Remodeling? Don’t Do It Just to Increase Your Home Value

Where did you see that absolutely perfect kitchen or bath, with the exquisite granite countertop and custom cabinets? In a magazine? A home show? Your friend’s house?

And are you already imagining what your remodeled room would look like, feel like – the total picture? That’s good!

But if you’re about to spend anywhere from $5,000 to $40,000 on a home-improvement project, don’t do it solely to increase the value of your home ahead of a potential sale. These days, remodeling means putting more into the house than you can get out of it financially.

Remodeling magazine recently produced its annual “Cost vs. Value” report for 2006, the result of a survey of over 2,000 members of the National Association of Realtors. According to them, “minor kitchen remodels” have the best value performance, at 85.2% of your investment.

That means if you spend $10,000 on a remodel, you’ll only see your home value go up $8,520 when you sell it. And that difference doesn’t even take into account the interest you could’ve earned on the $10,000 if you hadn’t spent it.

This isn’t meant to discourage you from pursuing a remodeling project. It’s simply meant to help you take the remodeling leap for the right reasons. The difference between the room’s current use and the need or desire for its future use should be the prime motivator behind any remodeling project.

Start with a solid understand of the room’s use. For example, who’s always in the kitchen or bathroom? When, and for how long? How much cooking are you really doing, and are you always hunting for supplies that should be right at hand? Are there bottlenecks outside the one bathroom door? Family members elbowing for space in front of the sink and mirror? Towels spilling out from insufficient storage?

Then bring your dreams into play. If you saw your ideal kitchen or bath in a magazine, grab the picture and keep it in a folder to bring to a design consultation. In fact, find as many great ones as you can! Even if they’re all way out of your price range – and don’t assume that they are – it’ll provide inspiration for the design process.

And then determine your budget. Once you know exactly how much you want to spend, you can approach a design-build firm to get the remodel you want, with materials priced within your budget from the start.

These days, when you remodel, you’re not only adding value of your home, you’re adding to the quality of your life. And if you approach your investment with that in mind, you’ll be even happier with the results.