Should you digitally – or actually – renovate?

Castles in the Sand

There comes a time in every homeowner’s life when they are faced with the dreaded renovation question. Frequently this question comes about when you’re thinking of putting your home up for sale. There is no doubt that move-in ready homes sell faster and sometimes for more money, but is this a job that you should tackle, or hire professionals?

If you’re convinced that do-it-yourself is the way to go, there are some websites to check out. Old House Online, Young House Love, and How To Sand A Floor will provide more information than any normal DIY project will ever need.

However, know your limits and leave the electrical, plumbing and structural repairs to the experts who will do it within current building codes and not burn the house down. But if you like getting your hands dirty, do your own demo. Naturally, make sure that the wall you’re taking down isn’t structural and doesn’t contain the plumbing to the toilet.

Certainly, the least difficult do-it-yourself job is painting. Exterior painting will be easier and look more professional if you power wash first, removing dirt, mold and peeling paint.

Even if you’re not a carpenter, replacing window and door moldings are pretty straightforward and forgiving of mistakes. Refinishing hardwood floors may be backbreaking but doesn’t require a master craftsman. And finally, know when to give up. If the project is not going well, your spouse isn’t talking to you and the kids are wearing gas masks, it may be time to make that phone call.

There is, of course, another way to go, there always is and with modern computer technology, you can have a virtual renovation if you’re selling your home. Since almost every home search starts with an online search it’s a great way to make your home stand out even if it’s slightly fudged.

Homeowners can take down walls, remove paneling, add swimming pools, garages and even turn your brown lawn green and make your dead plants bloom. This is a long way from the old school marketing of staging homes with rented furniture, pictures and knickknacks. Now all of that can be done digitally making an empty house looked lived in and inviting.

Sounds great right? The problem is when non-digital people come to look at your digitally-enhanced house and want to know why there’s a patio where they thought a pool was and what happened to the hardwood floor.

Needless to say, digital enhancements should be disclosed, and the National Association of Realtors code of ethics requires agents to present a true picture of the property in their advertising and marketing. Problem is since although the technology has been around it is now just starting to be widely used and guidelines for homeowners and agents alike still need to be established. If you watch any of the property renovation shows on HGTV you’ll see exactly what this technology can do to completely change the look and functionality of a home, and why it can be so misleading.

If taking advantage of this type of technology to market your property either personally or through an agent sounds like just the thing for you, full disclosure is a must. I’m not saying don’t to do it, it could bring a lot of eyeballs to the website as long as those eyeballs know what they’re looking at.

On the other hand, doing it yourself or hiring someone to move the wall and install the pool could make life ethically easier. The options are endless.

More Castles in the Sand:

Technology can’t replace real estate brokers

Good news and good news

Are you smarter than a hedge fund manager?