Pop Top or Not?

100 Real Estate Tips in 100 Days (Day 51)

City dwellers love their neighborhoods and are willing to pay the expense to tailor their old homes to fit their current needs.  If a homeowner has a home with a large enough "footprint" in a good neighborhood, then popping the top might be the solution.

Expenses of such renovation are seldom accurately predicted, due to factors unknown.  Most families end up moving out of the home while the construction is underway.  Depending on the speed of the contractor and the amount of work needed, renovations could take 6 months to a year.  Costs are into 6 figures.

The end result is usually very pleasant for the homeowner, who sacrificed living standards in order to have a nicer home.

Homes scraped from the lots are generally homes that are so functionally obsolete, it's cheaper and more efficient to demolish it.  Huge, monster sized homes usually mushroom up on modest lots, leaving little room for landscaping.  The price is usually tripled, if the home is done well.

Are there pitfalls?  Yes, be sure the end result is reasonable for the amount spent.  Does it fit the neighborhood price range?  Is your budget flexible enough to absorb cost overages?  Does your house plan fit the neighborhood?

It is wise to use a contractor who specializes in the type of home to be modified.  Experience counts.

For good examples of Pop tops and scrapes, visit the neighborhoods of Washington Park, Bonnie Brae, Congress Park, Platt Park, Observatory Park and Park Hill.  These areas all support home improvements and enjoy good appreciation even in a soft market.  If the job is done right.

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