The Secondary Spaces That Matter Most

By Brad Litz
Real Estate Broker, Appraiser & Investor
Meridian Kessler Resident

Last month I discussed some of the major areas of the home that could use some updating or renovation and this month I want to discuss the parts of the home that are secondary, but can have a big impact on the livability and value of your house. These items will put your house above the rest in terms of livability or that ever-so-important “wow” factor when it comes to selling your home.

Outdoor Living

Older homes were not designed to focus on the outdoor spaces as much as newer homes, so it takes some imagination to create functional outdoor areas in the beautiful (but sometimes less than functional) houses in our neighborhood. The first step is to decide how you want to use your outdoor space. Ask yourself if you want to cater to small family gatherings, create the neighborhood hang out spot or if you want to be prepared to host the block party every year. Then, focus your space around that idea and incorporate a couple of amenities that set it apart, such as a firepit, outdoor kitchen, or even a pool. This can always be a fun project and once you make your outdoor space what you envisioned, it will pay for itself in equity and ‘enjoyability.’ Keep in mind, outdoor spaces can be as budget-friendly or budget-busting as you want, so make sure you plan accordingly.

Master Suite

Many of the clients that I work with have a master suite near the top of their wish list. When our homes were built this wasn’t necessarily high on the priority list for buyers, but times have changed and homes should adapt to the modern lifestyle. There are several ways to go about creating space for a bathroom and large closet, such as taking space from another bedroom, adding a dormer to increase floor space or going all out and adding on to the house. When pressed for space, many clients are opting out of installing a Jacuzzi tub; think about functionality and typically a large (and hardly used) tub isn’t practical. Again, this investment will be recouped in the sale of your home and will greatly increase its functionality as long as you live there.

Basement

The rule of thumb for basements is that it is the least expensive square footage in your house, but it can change the livability of your home immensely. Think about it, all the walls, floor and ceiling are in place, you just need decide how you want to use it and put your plan together. The best use of the space is to create a living area and a flex room (exercise, office, etc) and fit in a bath if you can. This can overcome for a lack of informal space on the main level, create a gathering area for you and substitute for your outdoor space in the winter months. This is also a place that you can do minor upgrades and set yourself apart; think wine fridge or home theater.
The common theme of these items is functionality and fun. Upgrading or adding these spaces will dramatically increase how much you enjoy living in your home and will increase your equity…I think that’s a win-win.