I have spoken with Back Bay condo buyers who frequently tell me they’re okay with “doing some work” and not paying for another owner’s remodel. And many times, that’s a sound plan when it comes to kitchens and bathrooms. After all, these renovations are typically pretty straightforward, and they provide an instant bang for the buck. Buy a Back Bay condo with a tired, 1980s kitchen and bath, spruce them up, and you’ve added immediate value.
However, there are certain property upgrades that should be appreciated and valued more than I think they are for Back Bay condo buyers. A chef’s kitchen with a CaesarStone counter and a slick, high-end soaking tub in the master suite are all fine and good. But what about the Back Bay condo building itself, what value is an upgraded foundation–or a substantially repaired one? Or a new furnace/ductwork; roof; seismic upgrades; repaired dry rot/termite damage; upgraded plumbing and electrical? Though you can’t necessarily see these sorts of repairs in slick marketing photos, they’re important building components that need periodic attention. As Back Bay condo buyer review the Back Bay condo meeting notes for potential or past building upgrades. Can’t stress it enough very important.
A good portion of the aforementioned items can be fairly expensive. For example, the foundation repair/improvement work can be a significant cost. And the seismic upgrades made at the front and rear of the building will also contribute to a more solid footing. Sure, we have a remodeled kitchen and bath in your unit, which is great, but future owners when go to sell won’t want to deal with these capital improvement repairs.
I’ve seen some good Back Bay condos sit on the market a while because owners were trying to recoup all the special assessment fee money they spent on certain structural items. It’s difficult to quantify how much money you can expect to recover on, say, the $20,000 roof you installed, or the $10,000 on plumbing and electrical upgrades. These items will certainly add value, but how much value will be up to the Back Bay condo buyers. In general, they’re the type of items you address as part of long-term property maintenance. And hopefully, the Back Bay condo buyer who likes your home will be savvy enough to appreciate the upgrades and repairs.
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