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As a real estate investor, it’s necessary to know which home features are most likely to hold their value in the long run. Investing in real estate can mean acquiring and renovating an existing property, or developing and building a new one. One of the challenges investors face is knowing how to design or improve an investment property so that it’s desirable now, and will also deliver a high return on investment later.
Frank Bodenchak, Senior Global Real Estate Advisor at Sotheby’s International Realty – Bridgehampton Brokerage, and Lisa Maysonet, Senior Global Real Estate Advisor and Associate Broker with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty and Sotheby’s International Realty – East Side Manhattan Brokerage, share the top home features that real estate investors can focus on in the present to retain long-term value in the future.
More people are starting to think green when it comes to their homes. “Consumers are looking for homes that conserve energy, out of environmental awareness or a desire for low maintenance costs — or both, hopefully,” Bodenchak says. “The desire for solar is ubiquitous and LED lighting and newer ENERGY STARⓇ heating and cooling are a huge plus.” Looking ahead, this desire for conservation at home will only increase, making it a wise choice to implement now.
Smart home features
Tech-savvy buyers and renters alike are seeking convenient home features that make day-to-day life more streamlined. “In today’s world, having a ‘smart home’ increases the value,” Maysonet says. This includes outdoor technology like automated security and watering systems, and indoor must-have upgrades like smart thermostats, alarms, window coverings, kitchen and laundry appliances, and even voice-activated entertainment systems.
Universally appealing design
While interior design ultimately comes down to an individual’s personal taste, according to Bodenchak, there are certain elements that are universally appreciated — and appealing to the largest number of people means a greater desire when it’s on the market.
So, with this in mind, how do you design or renovate a home now? Bodenchak has a few suggestions. “People like homes that feel light and open,” he explains. To achieve a spacious home, he encourages using larger doors and windows, incorporating high ceilings, and creating open kitchens and large breakfast rooms. Outdoors, opt for a large terrace if space permits, and opt for seamless transitioning between indoor-outdoor living.
A finished basement
Maysonet shares that a finished basement is always a requested feature, especially if the property is a standalone home. Not only does a finished basement increase the livable space of a home — it’s a more flexible space that could be used as a home office space, gym, or recreation room, for example — but for potential buyers down the road, it’s one less renovation to think about.
An incredible view
While water views are naturally a huge draw, Bodenchak notes that any desirable view will be valuable for years to come. “Having a pretty backyard or open vista before seeing neighbors is a number one feature,” he says.
A desirable location
A great view and an attractive location go hand-in-hand, and where a home is located is one of the most important factors for investors to consider in a property. For top value, it’s best to avoid noisy spots, like near busy roads, train tracks, and flight paths. As Bodenchak points out, “Properties on quiet streets, near amenities — like the ocean or town center — appreciate more over time.”
At-home amenities certainly pique buyers’ interest, which Maysonet says could include a movie theater, home gym, spa and sauna, a detached guest space, and of course, a pool. Bodenchak agrees: “Adding a pool can be incredibly lucrative if there is enough property to do so,” he says. He also adds that indoor pools, pool houses, and covered porches can add further value, and that even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, at-home amenities helped rental properties garner dramatically more interest.
There are a number of ways to increase a property’s value with smaller features. Maysonet lists adding a laundry room and premium appliances, and ensuring the home has high-end finishes, while Bodenchak suggests new roofing, siding, and windows and doors. Achieving a strong first impression with curb appeal is important as well. “Painting and landscaping are often less expensive than full-on house renovations, but have a high ROI,” he says.
There are tried-and-true augmentations investors can make to their properties. It’s the marriage of those with the latest innovations in home design that ensures their investments stay profitable now and in the years to come.