What to know before installing built-ins

After purchasing a new home, buyers often want to put their own fingerprint on the property. Homeowners anticipate the day when their homes are transformed into spaces that reflect their style and not the preferences of previous owners.

When deciding how to renovate interior spaces, homeowners will make some relatively temporary changes, but they also may consider some permanent adjustments. Built-ins fall into the category of permanent adjustments, and while realty professionals note that built-ins tend to provide a good return on investment, homeowners can learn more about built-ins before deciding if they want to install them in their homes.

What are built-ins?

Realtor.com defines built-ins as any feature that is built into the interior of a home. The term “built-ins” may immediately conjure up images of bookshelves, but built-ins also include benches and entertainment centers.

Why install built-ins?

Built-ins can be both utilitarian and aesthetically appealing. Built-ins are functional because they provide storage space that homeowners may otherwise find hard to create. Built-ins are embedded in walls that may otherwise be useful only to hang artwork. This can provide much-needed storage space in homes with limited square footage. Professionally installed built-ins also can transform rooms, making them appear more organized. Customized built-ins also can give homes their own unique character, though it’s important to note that prospective buyers may or may not appreciate that uniqueness.

Are there disadvantages to built-ins?

The permanence of built-ins may not appeal to some buyers. If buyers don’t like built-ins at all or are not fond of the look of customized built-ins, that may be enough to convince them to walk away from a property. However, Realtor.com notes that functional built-ins, like built-in bench seats with storage capacity, appeal to modern buyers and their preference for as much storage space as possible.

Permanent built-ins also can be costly. The home remodeling resource Fixr.com notes that built-in entertainment center installations can cost between $8,000 and $9,500. Built-in seating and bookshelves are not as costly, but such projects still cost more than simply buying premade furniture.

Some buyers also may see built-ins as limiting what they can do with a space. That can be a major disadvantage as more professionals work from home and seek multi-functional spaces in their homes.

Built-ins can dramatically change the look of a room and provide some much-needed storage space. But it’s imperative that homeowners give ample thought to built-ins before deciding to install them in their homes.

Janelle B. Smith

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