Is it better to invest in a remodel, or buy a new home? Find out if that home upgrade will pay off.

Jan 08, 2017

Need a change? Maybe more space for a growing a family, or perhaps the look of your home could just use a refresh. This is where remodeling comes in. But how do you know which projects will actually pay off down the road? While remodeling may look fun on TV, it’s not as easy (or cost effective) as it first appears. 

Photo of remodel plans

Determine your main objectives.

Decide whether you’re interested in remodeling to make living in the home more enjoyable for you and your family, or if your primary concern is increasing the resale value when the time comes to sell. 

If you want to stay in your house for years to come…

If you are planning on living in your home for ten years or more, you may be interested in remodeling simply to increase the enjoyment you get from your home. You can afford to be less interested in the possible resale value of upgrades, because you’ll have built up equity in the home over the long-term. If this is your plan, you will have more flexibility and freedom than someone that is looking to sell in a couple years. You won’t have to worry as much about the value, return on investment, or how potential buyers will react to your improvements.

Photo of a couple remodeling

If you want to increase the resale value…

For some, this may be the whole point to remodeling! Sometimes updates and renovation projects will add significant value to your home and make it easier to sell. Talk to a local real estate agent to get an up-to-date, community perspective as to which features add the most value to homes in your neighborhood. 

If you’re looking to remodel primarily to add value to your home, you should always keep your neighbors in mind.  Post-remodel, your home should still be in an appropriate price range in comparison to the rest of the neighborhood. Otherwise you may have difficulty attracting the buyers you want and recouping your remodel costs.

So, which projects add the most value?

Glad you asked. Keeping it simple and starting slow is the way to go, especially if you’re thinking about selling in a few years. You don’t want to end up with more than you can financially handle or physically complete. Replacing old windows and doors are usually a good idea as they increase energy efficiency. Adding a deck or remodeling the kitchen are both core, highly visible improvements that most buyers appreciate, making your home more appealing to a potential buyer.

Statistically, the two rooms that would-be homebuyers are most drawn towards are the kitchen and master bathroom, so upgrades there will have a bigger payoff than adding a swimming pool or tennis court. In general, focusing your remodel dollars on outward-facing upgrades, like a new entry or garage door, veneer, or deck or porch, are likely to give you a bigger return than adding a “niche” feature.
Photo of painting

For example, Remodeling Magazine recently ranked adding a master suite, bathroom, home office, or sunroom among the worst set of home repairs from a return-on-investment perspective. 

Regardless if you plan to remodel or upgrade to a different home, we’re here to help. To find out more about which option might be best for you (and your wallet), contact one of our neighborhood branch managers or call us at 800-324-9375.