The Dukes Of Hazzard Will Not Decrease The Value Of your Home

by Katy on August 31, 2008 · 6 comments

If you’re a homeowner, you’re constantly being told which improvements increase the value of your home the most.

I believe your home should reflect your own style and taste, and to not worry about whether it is bland enough for Mr. and Mrs. Average-Joe.

Is it all about the cash value of your home? Or about having a home that fits your needs both functionally and emotionally?

If home improvements were solely based of the resale value of your home, then you could never have your home reflect your own personal style.

One of my best friends from high school was not allowed to put up anything on the walls of her bedroom. Her father was worried it would mar the wallpaper, thus negatively affecting the resale value of the house. Her bedroom had all the pizzazz of a room at The Marriott. She had to hang all her Dukes of Hazzard posters and paraphenalia in the closet. Which was just wrong. (In a number of ways, but that will be left unexplored.)

Her father put the needs of any future buyers ahead of his own daughter.

We are now back on track with our backyard project. The surprise of a leaky oil tank has now been officially dealt with, and the footing for a necessary rock wall has been poured. When finished, we’ll have a large brick patio from free bricks hoarded for years, surrounded by a mortared rock wall — made mostly from free craigslist rocks, of course.

Despite all the free materials, the backyard project will still be a pricey endeavor. (The landscaper is my sister Sara, and she’s no cheap girl.)

The money spent on this project could easily install a second bathroom in our 1914 bungalow. Any real estate agent worth his or her salt would recommend that second bathroom over a patio. But I’m not worried about the future dwellers of our house. I’m thinking about what would make our home more livable for us, in the here and now.

I want to eat home-grown veggies, I want to dine with my family under the shade of our maple tree.

But most importantly, I want a peaceful haven in my own backyard.

So when you’re considering home improvement, I suggest you put your own wants and needs ahead of prospective buyers. You are who is important now.

And now is where we all live.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

CanadianKate August 31, 2008 at 5:21 am

Well said!

Fourteen years ago, we struggled with the decision to put a $65K addition on our house. Do we add to the mortgage or struggle with an inefficient layout for a few more years?

Luckily, we read the comic pages for life’s lessons and For Better or Worse had just finished adding onto their house, only to realize that their oldest would be leaving home in a few years.

Since my oldest was only 9 at that time, we decided to go ahead and get the most number of years out of the good layout.

Of course, now we are struggling with too much space but we’ve had a very comfortable 14 years with the kids having lots of space for friends and lots of space for visitors. And the increased space gives us some interesting options, including splitting the house into two separate units in the future.

So, for us, doing what fit our family was the right move.


Mary C August 31, 2008 at 6:43 am

First, I have to say that I had pictures of Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy all over my room. Ah, memories. We lived in the sticks and people never moved unless they got married or someone died so the value of our home wasn’t an issue.
Today, however, I live in an upscale neighborhood with CC&R’s and not only do we have to think about the resale value of OUR house, but we have to consider our neighbor’s resale value too. The horror!
I want to move back to the sticks.
I am happy you are doing what you want instead of thinking about the resale value. I ALSO would like to remind you that for a good many years, no one had more than one bathroom…and for some, that bathroom wasn’t even inside. Take that Realtors of America!

Lastly, I LOVE the last line of your post. I think I will borrow it as one of my new ‘sayings’.

After all, now is where we all live.



BohoBelle September 1, 2008 at 12:45 am

I’m a home dreamer who plans to build a very small home in the next few years.

But even with the obvious shortage of affordable housing (ie small and simple) everyone keeps telling me that I’m nuts. And that I should think about the resale. Supposedly ‘everyone’ wants 3 bedrooms, at least 2 bathrooms, 3 toilets and a two port built in garage.

I would much rather have a tiny house and a tiny mortgage.

I also see a tiny house as needing less furniture and fittings. ‘Less’ means I will then be able to increase the quality and sustainability of the pieces I do buy.

CanadianKate I like your splitting idea.

And Mary, thanks for pointing out that last line – I’d read it with out it really sinking in. For me, it’s a keeper too.


Jennifer September 1, 2008 at 7:35 am

I totally agree with BohoBelle. I’m a single mom with 3 kids. Right now, I am looking for a 3 bedrooms, since the oldest is 2 years away from college and will be moving out. Then, the two little ones can have their own rooms. I don’t need a 4 or 5 bedroom house.

I also want a small yard – a postage stamp. I don’t like yard work, so the least amount of mowing, the better!


Tony Wolk September 1, 2008 at 2:00 pm

Kate, this one is philosophically beautiful.

What nonsense: “Don’t enjoy your house now, so the next person with the same values will be equally unable to enjoy it.”

One analogue is the old excuse to teach sentence diagramming: “We know it’s useless to help with reading and writing, but your next-grade teacher will expect you to know it.” Another analogue is “How to hold the hammer upside down and accomplish very little.” Useful for the person who anticipates the question, “Do you know how to use an upside-down hammer?”


Marcia September 1, 2008 at 9:54 pm

I think these are such important ideas. It’s important for us to create a home for ourselves that is meaningful and practical, something that works for our families in the present.

In our family, we like to grow as many fruits and vegetables as we can, instead of just lawn and ornamental plants. So as we work on the landscape, we plant fruit trees and blueberry bushes, as well as all kinds of vegetables both in the front yard and the back. Sometimes it has a wilder look than a neatly-trimmed lawn and ordinary shrubs, but it’s wonderful food that we get to enjoy!

Thanks for your inspiring words.


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