Improve Your Home’s Value By Creating Sanctuaries

Zen Garden Sanctuary

SF Japanese Tea Garden, GGP

Part of making your home as desirable as possible is creating as many sanctuaries as possible. A sanctuary is a place where you can be alone for hours with your thoughts. The world is chaotic. Having a sanctuary room allows one to recharge. For a writer, finding a quiet place to work is especially important.

After going through five months of pain building a master bathroom extension, I thought I had built my one and only sanctuary. I’ve already spent over a hundred hours in the jacuzzi tub. But I’m pleased to say that after only three days, I’ve built another!

A New Home Sanctuary

When I bought my fixer, it had an old rumpus room downstairs that had been left untouched for 65 years. The floor was covered in peeling linoleum, and the ceiling consisted of office-like squares with water stains spread throughout. But instead of seeing the space as ugly, I saw it as an opportunity to make something beautiful!


The old closet area

I replaced the walls with new sheetrock, and divided the rumpus room into a master bedroom and a walk-in closet. The walk-in closet is 7 feet wide by 16 feet long, large enough to have a his and hers side.

A year after the room was built, however, I realized the closet was wasted space. As I no longer had a day job, there was little need to ever change into any business attire. My new uniform was t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers. The closet became the least visited room in the house and a part of me wished I had created a larger master bedroom instead.

One of my mistakes in building the walk-in closet was that I failed to install a window before the sheetrock was being replaced. There was a water pipe in the way, and I thought it would be too much of a hassle to change the route. My contractor at the time also wasn’t the most competent of people I’ve ever worked with.

It was silly of me not to proceed with building a window since the closet faced west towards the ocean. Not only would a window bring in natural light and better feng shui, but a window would also increase the value of the property.

Given one of the takeaways from the post, “Stock Market Meltdown Implications For Everyone,” is to figure out alternative ways to invest money on things that can last, it was time for me to get back to work!

Creating Home Value By Creating A Window

Here’s a picture of my walk-in closet that I created after replacing all the walls and windows. It’s large enough to be another bedroom at 120 square feet, but it lacked a window.

Sanctuary Before

Newly built sanctuary before. Not bad, but felt like a cave.

Walk-In Closet

Bashing a hole through a perfectly fine wall

Walkin closet

Revealing the old pipe, which made me not want to get a window

Walk-in Closet frame

Creating the window frame with proper support and repositioning the water pipe to the back yard

Walk In Closet Light

Breaking through the stucco



Installing a new Milgard window


Sheetrock up and mudded. Time for me to paint

Creating An Office Out Of A Walk-In Closet

When I had to clear the room of all my clothes and shelves, I had an epiphany. Without all the clutter, the room felt much bigger. So instead of hanging back up all my clothes, I decided to just give most of it away. It was then that I realized I could create a standing desk!

Standing Desk In Walk-In Closet

Closet turns into an office w/ a standing desk and view

Sunset Out Of Office Closet

Sunset view from the office

FullSizeRender (3)

Office facing eastward contains area for music, art, and yoga

Granted, I’ve still got a lot of decluttering to do given there are so many ties I will never use anymore. But one thing at a time! The ties actually serve as an anti-glare screen from all the sunlight that’s now coming in.

The walk-in closet, which I never used, now serves as my “dry sanctuary” where I can write posts, take a nap, play the guitar, exercise, or simply look out the window during sunset. It’s my version of the man-cave. Putting the daybed the length of the room totally opened the space up as well.

The Cost Of Improving Home Value

Unlike my master bathroom expansion, this project didn’t need a spreadsheet. The cost is as follows:

* Window: $400

* Permit: $550, covers replacing a total of eight windows in the house

* Two days of labor: $1,250

* Painting: $0, because I painted the trim, moldings, and wall myself

Total: $2,200

Spending $2,200 is a no-brainer and such a better return than investing it in the stock market. I’m now fully utilizing 120 sqft of space that was seldom ever used. I absolutely love getting up from bed, walking to the next room and doing some work in this sanctuary. The place is even large enough to conduct business meetings, play some piano or guitar, and do some art work.

Based on my income tethering philosophy, the $2,200 will come from working extra hours consulting with corporate clients. I’ve now got extra motivation to see what else is out there.

Work To Improve Your Home Value

For those looking to create more wealth, once you’re willing to put some sweat equity into more things, you’ll be able to create a lot more value than someone who is more passive. It’s like the difference between people who like paying a premium for an already renovated home vs. those willing to use some elbow grease to remodel an ugly duckling.

I firmly believe creating as many sanctuaries in your home as possible is what’s going to create the most value. Sanctuaries help create an emotional bond with the potential buyer. Emotions could be the difference between a house that just sits vs. a house with multiple offers.


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Fundrise Due Diligence Funnel

Less than 5% of the real estate deals shown gets through the Fundrise funnel

Shop around for a mortgage: Check the latest mortgage rates online through LendingTree. They’ve got one of the largest networks of lenders that compete for your business. Your goal should be to get as many written offers as possible and then use the offers as leverage to get the lowest interest rate possible. Interest rates have finally started to tick higher post election.

Updated for 2021 and beyond.

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