC, although kitchens and bathrooms did indeed give the best return, no project increased house price more than the outlay.

Here you go. The bad news according to this report is that only a couple of renovations are likely to gain back what they cost. The good news is that all projects gained back 70% of their cost.

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Asbestos or not, there are a lot of (less expensive) short cuts taken in popcorn removal. One is just covering it with a thin sheet of drywall and painting that. Another is wetting it and scraping it--which dovetails nicely with carpet removal as the wet popcorn can fall to the floor and be rolled up in the carpet and hauled off.

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There are two approaches to the ceiling: you can either remove the existing ceiling, and replace it, or sheetrock over it. I would personally feel confidnet that a 20 year old house would NOT have used asbestos, especially if it is in a development with like aged homes built by the same builder. If you're not too involved with recessed lights, sheetrocking over it is perfectly acceptable...assuming the popcorn ceiling is not peeling, etc. Otherwise, if there are many electrical components, you'll need to replace it.

 

As far as wook flooring, to retain your resale value, you need to spend the extra bucks for solid surface floors, not a stained veneer. Basically, if you scratch a solid surface, the scratch is just the color of the wood. That way, right before you go to sell it, you can either refinish or get it buffed to have it gleaming for your prospective buyers.

 

Congratulations on your new home. I've been selling real estate for 12 years, and I never get tired of sharing the thrill of new home ownership with my clients.

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interesting. floors and ceilings aren't included at all. perhaps they're not expensive enough as projects.

Maybe you are not considering the whole cost. When you change out the floors and the ceilings, the walls will then suffer by comparison (unless they've been recently painted) so repainting those will be some more.

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If you sheetrock over the ceiling, you will need to pick out molding..if the room sizes and housing style allow for it, crown molding is a nice upgrade. And something comparable for the floor, as well. See how a "simple" improvement snowballs?..."because if we have the nice molding, well maybe we should add a chair rail, and if we have that, maybe we should get the top part faux finished, but then the old dining table in our new dining room will look shabby..let's go furniture shopping!"...and so on. :(

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As a serial home-buyer, my gut says "do it". Like others here have mentioned: It will give you a strong sense of having done something that gives you pleasure, it won't cost a lot, and it will save you from kicking yourself when your Realtor suggests that you do it right before you sell, as a way to spruce the place up and make it more modern.

 

You may not be able to point to your selling price and see the benefit of these improvements, but people will notice them at a subliminal level, and value your house more.

 

Having bought and sold homes with and without aesthetic improvements, I can tell you that the attractive ones are the ones that get multiple offers. The ugly ducklings, even if they're priced fairly and have no structural flaws, sit and sit and sit. Of course, these houses can make for great bargains for buyers with a little imagination -- as you've found -- but you'd be surprised how few buyers have it.

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