Panelists offer useful tips on what and what not to do

Increasing The Value Of Your Home

It’s generally conceded that adding bells and whistles will increase the value of your home. But it took a panel of experts at the Independent Thinking event October 3 to explain throwing money around isn’t the optimal way to go about it.

The event, the third in a series sponsored by The Independent newspaper once again featured radio personality and the newspaper’s associate editor Bridget LeRoy as moderator. Lunch was a satisfying three courses courtesy of the Maidstone Hotel in East Hampton.

Chris Hall, the founder of Peconic Online, now runs CP Complete, a luxury building and landscape company. Hall opined one of the simplest ways to increase value is to re-do bathrooms. Hall, one of the five participants quizzed by LeRoy, offered the most cost-effective way to gain equity: “reduce clutter inside and out,” he offered. That means, as chronic yard-salers and serial shoppers have learned the hard way, be careful what you bring home.

Greg Schmidt, a broker for The Corcoran Group, said, in the end, a house sells because of “curb appeal” more than any other single attribute.

Hall, like several of the panelists, noted outdoor living spaces are all the rage of late. He had a client who served Thanksgiving dinner in an outdoor space he created.

Britton Bistrian of Land Use Solutions has gotten a reputation as the go-to rep when a project needs planning, zoning or architectural review. She also advised to “bring the inside out.”

Bistrian gave an example of a good idea that went awry that illustrates why you may not receive a return on investment if you don’t do your research. A client built a finished basement with high expectations but, “it was below the flood line.” Instant horror story. Although she also noted that getting a permit to build a porch or a pool was worth it, even if you don’t actually build right away. The others agreed.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to check with the powers that be before actually beginning a significant project or buying/selling.

Sometimes a sale is stymied because the paper work isn’t up to snuff, noted Chris Nuzzi, a senior vice president with Advantage Title. “A fence that meanders off the property line, for example.” Nuzzi advised contacting a real estate agent even before you decide to buy or sell. “Let them know what you are thinking of doing,” he said.

“It happens in estate planning, or generational refining,” noted Brian DeSesa, an attorney with the Adam Miller Group, discussing unforeseen delays.

Greg Schmidt, a broker for The Corcoran Group, said, in the end, a house sells because of “curb appeal” more than any other single attribute. Wood floors and extra bedrooms are also sought after. “It’s a buyer’s market,” he cautioned. “If it isn’t irresistible, it won’t sell.”

“Get an updated survey and title report,” suggested DeSesa, before putting your house on the market. That way any problems will come to light before a buyer is alerted.

But selling wasn’t the only purpose of the panel. The subject was adding value to your home, not necessarily increasing the sale price. “Do things that will bring the family together,” Hall noted. “Swimming pools, or porches with landscaping,” he suggested as possible ways of increasing the value of your home for your family right now, and for generations to come.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com