Thursday, February 9, 2012

Building equity


(originally written January 24, 2012)
Imagine me twirling around singing that to "Building a Mystery" by Sarah McLaughlin. I really just did that (in my head) just now.
While the housing market is still fairly wobbly in our area, Garry and I are still planning on building as much equity into our home as possible without pricing ourselves out of the neighborhood. Luckily for us, we bought a solid house in a neighborhood full of nice houses.
Currently, our house is a 2-bedroom 1-bath with a little over 1,000 sq ft of finished space. It doesn’t sound like much – but even with three people living in the house it’s not that cramped so long as everyone picks up after themselves. (Which I’ll admit, doesn’t always happen.)
If we end up doing everything we’re planning – we will end up with 3-bedrooms and 2.5-baths when we’re finished. One of those bedrooms will be a master suite.
It's a lot bigger in person folks... honestly
Even though it means adding more projects to the list, I am actually really excited about the possibility of having my very own bathroom that I only have to share with Garry. I’d really like to have a glass wall shower with pebble flooring (just like the backsplash we’re putting in the kitchen) and create some built-ins for bathroom storage. Maybe add some skylights in there too.
The bedroom probably won’t be as large as our current one (as far as useable square feet goes), but there is quite a bit of space to build built-ins in the eaves, so  that will help some. Once we get everything insulated (this weekend!) and drywalled we’ll have a better idea of how much actual space we have for a bedroom and if it’s worth making it into a master suite. If it’s going to end up being tiny, then we won’t bother. 
According to multiple sources, converting attics into master suites (or even just liveable space) is becoming incredibly popular and will garnish a much larger return on your investment than some of the other projects. Also, by using space already available (such as an attic or basement) you’re not increasing the footprint of your home and it’s generally much less expensive, which also increases your return.
We’re hoping that by turning that into, at the very least, an extra bedroom and by finishing the basement and adding a half-bath, that we’ll greatly increase our equity. Considering we shop sales, use coupons, and try to do as much work as we can ourselves (and it certainly helps that Garry gets a veteran discount at some of the larger home improvement stores!) we think we’ll end up getting a good return on all of our renovation projects if we ever decide to sell the house. And who knows – maybe we won’t – at the very least, it will make OUR lives comfortable and happy – and in the end that’s worth all the fuss.