buying a home

House-hunt now. Worry about these 5 luxury home perks later.

Bethany Ramos First-Time Homebuyer, Home Buying

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Sept. 14, 2018.

When you’re in the midst of buying a home, there may be a few things you feel you can’t live without. But keep in mind that a house you otherwise love shouldn’t be overlooked simply because it lacks one or two elements you’d like to have. You can remodel and add these features later.

If you plan to sell your home at some point in the future, then you should also look at those upgrades that have the biggest return on your investment and tackle those renovation projects first. For example, adding a new swimming pool has an extremely low return on investment, but remodeling your kitchen has a high return.

Overall, spending on remodeling projects will hit about $340 billion in 2018, which is up about 7.5 percent over 2017. Typically, you can expect around a 56 percent return on that investment. It’s important to choose not only projects you’d do anyway but also those that have high desirability among other homebuyers.

5 new home features that aren’t worth the price

Save yourself time and money during the house-hunt and skip these finer features for now:

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1. Granite countertops

buying a home
Watch any home improvement television series, and you’ll notice that most homebuyers seem to want granite countertops. These natural, beautiful materials add a lot of aesthetic value to your kitchen. They can also add up to 4 percent more to a home’s price compared to those without this perk.

If you’re hunting for a home and it lacks this feature, know that you can easily add countertops later. While it will be an investment, it’s one that will pay off in the overall look of your home and ability to resell it for a profit. There is a wide variety of types of granite countertops ranging from soft beige to black, so it might even be preferable to choose the one you love most for your new home once you’ve settled on a kitchen design.

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2. Outdoor patio area

buying a home
Have you always dreamed of a home with a beautiful backyard retreat? You’ll likely look at a lot of homes during your home-buying process that have underdeveloped backyards. Not everyone enjoys spending time outdoors, or perhaps they simply never got around to that patio project they always meant to take on.

The national average to add a backyard patio is around $54,130, and you’ll recoup about 47.6 percent of that cost. However, if your family spends a lot of time outside or you want an entertainment area, then the renovation is well worth the investment.

One of the biggest perks of creating a backyard oasis yourself is that you can add all the features you love rather than being stuck with things someone else loved. If taking on a big project of this nature, it’s probably helpful to consult with a backyard design expert and figure out what you want and what fits in your budget. You may still be able to complete some of the work yourself and reduce costs, but there are likely elements you’ll need a professional’s help with, such as pouring concrete or building a deck.

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3. New appliances

buying a home
Let’s face it: Outdated and ugly appliances drastically change the look of a kitchen and cost you money in lack of energy-efficiency. However, old appliances should never be a deal-breaker when you’re looking at homes to purchase. A new set of appliances runs several thousand dollars, but you’ll be able to choose the finishes you like and the features you use most.

Look for appliances with an Energy Star rating to find the ones that are most energy-efficient. When it comes to refrigerators, you can get something basic or invest in a fridge that does everything from keep a family calendar to remind you when you’re out of milk.

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4. Laundry room

buying a home
About 92 percent of homebuyers state they want a laundry room in their new home. The cost to add a laundry room varies greatly and depends upon various factors, such as whether you have a large extra closet to renovate into a laundry room or you need to build onto your existing home.

When house-hunting, don’t let the lack of a laundry room deter you from a house you already love. Look at potential areas you might turn into a laundry room and factor in the costs that might be involved in adding one later.

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5. Curb appeal

buying a home
The first impression you have of a home can be negative, but try to overlook curb appeal as you shop for a new home. Curb appeal is something you can easily fix by adding shutters, an overhang or better landscaping. Even a fresh coat of paint on faded, peeling wood siding gives a home a fresh, new look.

It’s better to focus on high-cost issues you might run into. For example, does the roof look like it was last redone just after World War II? Then it’s likely time for it to be replaced. That can be a costly endeavor that may add to the curb appeal but is simply maintenance expected by most homebuyers.

At the same time, though, don’t let a roofing issue scare you away from buying the home you love. You may be able to negotiate at least part of the replacement cost into the offer, lowering the amount you pay for the house or asking the home’s seller for a budget to replace the existing roof. With a budget, you can add some of your own money and afford better shingles or a roof that has a more luxury appearance than the cheapest shingles on the market. Renovation loans are also available to bundle extra money for home improvements into your total home loan amount.

Buy now, upgrade later

No matter what perks you want in your new home, there’s always the possibility to add them yourself. You have the option to refinance your mortgage in the future, getting cash out or lowering your rate and monthly payment to help pay for your upgrades.

When undertaking home improvement projects, don’t try to do it all at one time, but tackle one upgrade and then move on to another. Prioritize projects based on how much they cost and how much value they add to your home. Before you know it, that house that was not quite your dream home will more than meet your expectations.

Holly Welles is a real estate writer who likes to keep on top of the latest market trends. You can find her advice for new homeowners on her own blog, The Estate Update, or catch her on Twitter @HollyAWelles.

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While refinancing could make a significant difference in the amount you pay each month, there are other costs you should consider. Plus, your finance charges may be higher over the life of the loan.

For educational purposes only. Please contact your qualified professional for specific guidance.

Sources are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

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