Luxury Home Features: Are They Worth It?

Chicago realtor offers expert insight on the value of upscale add-ons.

When looking for a new home, homeowners typically have a laundry list of what they want to see in their new place. However, that list doesn’t always line up with what they can afford. While it’s easy to get distracted by pretty, shiny features, homeowners should focus on the foundation, layout and nuts and bolts of a home first and the less important—but more exciting—features later. Oftentimes these features can drive up the cost of a property far more than it would cost to add them on after purchase.

Kyle Jamicich, associate broker for Coldwell Banker, advises his clients on this topic on a regular basis, especially new homeowners. He offers insight on overrated home features that homeowners could add with relative ease and minimal cost.

Crown Molding.

“A lot of clients get really excited about crown molding, but what they don’t realize is it only costs around $1.00 per square foot in materials,” said Jamicich. “Home buyers can purchase the materials and hire a handyman or install it themselves for just a few hundred dollars.”

The “Right” Floors.

As trends in flooring lean toward lighter colors, many homebuyers get turned off by darker floors. However, Jamicich notes that swapping out flooring later offers significant cost savings. “Flooring costs on average $3.00 per square foot, but a seller would upcharge that to around $5.00 per square foot and bake that into the cost of the home.”

Updated Cabinets.

Kitchen colors are trending toward white, gray or a mix of the two colors, so when homebuyers see older maple or oak cabinets, they get discouraged, thinking they would need to replace the cabinets. Jamicich advises his clients that new cabinetry can add $10,000 to the cost of a home, and to consider reglazing. Homeowners can achieve the same effect, with a price tag of less than $2,000.

Perfect Paint Colors.

Jamicich notes that many of his clients get distracted by bad paint colors or stark white walls. “You wouldn’t believe how many people rule out a home because of the color of its walls. Painting a home is one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to transform a home, and they can do it themselves in one weekend for the cost of paint.”

Contemporary Trim.

“A signature feature of the 90s was maple trim around doors and windows. It’s common in Chicago homes and is very dated, but what most homeowners don’t know is that they can paint it white and completely transform the look of it for around $35.”

When looking at a home, it’s important to thoroughly consider what is a deal breaker and what can be easily fixed. Being honest with your realtor up front about what you’re looking for can help him or her find you the perfect place. But depending on your needs, you might need to be flexible and open to installing these add-ons after purchasing a home.