Does soundproofing add value?

Behind-the-scenes home upgrades don’t pay at resale

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Finding reliable, reputable contractors can be hard work (Getty Images / Amy Eckert)

Internal work, like soundproofing or extra insulation, doesn’t add value to your home but it can add personal enjoyment.  (Getty Images / Amy Eckert)

Q: There is a lot of information about the likely recovery of renovation costs for things you can see, like bathrooms and kitchens. What about upgrades for things you can’t see—like soundproofing or extra insulation? Any info on paybacks for those types of renovations or suggestions on how to highlight them when it comes time to sell?—Patty

A: While there is plenty of information out there on the return on kitchen or bathroom remodel investments there’s not a lot of information on behind-the-scene investments, such as extra-insulation, energy-efficiency upgrades or , soundproofing.

Theoretically, appraisers will tell you that any improvement to a home’s heat and energy efficiency should increase the value of your home. And it may. For instance, people now understand that a new roof or new windows are good selling features on a home, since these types of upgrades and replacements are expensive. But a new roof or new windows also have a visual, or tangible component—a potential buyer can tell the difference between a old, worn-out shingles and the crisp, clean lines of a new roof. But when it comes to determining what type of return-on-investment you’ll get with internal upgrades, such as soundproofing or extra insulation, I have to say it’s negligible, at best. Fact is people don’t walk into a home and fall in love with the extra fibre-glass insulation that’s been added to the attic, nor do they put “soundproof” at the top of their wish list. Not, unless, they are a studio musician.

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So, sadly, when it comes to internal upgrades — such as fixing a rotten foundation, insulation and even soundproofing—you’re never going to see a big return on your investment. Consider it a sunk cost that should be considered only as long as it helps you enjoy your home more. Of course, you can always highlight that this work has been completed when you go to sell the home, but don’t expect that it will add any additional value to the home: People are not willing, yet, to pay a premium for a home with a repaired crack in the foundation—not when the comparisons in the market not only do not have a crack, but don’t need the repair.

That said, there does appear to be one upgrade that will add approximately 25% of it’s cost to the value of your home: the installation of a back-up power generator. So if you spent $5,000 to buy and install the generator, it theoretically should add about $1,250 to your home’s value.

 

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