Repairs vs. Improvements

Okay, so my chimney needs work. It is spalling and it needs to be repointed. Translation = the mortar has deteriorated and we need to repair and replace the mortar between the brick joints. This leads me to a topic close to my heart – will making this repair add value to my home? For example, if I were to put my house on the market next Spring, would I add this into how much I want to get back out of my house? The answer to this question should be no. The reason is simple: Repointing a chimney is a REPAIR, not an IMPROVEMENT. Same with a new roof, a new driveway, a new furnace, etc… These are things that make the house retain its fair market value. If the roof were old and deteriorated, or had three layers, I would tell you to subtract value from the house. If it is in good shape or new, you are at fair market value. Things that might add value are remodels, additions, upgrades.

Many people keep a running total of every penny they spend on their house, then when they call me to sell it for them, they want to get the price they paid plus the sum of what they have spent on the house. Well, I don’t mean to sound rude, but what does this really have to do with anything? The price of your house is determined by the market, not by how much you spent maintaining your property. It’s the price of home ownership- it ain’t cheap, but it sure is fun!

About the Author

Sarah Snodgrass is a residential real estate agent specializing in Kansas City's historic neighborhoods and enclaves.

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