Why is it better to renovate now and enjoy it for a few years?


The best time to renovate is not just when you plan to move. While it sounds good to say your kitchen or bathroom has recently been redone, you may find that there comes a time when you just need to remodel for your own sake. The prevailing wisdom seems to be that you get the most value at time of sale, but if a remodel is done correctly the value is still going to be there. The numbers may not be as clear, but there are advantages.

Return on Investment

When many homeowners research what home remodeling projects to pursue and how much to spend on them, they typically are checking the average ROI (Return On Investment) of any given project. Most often, this ROI is calculated on what a certain remodeling project will return at the time of sale. This is usually the only concrete measurement of a remodel’s ROI, but that doesn’t need to be true.

You don’t have to be selling your house tomorrow to remodel because if you plan to be in your house for years to come, you want to be sure your house is still well-maintained and functional. That isn’t to say you should let a kitchen or bathroom fall apart before you remodel, of course, but you should keep in mind that having a up-to-date space helps you as much in the long run as a future owner.

While it’s harder to put a number on doing a remodel five years before sale than only a few months before sale, there still is value. Having kitchens or bathrooms that aren’t brand new, but are recently updated, function well and are still appealing is going to help a sale in any case. Sometimes, a remodel may not be what the new owner wants in the first place, and they’ll remodel again as soon as they get in the house. A remodel that was done in the past few years and is more lived in gives more confidence to a potential buyer that it’s functional and little has to be done with it.

Emotional Value vs. Monetary Value

What it all comes down to is weighing emotional value against the monetary value of a remodel. The problem with trusting ROI numbers at time of sale is that every home and every neighborhood is different. Also, doing a remodel for the sake of a remodel screams I want more money for this house. A remodel should be done because it suits the house, not simply because you want to squeeze every dollar out of your home that’s possible.You want to keep in mind that most home remodeling projects typically will recoup about 50 to 70 percent of costs at the time of a sale. Remodels are most effective at providing the best ROI when there is already a structural issue or design flaw, in which case property values can be adjusted favorably and perhaps turn the remodel into a profit in the long run. That’s why if you plan to keep your house for the foreseeable future, you try to remodel in a way that is mostly universally appealing. If you don’t plan to sell at all, then you can throw caution to the wind and do whatever you want, of course.

Knowing that you’ll have the kitchen, bathroom, or other room that you actually want to have does more for you in the long-term in emotional value. But you can argue that a well-loved home with recent upgrades in the past few years is better than remodeling the house all at once just to fetch a better sale price. In the end, the return on investment could well be almost the same.