I’d like to continue thinking about where you find yourself currently, design wise. In Friday’s post, I spoke about aspects of your home that might feel a bit off, like furniture that no longer fits the space, or organization challenges. Today I want to address a fairly common issue surrounding ideas about resale value of property.
If you think you may move at some point in the future, you might factor that into your decisions now. But remember that you still live there, and your home should serve you, not some hypothetical future occupant. So if you are thinking about renovating, I urge you to think of what works in your life right now. Alternatively, if you’re avoiding a renovation based on the possibility that you might someday move, maybe rethink it. Even if you move in ten years, you will still have that decade to enjoy your home in your way.
Here is a story a colleague of mine shared with me recently. A couple in their 70’s were doing a bathroom remodel, and wanted to have a shower rather than a bathtub. A real estate agent warned them against it, because it would lower the resale value of their home. So they kept the tub even though, as they grew older, it became increasingly difficult to navigate in and out of it. For ten years they lived like this, until one partner passed away. The widow then sold the apartment with, we hope, a marginally better selling price. The new tenants proceeded to demolish the bathroom and redesign it…with a shower.
The point of this story isn’t even the irony of new tenants ending up wanting a shower anyway. The point is that these people lived for ten years in a space that didn’t reflect their needs. And it was based only on an idea of what some future owner might want.
If we base our choices today on vague ideas about tomorrow, involving people and variables we can’t even accurately predict, we are really depriving ourselves of living life on our terms. With respect to resale value, it can be hard to predict where the market will be if or when you move, and subtle fluctuations in price due to things like the removal of a tub may not make a big enough difference to matter to your future self. The real question is, what will those compromises cost you now? It’s smart to consider the financial side of things, but that probably shouldn’t be your only consideration.
We cannot predict the future, so it’s a good idea to be kind to yourself now, and to make such improvements as to benefit your quality of life for the foreseeable future. That may or may not affect your home’s resale value down the line, but it will definitely add value to your existence, which is worth a great deal more.