Cost: More Than a Furnace, Less than a Roof (Usually)

One of the biggest stealth expenses for homeowners is a new driveway.

Depending on the driveway’s size and construction material (concrete vs. asphalt), the cost can easily exceed $10k.

When should would-be home Sellers contemplate replacing it?**

The Consistency Criterion

My 2¢: the most important variable in deciding whether to get a new driveway isn’t the condition of the driveway ” it’s the condition of the (hopefully attached) house.

By that, I mean if the home is in terrific condition but the driveway is a mess, the Seller is well-advised to replace it.

Prospective Buyers will be put off by the latter ” some to the point of even skipping the home altogether (in which case the discount is theoretically infinite, never mind the $10k the Seller might have spent).

By contrast, a new driveway in front of a tired home isn’t going to help the sales price.

When that’s the case, Sellers should skip the expense, except for perhaps doing some cosmetic patching.

P.S.: What’s usually much less important to Buyers than the driveway? The condition of the garage floor, typically a concrete slab.

Unless it’s conspicuously heaved, looks like a giant jigsaw puzzle and/or resembles the San Andreas Fault, Sellers can usually avoid spending money on repairs — at least at lower price points.

**Even when the driveway is practically un-passable due to cracking, heaving, etc., I can’t remember ever seeing it called as a city-required repair ” at least in cities that have point of sale inspections. Nor is a worn driveway a legitimate Buyer’s inspection issue, given its all-too-apparent nature.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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