How much value does a dedicated theater add to a small house? - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Which adds more value: dedicated theater or dedicated rec/entertainment room?
Theater 5 22.73%
Rec/Entertainment Room 17 77.27%
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post #1 of 19 Old 07-29-2012, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Just out of curiosity, how much value does adding a dedicated theater to a house add over something like a dedicated rec/entertainment room (may have movie stuff, but not a theater and has other rec area items instead)? And let's not assume this is your gigantic house, but instead a smaller house (2000sq ft.) where the basement would be the area in question. I'm not asking for numbers, but rather an opinion on whether a theater would add more value than a rec area, if the basement is the room which would be converted.

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post #2 of 19 Old 07-29-2012, 07:21 PM
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A dedicated theater room is very "consumer specific", means more than likely, only your male buyer would appreciate it. When I move out from my old house (townhouse), I had my realtor friend came by and take a look as I was thinking to sell it. And the first thing she mentioned is the HT is really cool & guys love it. HOWEVER, even she would rather have the room to be use for something else (like extra bedroom, rec. area) than a dedicated HT that you could only use for watching movie/TV. She said it'll be very very hard to pass any female buyers' approval. Especially in a smallish house! In a bigger single family house, that might be the other way around, will help the sales, as there will be other available area to use for recreation stuffs, bedroom, playroom, etc. But again, it might only "help" to sale the house, still not necessary adding much, if any, value to the house price tho.

In my case, I converted it back to a normal room (white ceiling, no black wall, etc.), and rented it out.
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post #3 of 19 Old 07-29-2012, 07:51 PM
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Dedicated theater in a smaller house may even detract from the value. It's kind of like a pool -- some people love it, some people hate it. Only the segment that really wants a home theater is MUCH smaller. Even in a larger house, it may be at best value neutral - it's just not something that people are looking for when buying a house.
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post #4 of 19 Old 07-29-2012, 08:02 PM
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Many Realtors have stated that a dedicated HT room doesn't add value to a home like said above...it is too consumer specific. When I see a house with a large dedicated HT room, its value is increased for me but I'm not the majority. Recreation/Entertainment rooms appeal to more families with children who make up the majority of buyers. Like landshark1 sated, repainting and putting it back to a neutral use room will help with your resale value.

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post #5 of 19 Old 07-29-2012, 09:07 PM
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Finishing a basement may not add any value to the house. It depends what the expectations of buyers are for the market that you reside in. {My wife is taking her real estate test Tuesday}. If done right though...appealing to the widest market... it would only help to sell the house faster, but do not think you are going to recoup your money - theater or not. I voted rec/room, but my real answer is no value added for either option.
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post #6 of 19 Old 07-30-2012, 05:41 AM
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Like everybody so far I voted for the rec room. Whether either a dedicated theater or rec room would add more value is debatable but I think in terms of being able to sell the house a rec room would be more attractive, all other aspects of the house being equal, than a theater to a majority of buyers. While I have no facts or figures my "gut" reaction is the smaller the house the less the perceived value or attractiveness of special purpose space.
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post #7 of 19 Old 07-30-2012, 07:03 AM
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Usually, in every case with homes, the widest appeal is worth the most. A room that can be used for pretty much anything will always have a wider appeal than a "specific use" feature such as a pool, a bar, or a theater. In fact, a lot of buyers even fill in pools with dirt these days because they don't want to deal with maintenance and upkeep costs. It's the same reasoning behind painting your home with neutral colors. If you have lots of random colors painted in your home for your personal tastes, it is easy for someone else to not like it. Neutral colors might not appeal to everyone, but they don't stand out. My wife is a real-estate agent, and very very often, people do not buy houses because of ugly paint, even if the house is perfect in every other way and they could repaint it, they can't visualize it without the ugly paint. With theaters, the rooms might be interesting, but many can pretty much only be used for one thing. That's a big chunk of house space that could be used for other things. (Hell, some people built them in their garage!) Rooms that don't look much like a theater (a screen hanging on a wall with some in wall speakers) can easily be turned into a non-theater. Rooms with a riser, fabric walls, etc are much harder to change into a multi-purpose room and might even require demolition to use it for something else.

One thing you can do though, is mention it to parents who have small kids. The thing to mention specifically is that it is soundproofed. Put their kids in there with an animated movie and you have 2 hours of silence.

