Help, I need your honest opinons

dabunchJuly 9, 2013

I'm posting in 2 threads because I need help kind of quickly
. We're trying to decide whether to finish a room over the garage. We will be downsizing (again) probably 5-10 years down the road.
We live in a neighborhood (2 streets) which is typical in this town for new developments.
We had this house built 6 years ago. The builder is finally finishing building the last houses.
Most houses are colonials. Our house was custom built, which is classified as "other", because we have a master bedroom on the first floor.
House description:
-Homes go for 500k-600k
-Over 2500 sqft of finished space, over 2000 sqft on the first floor.
-2 bedroom on first floor, and 2 on the second floor.
-open concept.
-Room over garage framed with a closet but not finished. If this room were to be finished it would be 2900 sqft., and make it 3 bedrooms upstairs.
We live in NE so it's very expensive to build a house with a master bedroom on the first floor. We obviously built at the height of the market....
-WE don't need another room finished. This would be strictly for resale, and because all the construction people are in the neighborhood. Cost to finish-under 6k.
. Here's my dilemma:
-How will the finished room affect the sale?
-What would YOU think when you would walk into a house with an unfinished room upstairs?
-Pocketbook-wise, what would you be thinking?
I need your opinions, because it's either now or never.
I know what I'm thinking, but I really need YOUR take so it's not biased.
TIA

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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Here is what we thought, and how we reacted.

We were looking for a home in a certain area, and one popped up with our requirements. It had an unfinished room over the garage.

The house was great! But that unfinished........... We thought about it, decided the house was priced too high anyway and we didn't want to pay the costs of finishing that room.

We are very glad we didn't buy that house because one so much better came along.

I say do a light cosmetic finishing. People just see $$ and work when things aren't finished.

JMHO
Suzi

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 11:20AM
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StPaulGal

I would think that the owners ran out of money during the build, which would also get me thinking about whether other corners were cut as the funds ran dry.

6 grand strikes me as rather a lot for some sheetrock, though.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 11:24AM
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c9pilot

The last piece of information we need is what the range of square footage is in your neighborhood.
If they are all smaller than yours, I'd leave the room unfinished and use it as a walk-in attic/storage space.
If they are all larger than yours, I'd add the square footage for future resale/comps. An extra guest bedroom/office/craft room never hurts.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 12:43PM
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hayden2

People always overprice things in their minds, and many people don't like construction. If I were you, I'd make sure I have the lowest quote for the work, then I'd finish the room up to the point of plywood floor and Sheetrock everything except finished flooring and paint. This way you maximize your future pool of buyers.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 5:13PM
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violetwest

If I were a buyer in that price range (which I definitely am not!) I wouldn't mind an unfinished room over the garage, because that would mean I could kit it out anyway I wanted -- accessory dwelling unit, art studio, staff apartment, etc.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 6:28PM
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weedyacres

If I saw the unfinished room as a potential buyer, I wouldn't be a bit phased, as we've done plenty of renovation and finishing a bonus room is a piece of cake. On pricing, I'd not consider the unfinished space as square footage it in my offer, though.

The problem is that many/most don't think like me, and it would feel like a big project to them. So you'd lose some potential buyers. If I was the homeowner, I'd finish the room before putting it on the market.

And $6K is WAY more than it should cost to finish a 400 sf bedroom. We're talking drywall, paint, carpet, and a few electrical outlets, no?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 6:40PM
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nancylouise_gw

It wouldn't bother me. Husband and I are diy'ers. But...most buyers are not imo. I would finish it off. Don't let it be seen as a negative during your house sale. I agree with the others, $6k seems very high just to finish off the room. Get another estimate. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 8:27AM
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kellyeng

I wouldn't mind it at all if the space is NOT included in the square footage.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 8:46AM
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kirkhall

You have a 4 bedroom house, and are wondering if you should make it a 5 bdroom? Is that right?

I'd think that an additional bedroom wouldn't get you much for a price increase. And, what if the person buying would have rather seen a 2nd master and you just put in a regular bedroom?

