Will making a home "healthier/safer" be a good value-maker?

9 Replies

I bought a single family home in Northern Colorado in August '17.  Two possible scenarios: renting out the basement, or renting out the entire home in the next few months.  Will probably sell in a few years.

Besides finishing the basement, we've made the house "healthier/safer" by sealing the crawl space, installing a radon extraction system, and installing a SimpliSafe alarm.  I am flirting with the idea of installing a whole-house water filter to reduce chlorine and other chemicals.  These last for about 4 years or 400,000 gallons.  My realtor says she hasn't seen that as a good value-maker.  Thoughts?

Originally posted by @Mauricio Alvarez :

I bought a single family home in Northern Colorado in August '17.  Two possible scenarios: renting out the basement, or renting out the entire home in the next few months.  Will probably sell in a few years.

Besides finishing the basement, we've made the house "healthier/safer" by sealing the crawl space, installing a radon extraction system, and installing a SimpliSafe alarm.  I am flirting with the idea of installing a whole-house water filter to reduce chlorine and other chemicals.  These last for about 4 years or 400,000 gallons.  My realtor says she hasn't seen that as a good value-maker.  Thoughts?

In my experience, what you have done would not add a penny to the value of a property. They are personal preference and most folks won't pay for them much less pay more for them. In fact, most won't even maintain them properly if they are given to them and the amenities become liabilities.

I’d agree with @Bill S. Though well intentioned, most tenants wouldn’t know nor care.

Ditto.  You won't recover the cost from tenants.  If when you're ready to sell in a few years, you then see value in having those improvements, you can make them then.

Hold off on anything that will not increase your rents. Save your effort for a buyer that will possibly appreciate the effort.

In this business you do not do it if it does not increase rents.

@Mauricio Alvarez it sounds like you have already finished the basement but - here is a safety thing that also adds value that many people don't do (maybe you did?). They don't create egress windows (ie: make the windows bigger per code). This involves cutting the concrete foundation and installing a window well but - now the bedrooms are "conforming" which does help with the appraisal value AND should some sort of disaster occur your tenants can get out more quickly. @Bill S. you know the market over there better than I do - what do you think? 

Will not change your bottom line.

Thanks everyone for the input.

I get the point, and am surprised that you all agree the average tenant won't appreciate having a place without dangerous levels of radon, or water without nasty chemicals. I think Forbes had an article supporting my thesis, but it seems I'm still naïve.

@Teri S: Yes, we created two egress windows. Thanks for the tip.

Well, I will caveat mine (and others) comments as a difference between normal and unsafe.

If you have radon tests where the levels are higher than EPA standards, or well water that’s biologically unsafe - then yes, you should be dining things to make your property safe for your tenants. You don’t want the liability of knowing about safety issues and doing nothing about them.

BUT, if everything is within standard levels, adding a water filtration, or radon, or whatever to make it better - typically won’t give you higher rent. Unless you happen to find that one person who’s willing to spend an extra $100/mo for a water filtration system.

My tenants wouldn’t care about those items sadly. Some with small kids are interested in my lead free certification. This is important for healthy living for families.

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