Expert: ‘Man Cave’ Doesn’t Hurt Home’s Resale Value

photoEven with the downturn in the real estate market, people still look at their homes as a major investment. For that reason, any lasting changes made to the property must be viewed with an eye toward resale value.

So, does building a “man cave” detract from the home’s value when it comes time to sell? The good news for men is one financial expert says it does not.

“As long as you don’t make it too specific, there tends to be a resale market for man caves,” said Stephanie Rauterkus, a professor of accounting and finance in the University of Alabamas-Birmingham (UAB) School of Business.

Of course, that can be tricky in a cosmopolitan area like Fairfax County. Sure, the Washington Redskins are off to a good start in the NFL season, and the home team remains highly popular. But Fairfax draws people from all over the country, including fans of the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. An over-the-top man cave pimped out in burgundy and gold might be a turn off to some potential buyers who happen to be hard-core fans of Redskins’ rivals.

Think local

Instead of paying homage to one particular team, man cave décor should include tributes to sports in general, and maybe local college teams like George Mason, George Washington, and Georgetown. Framed photos and sports memorabilia is always a nice touch. If you have children involved in high school, let them put up a pennant or posters celebrating their teams.

Rauterkus is an equal partner in her husband’s sports passion and is completely onboard with his man cave, joining him each weekend to watch hours of games on their big screen TV. But she said she and her husband, who are University of Cincinnati alums, restrained themselves when it came to decorating.

“For ours I didn’t want to put a Bearcat claw on one wall, because even though it’s just paint, somebody who is not a Cincinnati fan may go ‘uggggghhh, I gotta paint and do this and that’” said Rauterkus, author of the 365 Days on a Budget blog.

And, depending on where you live, it’s easy to get caught in the middle of a heated college rivalry.

“Down here, even if you go Alabama or Auburn, you have a 50/50 chance of having a team that turns somebody off of buying your house,” Rauterkus said.

Stay sane

In Fairfax County, think Maryland and Virginia. And then, there’s the whole matter of what to spend on a man cave. First and foremost, Rauterkus says, “Don’t go crazy with it.”

• Rule One: Stay sane with the cost. Only spend what you can afford.
• Rule Two: Stay sane with the decor. In case you move or your team preferences change.
• Rule Three: Stay sane with the decision. Sleep on it as you would for all major purchases.

“Sports is all about emotion and that is how we get into trouble — when the emotions kick in,” said Rauterkus. “But when it comes time to write the check or plunk down the plastic somehow you have to get the emotion out. You have to ask yourself: Is this a smart decision? What are the long-term ramifications?”