The opinions of a NON-real estate professional here! Like I've said before, I'm not a professional, just a "potential buyer."
I think the question of which adds more to resale value here is very subjective. I say there's a loosey-goosey relationship between MOST improvements and added value, at least much of the time. It's difficult to guess what will be the taste of one who walks in the door. I know I've made improvements on previous homes--only to find that buyers have ripped them all out and redone them.
I say subjective, because hardwoods will appeal to some buyers, carpet to others. If the hardwood has more "impact" when a potential buyer walks into a house, perhaps it has a slight edge. But some buyers have the mistaken idea that carpets take less work, and I believe they'd avoid the wood.
OK, all that said, in your case I'd recommend the hardwoods. If you have those oriental carpets, it's a no-brainer in my opinion. Enjoy the hardwoods while you're in the house! And if there's a slight disadvantage price-wise years down the road when you're selling--so be it. (And--another personal opinion--if I were looking at the house, I'd prefer the hardwoods!)
-k2 in CO
[This message has been edited by k2 (edited January 05, 2004).]