I'd leave it unfinished. And, I agree that 6k is high if everything is already there... Let future buyers dream about how they'd use that room/space.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 1:56AM
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dabunch

I appreciate your unbiased input.

I realize that we won't get our money back, unless the RE booms.

I live in CT where colonials with a master bedroom on the first floor are very rare. As soon as you add sqft on the first floor when building, the builders get a heart attack thinking that it's too expensive to build.

Although the colonials vary in price in this neighborhood, and they are 2800-3200sqft(1400-1500 sqft downstairs), all bedrooms are upstairs.
We paid a lot for a 2500sqft finished house, because our first floor is over 2000sqft. Finished- 2 bed/1.5 ba down, 2bd, 1 ba upstairs.

I'm thinking that the house may be "weird" for most people with 2 beds down and 2 beds up, and not that the extra bed upstairs will get us more money. In fact, I KNOW that it will not add 6k to the house.

Although I don't feel that we will get our money back for the finished room, I feel that IF the room is unfinished, we will get less money, and it will take longer to sell.

Here's the cost:
It's a room with a walk-in closet.
Sheet rock-$1500
Insulation $600
Electric-$430
Heat/ac-$600
The rest?Trim, closet door, flooring (I'm guessing costly, because I have hardwood in the entire rest of the house).

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 9:31AM
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lyfia

How does anybody know it is an unfinished room? I mean it could be walk-in attic space right? Seems like finishing it would be way over improving.

I think many people would like the configuration of the house you do have once they got used to the thought. In my area they are more the norm now than about 10 years ago.

It is a house a family can grow in. Small kids in the downstairs bedroom - older - move them up and then an older family member can use the downstairs room. I think this is the reason those floor plans are becoming more and more popular around here.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 9:40AM
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kgizo

Where I am many new builds have unfinished extra space so later they can be turned into a playroom, extra bedroom, media room, craft room, MiL suite . . . So it's kind of a positive that a buyer has options, but I have no idea how it translates when pricing for resale.

Extra storage is always nice. As others have suggested, can you make it a storage room without much expense?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 10:59AM
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rwiegand

Around here adding a bedroom will increase your property taxes by ~$2K/year. I certainly wouldn't do it if I didn't need the space. If you think it has to be done for resale in your market do it when you're ready to sell.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 2:12PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

You don't really state why you are in a hurry. That would help. I do agree with rwegand, previous poster.

Is this for you or for resale? I don't think we understand that motivation. You could easily clarify.

I still think you should finish the room, but, I'd go get outside sub's estimates. You could save AKA make a lot of money!!

Suzi

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 2:52PM
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kirkhall

If you don't make your money back, then YOU ARE NOT GETTING MORE MONEY FOR IT! It is a loss!

Just let it be. Generally, the market is doing better. It might not be snatched up in 2 weeks, but I don't think having a 5th bedroom (down/up/wherever) is going to make someone think differently. Your house will sell to someone looking for a master on main. Period.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 1:57AM
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c9pilot

I think your downstairs master BR is going to be a terrific feature when you go to resell. They are really popular in other parts of the country and when one of those people move to your area, they will be thrilled to find the only one available!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 9:19AM
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kswl2

The best way to decide whether or not this is value added is to find the selling price of two or three homes, and their above grade living area in square feet. Then divide the sale price by the square footage to get a price per square foot. That should tell you how much value the room will add.

Compare that to the added real estate taxes and weigh the amount of value increase against the incremental tax increase over the number of years you plan to stay.

You mention that most homes are in the 2800 to 3200 square foot range. If you are at 2500 sq ft, you are below the average for your neighborhood. For that reason alone I would finish the extra room

$6000 does not seem unreasonable to finish a room as you are describing. Remember that, in order to really qualify as living space, any bonus rooms MUST be finished to the same level of quality as the rest of the home, AND be heated and cooled in the same manner as the rest of the house.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 10:01AM
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