Jan. 10, 2009: Doing the right kinds of repairs and remodeling to your home is the key to maintaining its resale value

Cleaning, painting and doing small repairs around the house are just about unlimited virtues for homeowners.

They're a matter of necessity for people who hope to sell their homes. Only the best-prepared homes are selling at premium prices right now, with the rest going at or near the lender-owned price.

But even if you're not selling, staying on top of the little things promotes your enjoyment of the home, and it helps to sustain its resale value. At a minimum, regular maintenance will help you catch small problems before the become big, expensive problems.

But if doing little jobs matters a lot, what about doing big jobs? Should you redo the kitchen and bathrooms while the market is low? Should you convert the carport into a garage and the patio into a family room? Should you add on a brand new master suite?

The definitive answer to all these questions is: Maybe.

Remember that the Phoenix real estate market may be down for years to come. It's possible you won't see a return on your investment for quite a while.

On the other hand, if you know you're going to be in the home for the next five years, and if a new kitchen will substantially improve your enjoyment of the home, it might be worth doing.

Labor can be very cheap right now, and money is easy to obtain if you have equity in your home. But you have to resist the urge to over-improve for your neighborhood. Brazilian Blue Marble is gorgeous, but it probably won't be worth more than Corian or Formica countertops on resale.

Serious additions are a bigger question. If you know you're going to be in the home for five years, you're probably okay. If the addition makes sense -- if you live in a neighborhood of two bedroom homes, adding a master suite makes great sense -- then go ahead.

Build with permits and follow the building codes, though. The worst thing you can do is spend money and time on supposed improvements that actually reduce the resale value of the home.

Greg Swann is the designated broker for BloodhoundRealty.com, a full-service Metropolitan Phoenix real estate brokerage. This article originally appeared in the West Valley regional sections of the Arizona Republic.

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About BloodhoundRealty.com: Who we are and how we work

Why do we deliver so much more value for our clients? For one thing, it's a great strategy for marketing our real estate brokerage. But even before that, we love selling real estate, and we want to do the best job we can for our clients.

BloodhoundRealty.com is a boutique real estate brokerage working in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and the Phoenix suburbs. We would love to help you buy a home in Metropolitan Phoenix or to sell the Paradise Valley home you already own. If you're relocating to Scottsdale, we'll show you some hi-tech tactics we've discovered to save you time and money. And if your goal is to invest in Phoenix-area rental homes, we've helped dozens of investors realize their financial goals.

We work a lot harder than the agents we compete against. As an example, take a look at everything we do to list historic, architecturally-distinctive and mid-century modern luxury homes for sale. No one does the kinds of things we do, and we're just as detail-oriented -- and exuberant! -- when we work with buyers. Day by day, task by task, home by home, we want to get as close as we can to perfect performance as Realtors -- a virtual virtuosity in real estate representation.

We write, too -- could you have guessed? BloodhoundRealty.com is our main Phoenix real estate weblog, but we also publish Distinctive Phoenix, which is devoted to historic and architecturally-distinctive homes in Central and North Central Phoenix, and Distinctive Paradise Valley Homes, which is focused on the incomparable luxury real estate to be found in Paradise Valley. Our most famous weblog, though, is BloodhoundBlog, our nationally-focused real estate industry, marketing and technology blog -- which puts us in the vanguard of hi-tech real estate brokerage.

But that's all just credentials. We're thoroughgoing Realtors, contemplative Realtors, innovative Realtors, very hard-working Realtors. We're definitely hi-tech Realtors, and the internet, surely, is the second best tool a Realtor can deploy -- and we use the internet better than any of our competitors. But the best tool -- always -- is integrity, and without integrity there is nothing.

We believe in clear, detailed, complete communication. Where other Realtors might hope to dazzle you with pretty pictures, we bend over backward to tell you the whole, unvarnished truth about real estate transactions -- how they succeed and why they sometimes fail. It can be a comfort, at times, to 'leave it to the experts.' But real estate decisions can have very costly, life-long consequences. If you want to know every detail about your transaction, we want to share them with you.

Our passion is to do the best we can do, to find the best house at the best price, to find the best-qualified buyer for your home, to negotiate the best terms, to help our clients reach the best decisions, making the best possible investment. We're not about doing deals, we're about forging relationships. We want for you, as our client, to be so delighted by our efforts that you could not conceive of working with another Realtor.

Above all, we are about family -- yours and ours. And while we might be a small business, there is nothing small -- or small-time or small-minded -- in the way we do business. We want to be your Realtor for life. We will do everything we can to make that happen.

Want to find out more?

Please do!

You can visit our main Phoenix real estate web site at BloodhoundRealty.com or you can pick up the phone and dial 602-740-7531. (Outside of Arizona? Dial 1-800-508-5430.)

Either way, we're proud Bloodhounds at your command -- devoutly loyal, smart, frisky and eager to please...

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