Things to Consider Before You Start Remodeling

Perhaps it was that moment when you realized that avocado green and harvest gold are no longer the “in” colors for today’s trendy kitchens. Or maybe you had an epiphany one day as you stood in line to use your own bathroom. Whatever the impetus, the thought has crossed your mind: Maybe it’s time to remodel . . .

think before you actIf you decide to follow through on that thought, you’ll join millions of others who decide to remodel their homes each year. The reasons for remodeling are as varied as the projects we undertake. Some of these include:

  • Adding more space.
  • Upgrading cabinets, counters, appliances, and fixtures.
  • Creating a floor plan that’s customized for your lifestyle.
  • Improving energy efficiency with new windows, doors, insulation, and climate control systems.
  • Increasing the resale value of your home.
What do you want?

Before you head too far down the remodeling path, it’s a good idea to think through your wants and needs:

  • Decide what changes you want to make.
  • Ask yourself and other family members what you like and dislike about the house, then create a prioritized list.
  • Look at magazines and collect pictures of what you like.
  • Think about traffic patterns, furniture placement, colors, lighting, and how you want to use the remodeled space now and in the future.
Move or Improve?

If you want to change your home, your other option besides remodeling is to find a new one. But more and more American families are deciding to stay put and improve their existing home. Here are some of the reasons:

  • Remodeling allows you to customize your home to meet your needs and desires. The only similar, but much more costly alternative, is to have a brand new custom home designed and built.
  • Remodeling means that you don’t have to give up a familiar neighborhood and schools.
  • Remodeling is a more efficient use of your financial resources. According to the American Homeowner Foundation, selling your home and moving typically costs about 8-10 percent of the value of your current home. And much of this goes into moving expenses, closing costs, and broker commissions – items that have no direct impact on your home’s quality.
  • Remodeling can be stressful, but few experiences are more stressful than moving.
Return on Investment

While there are many reasons that people choose to remodel, the bottom line is that remodeling makes your home a more enjoyable place to live. The intangible value of this added pleasure needs to be considered, along with any resale value you hope to gain.

But there is no doubt that, as far as improving the sale of your home, all remodeling projects are not created equal. The general rule of thumb is that any remodeling project that brings your home up to the level of your neighbors’ is a worthy investment. But it doesn’t pay to be the most expensive house on the block – real estate experts recommend that a remodeling investment should not raise the value of your house to more than 10 to 15 percent above the median sales price in your neighborhood.

Remember that potential buyers will be comparing your home to ones newly built. Therefore, you’ll want to look at the design trends and amenities being built into new homes. Great rooms (open kitchen/family room arrangements), master bed and bath suites, and higher ceilings are a few of the features sought by today’s home buyers.

Each year, Remodeling magazine conducts its “Cost vs. Value” report to assess which remodeling projects create the greatest return on investment. Not surprisingly, kitchens and baths regularly come out on top. These are two of the most used rooms in the home, and they receive the most scrutiny from potential buyers.