Houseblogs In Money

by Josh on May 24, 2006 · 2 comments

in Ideas,Journal

Our latest issue of Money magazine arrived yesterday with a special real estate report full of information on the housing market, home improvement values and resources for financially savvy homeowners.

In a feature titled, “Best Real Estate Web Sites,” the blog community was featured among the 16 web resources profiled. As one of over 250 contributors to Houseblogs, it is great to see the string of publicity this network has received lately. (Hats off to you, Jeanne and Aaron!) Money called Houseblogs the “best way to steel yourself for a remodel,” saying:

This site brings together a bunch of remodelers-cum-bloggers, all of whom chronicle the triumphs and tragedies of their undertakings online, complete with pictures. Once you’re emotionally ready to begin your own renovation, consider joining the fray.

That sounds like a pretty good description to me. There are some other interesting real estate web sites in the Money list as well, with an obvious emphasis on financial considerations.

Also of interest to readers of this or other houseblogs is the story, “Boosting Value: 3 Great Upgrades.” The upgrades mentioned included porch remodels with an estimated 96% return on investment, kitchen renovation for an 86-95% return, and bathroom upgrades for 97-104% return.

Because we plan to stay in this house for many years, we have not been as focused on the equity value of our house projects. Our house is not what I would call a “fixer-upper.” It is just a well-cared for old home that, by definition, requires some periodic restoration, maintanence and updating.

As we work on projects, I sometimes ask how the housing market will respond to our restoration/preservation-oriented projects. Will future buyers look down on keeping the enormous, asbestos-covered, but emminently-reliable boiler? Should I consider a reduction in equity as one of the costs for replacing aluminum triple-track storm/screen windows with more aesthetic and historic wood storms and screens?

Ultimately, I think the market will reward us for making smart, practical decisions that preserve and restore the historic character of this older house. Just don’t ask me to calculate the return.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristin May 24, 2006 at 9:21 am

I try to keep equity in the back of my mind (ok, the waaaaay back of my mind), but mostly I’m considering this house the place where we plan to be for a long time. Anyway, I think things are a little different for old houses. “Improvements” that would help a newer house sell might totally turn off the kind of buyer who’d want an old house.


Josh May 24, 2006 at 3:48 pm

Good point about the different standards for older homes, Kristin. I look at the equity-return issue this way: the supply of sensitively maintained old houses gets smaller every year due to demolition and defacement, so those of us who preserve and restore the charm of our old houses should find them more valuable for our effort. Like you, we’re planning to be in this house for many years and return on investment is not as big a consideration for us as character, enjoyment and utility.


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