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I recently viewed a TV home improvement show called “Love It or List It” that encourages folks to either fall in love with their home and remodel, or move on. Then a realtor friend of mine sent me an article in her flyer that pushed me over the edge. It had an overtone of caution and urged people to think twice about remodeling… Wouldn’t you rather create memories on a vacation than remodel your already livable space? Hardwood or Hawaii? Ouch.
In my mind, remodeling is about improving your living space and maximizing your home’s potential. Creating value is a byproduct of a great design and having a remodeler to put it all together. I can’t begin to tell you the joy I’ve given my clients through improving their lives by rearranging or adding functional spaces. In one case, I actually doubled my client’s investment in his home. I know this because he had it appraised before and after the project.
I suppose the term remodeling is used interchangeably with general improvements, which confuses the topic. Changing a bedroom into a master bathroom is what I consider remodeling. Swapping out flooring and repainting are not remodeling, they are home improvements. I don’t see many folks taking 30-50 thousand dollar vacations, nor do I see people listing their homes instead of getting new window coverings.
The article focused on checking out the neighborhood in which you live. They reminded me of the old adage, “Having the nicest home on the block is a not a good position to be in.” “Time to move on,” they said, “remodeling is a waste of your heard earned money.” Although I agree that remodeling is not always the right decision, it does makes sense in many cases, which is why Levco exists.
Every situation is different.
I’ve refused to put granite counter tops on crappy cabinets, I’ve counseled multiple folks to move on as their needs have exceeded the potential of their lot size. IMHO, some homes are just not good candidates for remodeling. This is why I love to come and evaluate homes in person.
My belief is that the decision to remodel or move on is just a bit more complicated than the decision of changing the color of carpet VS creating vacation memories. Updating a 50 year old kitchen or finishing a basement with egress windows is a matter of getting the most out of your home. My clients are not the type who have an addition done to keep up with the Joneses.
I am the kind of fellow that likes to stay put. My neighbors and neighborhood relationships are priceless. Fixing my home up incrementally to meet my changing needs just comes naturally. Moving because I need another bathroom would foolish. I assure you that the new place is not going to be exactly what you want either. It is human nature to want to fix up our living spaces.
One potential client living at a comfortable golfing community would run out and check every home in his neighborhood as it came on the market. He loved the area and was looking for a first floor master bedroom suite. The thought of having another hip replacement and camping out in his home office during recovery was too much. I was able to show him where we could save lots of money by adding a lift to the second floor, but our conversation led to realizing that the odds of him being the only one in his area needing the same thing were slim. In his case, adding a master bedroom suite was a very good idea and would create great resale value.
I always encourage my clients to consider present and future needs, In one recent case, I was about to embark on a home doubling project and I insisted that my clients have their plans and existing home appraised prior to jumping in with both feet.
To my amazement, they got an offer on their home and sold it during the appraisal process. They then quickly found a perfect home to essentially start over. Sure, I lost a job but I also helped a client make a good decision.
Here is a recent article in the NY times that illustrates my point for me.