For the homeowner attempting to reconcile future market value of their home versus costs, the calculation can seem daunting.  All living arrangements carry an expense, but we have grown accustomed to expecting others (potential buyers, appraisers, lenders) to share our perspective of our home’s dollar value, even without considering the emotional value that we tend to add on top of the market.  After all, a home is where the experiences of family are most immediate, and we cherish that history.  

So how does one account for how much to spend on updating and enhancing structures and interiors when some portion of what we spend may be an expense instead of an investment?  Probably the same way one arrives at any difficult decision—decide on what is most important in your particular situation, gather information, sort options, and then decide.  Having made the best decision you can based on the information available at the time, don’t look back.  You’ll go nuts trying to control the uncontrollable, of which everything that lies in the past is included!  Spend on what is most important to YOU, and save on what you care the least about in terms of your home experience. 

For the builder who is carrying on in this business climate, the choices can also be difficult; however, in business a calculation based on emotion may end an enterprise.  If we can’t make a profit that allows us to build our business, then there is little point in being in the building business.  Just turning over dollars to stay busy is operating at a loss, because the liability factor in creating a custom home using thousands of components, any one of which could unexpectedly underperform, carries a risk to the business that must also be accounted for.  As a homeowner, you certainly want your contractor to be available in the future, because houses can be depended upon to need fixing, even if they can’t be depended upon to go up in market value. 

To sum up this philosophy, you can use the same decision making strategies that would be prudent in any decision of importance.  Be as honest as possible about what is important to you and why, and make choices that are reasonably calculated to return whatever proportion of resale versus expense that you are comfortable with.  Borrow the least amount that still gets the job done, give yourself credit for your efforts, live happy, and don’t look back…except to remember fondly that you purchased a chance at history that only you could make.