Money Smarts Blog

Real Estate Agents are for More Than Buying and Selling

Apr 28, 2021 || Kelsey Stumpf, IHMVCU Member


Our daughter had recently turned one and I was more than overwhelmed by all the stuff we had accumulated – toys, stuffed animals, puzzles, books. You name it, she had it. After taking inventory of everything she had, donating what we could and trashing what wasn’t salvageable, we still needed a play area for her that wasn’t in the living room or her bedroom. I didn’t want to be looking at toys when I was enjoying my after-bedtime wine and TV in our living room. And I’m a believer that the bedroom is meant for sleep, not play.

My husband and I were on the same page, we needed a playroom. But where? Our first thought was to enclose our screen porch and make that her dedicated play space. So, we set out for some quotes from local contractors to see how much it would cost. On the high end, $25,000 and on the low end $10,000. This was a little bit of a shock to the system, but we decided if it added enough value (hello, more square footage) to the house, we’d move forward with it. That’s where our real estate agent came in. We gave her a call and told her what we were looking to do, the estimates we received and asked if this would add enough resale value to the house to justify the cost. After digging a little, she came back to us and said no, it’s not worth the cost.

We decided to take the money we had saved and put it toward other updates around the home – kitchen backsplash, updated paint throughout, a shiplap wall (Thanks, Joanna) and a bathroom refresh.

In the end, it was a relief to hear we shouldn’t enclose the screen porch and it’s become one of our most used spaces in the spring and fall. Where did the playroom end up? We moved my office to our bedroom and turned the office into a playroom. Sounds terrible but truly our bedroom is unnecessarily large, so I have the perfect office set up next to my closet and my daughter has her own playroom. The things we do for our kids, am I right?

All this to say, use your real estate agent! You may think their job is done once you’ve moved in but they’re looking to continue that relationship for the long term. They never know when you’ll be looking to upgrade or downsize, and they want to be top of mind when you do. They’ve seen so many homes that they know what sells and what doesn’t. 

If you're looking to update your home and want to use your home's equity to do so, check out this blog to learn all about equity

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