It might not add any value to your house either way as people are so obsessed with how it compares to the other houses they are looking at, or even homes in the same neighborhood. But it may very well be the deciding factor for a buyer when it comes to your house or someone else's.
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post #8 of 19 Old 07-30-2012, 06:38 PM
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Coming from a family of Realtors, a rec room far outweighs a dedicated theater value wise. It may even drop the value depending on the buyers. Even as an AV enthusiast I wouldn't pay extra for a home theater. I'd much prefer an empty space to do with what I want. It's similar to a walk-in humidor. Many people smoke cigars, and many people watch movies. But not many people are willing to give up an entire room just for those tasks.
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post #9 of 19 Old 07-31-2012, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rs691919 View Post

Dedicated theater in a smaller house may even detract from the value. It's kind of like a pool -- some people love it, some people hate it. Only the segment that really wants a home theater is MUCH smaller. Even in a larger house, it may be at best value neutral - it's just not something that people are looking for when buying a house.

We bought our house last summer and saw this house that was perfect: big, open concept, 4 car garage . . .But its backyard was a pool. Very little grass, and a big ol' pool. We passed, because we wanted a yard! eek.gifsmile.gif

I agree on the HT being about the same. A dedicated HT would be a selling point IF it didn't sacrifice anything else. But if you take a 4 BR house and make it a 3 BR, or 3 to 2, you've lost a huge portion of your buying block. But I think a surround wired great room, or multi purpose room could only help your sale. smile.gif
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post #10 of 19 Old 07-31-2012, 09:18 AM
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I agree with what has been stated above. I doubt you'd ever recoup the money put into a theater room in a small house, where every bit of usable square footage counts. For the majority it would devalue the home, though for other enthusiasts a well-done theater may be a selling point. If I didn't plan on staying in my home for more than 10 years, I wouldn't have done a dedicated room with soundproofing and the whole works. That being said, we had a custom home built, and the basement is finished with a kitchenette, bedroom, full bath, living room, rec room, and the dedicated theater. Since it includes all of these elements and the theater space is in a windowless corner anyway, I'd like to think it increased sellability at the very least, though I doubt I'd get any money back on it.
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post #11 of 19 Old 07-31-2012, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTheGreat View Post

We bought our house last summer and saw this house that was perfect: big, open concept, 4 car garage . . .But its backyard was a pool. Very little grass, and a big ol' pool. We passed, because we wanted a yard! eek.gifsmile.gif
I agree on the HT being about the same. A dedicated HT would be a selling point IF it didn't sacrifice anything else. But if you take a 4 BR house and make it a 3 BR, or 3 to 2, you've lost a huge portion of your buying block. But I think a surround wired great room, or multi purpose room could only help your sale. smile.gif


Personally, I think your reasoning is foolish. I would buy a house any day that had a pool and a backyard that needed little maintenance over a big back yard that needed mowing and watering. Especially with this hot summer we have been having in Michigan this year. But as the saying goes, "That is why they make chocolate and vanilla". I think it is wrong to try and pigeon hole all buyers into one size fits all. The problem with the original title of this thread is that small house was stated. If it had been changed to large house I think you would be getting different answers. A person who is buying an expensive house theses days is expecting a home theater/screening room, at least they do around me in my area. I just recently bought a condo/townhouse. One of the things that attracted me to it over others was a large, unfinished basement that can be converted into a home theater. Other plusses were never having to cut and water grass or touch a snow shovel again. I agree HOAs are a pain but I keep to myself and they pretty much leave me alone. We did dance over my Directv dish but the law says I can have it so there is not much they can do about it other then be nasty and I just ignore that. Oh and on your bedroom comment, the first thing I did when I moved into my condo was make one of the bedrooms into a TV room. I hate having TVs in living rooms or family rooms. I think you have been watching too much HGTV. Do what you like and what pleases you and don't worry about being designer correct. When it comes right down to it, you are the one paying the mortgage and you only need to please yourself. I don't buy houses with the intent to flip or resell. I buy them to live in and enjoy myself.
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post #12 of 19 Old 07-31-2012, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macfan View Post

Personally, I think your reasoning is foolish. I would buy a house any day that had a pool and a backyard that needed little maintenance over a big back yard that needed mowing and watering. Especially with this hot summer we have been having in Michigan this year. But as the saying goes, "That is why they make chocolate and vanilla". I think it is wrong to try and pigeon hole all buyers into one size fits all. The problem with the original title of this thread is that small house was stated. If it had been changed to large house I think you would be getting different answers. A person who is buying an expensive house theses days is expecting a home theater/screening room, at least they do around me in my area. I just recently bought a condo/townhouse. One of the things that attracted me to it over others was a large, unfinished basement that can be converted into a home theater. Other plusses were never having to cut and water grass or touch a snow shovel again. I agree HOAs are a pain but I keep to myself and they pretty much leave me alone. We did dance over my Directv dish but the law says I can have it so there is not much they can do about it other then be nasty and I just ignore that. Oh and on your bedroom comment, the first thing I did when I moved into my condo was make one of the bedrooms into a TV room. I hate having TVs in living rooms or family rooms. I think you have been watching too much HGTV. Do what you like and what pleases you and don't worry about being designer correct. When it comes right down to it, you are the one paying the mortgage and you only need to please yourself. I don't buy houses with the intent to flip or resell. I buy them to live in and enjoy myself.

