The most profitable home improvement you can make to a two-story home is on the first floor but it is not in the kitchen.
A granite slab counter top is not the most profitable home improvement. What the American average 2,200 square foot, two-story home needs is a floor plan that accounts for an aging population.
Living Longer with No Stairs
For one, there are the buyers who want to care for their elderly parents. As quoted in the NY Times, US Census Bureau data illustrates that Americans who were 65 in 1972 could expect to live 15.2 more years; in 2010, they were expected to live 19.1 more years. Not all of these seniors will need a nursing home and some will not be able to afford it. Moving in with their children instead of keeping their own home often will be more cost effective.
Living Together in Peace
Then there are the part-time, resident grandparents from afar. Working couples with school age and younger children rely on schools and day care centers for much of their children’s care. Come summer, they invite their parents to take over that role. This gives the grandparents a chance to enjoy their growing grandchildren. Also, the arrangement brings three generations together in a way that is familiar to many of these immigrant families. Again, many of these older live-in baby sitters don’t like to climb stairs.
Finally, guest quarters separated by a flight of stairs gives guests more privacy and does not interfere with the family routine upstairs.
New construction and resale homes with this downstairs configuration are hard to find. Having finally found one, a client of mine submitted an offer this week. The offer was well above list price but it was still not enough.
I was fortunate to offer one of these homes for sale. The addition of an extra downstairs bedroom and full bath was a profitable home improvement for the seller because there was great demand for it by the buyers. The home received 18 offers and sold for 12 percent over asking price.
A Worthwhile Investment
What does this mean to you as the owner of a two-story home? If you have a home with an extra bedroom and full bath downstairs you’ve won the lottery. If you have the space for an extra bedroom downstairs or can convert that home office and can modify that bathroom to include a shower, it will be the most profitable home improvement you will have ever made.
This is the 41st issue of The View from the Street.