Real Estate by Debbie Reynolds: Architectural Details Don't Bring Dollar for Dollar Returns

Architectural Details Don't Bring Dollar for Dollar Returns

Doing Comps

I was helping an agent prepare a CMA and do some adjustments on a house that was totally upgraded. It was located in an average neighborhood but the owner had over-improved it by adding the finest products and architectural details that put it way over the top of the neighborhood's value. They of course thought it was worth more than the other homes in the neighborhood because of all they had done.

Though a buyer may be impressed by the way the home looks, a buyer is generally limited to value as determined by an appraiser. Replacement windows show some value but when you invest 3 times the amount into them over another good product, don't expect to get your money back. Consider it something you are doing for your own enjoyment.

The same is true about cosmetic details. They can be attractive and ever outstanding but in a buyer's opinion it may not increase value. In fact, an owner may invest tons of money into something unattractive that will devalue the home in the buyer's eyes. 

Twisted brick columns

Twisted bricks 

I saw this unique brickwork on a new commercial building and was very impressed with the talent it displayed. The masons did an outstanding job but this may not have increased the value of the overall structure. Architectural details can make a building stand out, create notice and make it look exceptional from the rest but not add the value found in added square footage and other amenities. Location matters. Home owners must be careful to not get carried away in their areas. It is not a dollar invested to get a dollar back when it comes to improvements.

Don't over-invest in improvements in your home and expect to get all your money back. It doesn't work that way. Adding baths, square footage, upgrading kitchens and flooring will give you the biggest bang for your buck.

If you are thinking about selling your Clarksville TN home, contact The Real Debbie Reynolds at 931-320 6730.

 Centruy 21 Platinum Properties2130 Wilma Rudolph Blvd.

Clarksville, TN 37040

When you need Real Estate services in Clarksville TN

                  it would be my pleasure to assist you!                             

Debbie Reynolds
"The Real Debbie Reynolds"

Check out all Clarksville TN Real Estate on My Website

931-771-9070 Office | 931-320-6730 Cell

Clarksville TN Homes 


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Comment balloon 13 commentsDebbie Reynolds • September 08 2018 09:43PM


Great post - I just had this conversation with a buyer last week about over improving her home in a townhouse community

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC (Keller Williams Capital Properties) almost 2 years ago

MAny things that look cool are not always worth the money it takes to build them

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) almost 2 years ago

Hi Debbie- I was called in to consult with an investor who was doing exactly what you wrote about. He spared no expense even in a secondary bathroom. The tile in the shower was expensive and unique and totally taste specific. His agent and I tried but he was not hearing any of it. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) almost 2 years ago

Another outstanding post Debbie Reynolds as it can be difficult for some home sellers to understand why their over improved home can't sell for the price point they believe it's worth...appraisals must be met.

And what great photos of that commercial don't see that type of detail in brick very often anymore.  That reflects some talented brick masons!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) almost 2 years ago

Good point Debbie Reynolds and crazy pictures.

Posted by Bob "RealMan" Timm, Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor (Ward County Notary Services) almost 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing the great tips. I hope home sellers will read it too 

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) almost 2 years ago

Excellent post and reminder, Debbie. At the end of the day, very few improvements bring dollar for dollar returns and the more you invest, the lower the return in many cases.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Realty) almost 2 years ago

There are some features and improvements you do for yourself..and not necessarily expect to get the return on your investment.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 2 years ago

Good morning Debbie.  This is a mistake that many homeowners make if they are doing it for resale value.  It's fine to do if they do it for their own personal comfort and desires with no expectations on a big return.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) almost 2 years ago

Hello Debbie --- "over-improvement"  is often difficult to explain but you have done an expert job. Good post. 

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 almost 2 years ago

This is excellent advice to share with home owners and their listing agents.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) almost 2 years ago

Debbie, so apropos for a current buyer of mine, with a pending transaction that has been quite a drama-filled debacle. I've forwarded this article to my buyers. 

Posted by Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate, "Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905 (John L Scott Market Center) almost 2 years ago

OK Debbie,  the top photo is inspired by St. Peter's Baldachin in the Vatican:

The twisted columns may have evolved from Old Testament descriptions, I am not completely sure of this.  Renaissance architects picked up on this and these columns were formed to commemorate or represent an extremely high notable clergy or politician.  They are extremely difficult to carve.

The second photo with the brick twisting horizontally is pure nonsense.  Of course, we were taught, brick is a compressive material and should not be used in tension.  

This application has the same measure of insanity as many of the designs in my Pinterest blog.

In general, highly ornamental details tend to make a house look more... expensive.  They comprise period moldings and panels, etc.

Thanks for these photos as I will pass them around to my associates here for comment....

Posted by John Henry, Florida Architect, Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design (John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc.) almost 2 years ago