Oh I agree, I'll do what I want to my house and to hell with everybody else's opinions! biggrin.gif

But from a strict resale opinion, I might take out my custom chandeliers and paint our purple bathroom white!

Our house had loads of wallpaper in it and was on the market for 1.5 years before we bought it. The selling agent couldn't convince the sellers to remove it, and the average Joe Blow who came it didn't like it and didn't want to fuss with it. wink.gif
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post #13 of 19 Old 07-31-2012, 11:02 AM
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When it comes right down to it, you are the one paying the mortgage and you only need to please yourself. I don't buy houses with the intent to flip or resell. I buy them to live in and enjoy myself.

My feelings exactly. If you only look to upgrade your home with resale value in mind, you will never get the home you really want. If you are already PLANNING to move, than don't improve the house beyond basic things to get it sold. Wait until you get your "final" house and then make the way you want it and can enjoy it.

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post #14 of 19 Old 07-31-2012, 12:12 PM
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If you are planning on selling the house in the near future maybe stay away from the dedicated theater. However I just sold my house 8 months ago, it was a small house and I had a theater with a projector, theater seats on a riser, component rack, etc.. That ended up being the reason they bought the house. They actually wanted me to leave all the equipment there so I added up the cost and added that to the offer and they accepted. So now I get to use that money to put into my current theater project. Two women bought my house and really liked the idea of the theater.
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post #15 of 19 Old 07-31-2012, 02:45 PM
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Having been in the Military and have traveled a lot for business, I understand the growing need for those who must look at resale value at purchase or present time. Of course if it is a place you are retiring in and have no plans of relocating, they make it your own. However the question was about resale value (whether sold or not). I love homes with Man Caves/basements, however there are none where I live now. I did find a nice $650k home brand new with a dedicated HT room, 4 BR adn 4.5 BA....eek.gif I must have it soon.

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post #16 of 19 Old 08-01-2012, 07:51 AM
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I would say it helped to sell my old 2000 SQFT house. Of course in my basement I had a rec room (play room) for my kids that lead to the HT. I didn't really steal space from other areas to make it happen as the place still had its bedrooms, rec room, family room, living/dining room combo, etc.

If anything, what it lacked was storage other than the garage and attic - although the attic was HUGE. Just a PITA to get to since it didn't have pull down stairs. My buyer was a divorced dad, kids mostly grown but around for weekend. The HT was a definite draw.

In the end though other than adding sizzle and getting me foot traffic the ultimate offer was not much more than I would have expected for finished square feet. But I had an offer in 30 days. Other houses, identical except for my basement sat for well over 6 months. The green glue and double drywall, grafik eye, and all the things we do to do it right and zero pricing power. I miss the sound isolation benefits in my new place.
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post #17 of 19 Old 08-01-2012, 08:29 AM
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Most likely it won't add any value to your house, but it may push a buyer to purchase your house over another in your neighborhood.
Like someone else said, in a small house it could devalue it to a buyer depending on how much room it takes up.
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post #18 of 19 Old 08-01-2012, 08:40 AM
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I think the soundproofing element adds value as a kids playroom, or bedroom, or any kind of rec room. If you cover up windows make sure to be able to uncover them to sell the house - windows always add value (particularly in the basement when it is an egress window).

In my case I lowered a part of the basement room by 1 foot, to implicitly create both a stage and tiered seating. This lowered area has a ceiling height of 7.5' now instead of the 6.5' of the rest of the basement. I do believe this added value to the house because it makes the room feel enormously more spacious. When I go to sell and possibly remove the theater elements, the room can still have a sunken rec-room vibe - A little dated perhaps, but in a basement you can get away with that IMO. (Or even better - someone can put a giant waterbed in the lowered area and have the greatest basement bedroom ever biggrin.gif)

Acoustic treatments - plan on taking those with you!
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post #19 of 19 Old 08-01-2012, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wlcohen View Post

Most likely it won't add any value to your house, but it may push a buyer to purchase your house over another in your neighborhood.
Like someone else said, in a small house it could devalue it to a buyer depending on how much room it takes up.

A real estage agent lives a couple houses up from me and when she was over for a movie, I asked her about any resale benefits for my basement ht - not that I had any illusions. My house is roughly 3000 sqft and not compromised by the theater taking square footage instead of a bedroom or whatever. It is a windowless, stand alone room in the basement. She said I probably would not see any financial increase over the finished square footage but thought it would help the house appeal to a more higher end demographic. Real estate agents are always fishing for future clients and I still think a plain jane room would be the best and leave flexability for the highest bidder to achieve their own dream in...tongue.gif

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