How a Man Cave Can Improve a Home’s Value


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Any long-suffering spouse knows the drill: It's Sunday afternoon and the game is on. After the chores are done the men in the family head downstairs, beer and chips in tow, to their "man caves" to spend the rest of the afternoon.

We'll leave the cultural impact of man caves to the sociologists, but from a financial point of view, a man cave actually improves the value of your home, according to Stephanie Rauterkus, Ph.D., professor of accounting and finance at the University of Alabama School of Business.

“As long as you don’t make it too specific, there tends to be a resale market for man caves,” she said in a press release.

Rauterkus notes that rec rooms that get too personal – and too passionate toward one sports team or city – can turn some people off. After all, a man cave adorned with Boston Red Sox plaques, prints and paraphernalia would like likely turn off a homebuyer from Brooklyn or the Bronx.

Rauterkus says she speaks from experience, noting that her husband – an avid Cincinnati fan – holes up in his man cave with their two sons every weekend.

“For ours I didn’t want to put a [University of Cincinnati] 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’,” Rauterkus said. “Plus, 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.”

The key, Rauterkus says, is to “do it in a way that doesn’t get you into too much financial trouble. Don’t go crazy with it.”

Here are three simple rules to make room for a man cave in a way that boosts your home’s value:

  • Rule One: Stay sane with the cost. Only spend what you can afford.
  • Rule Two: Stay sane with the décor, 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.

Above all, keep your passions in check when you’re creating the perfect man cave.

“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?”

No doubt, regular guys from Barstow to Bangor don’t care all that much how their man caves impact their homes – they’re just glad to have a sanctuary of their own. A 2009 survey from Coldwell Banker says that four times as many men as women said they would turn an extra room into a upgraded recreation or entertainment room.

If you can put your passion aside and calculate the pros and cons in a “big picture” way, then you’re likely on the right path.

You’re also likely to be plopped on the sofa watching football games on your big-screen TV come Sunday afternoon – without a doily in sight.

Are a single homeowner planning some home improvements? Check out MainStreet's look at 5 Must-Haves for Bachelors' Homes and 5 Must-Haves for Bachelorette's Homes!

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