Remodel to sell vs. Remodel to Enjoy
How to get the most value out of your kitchen remodel
A Realtors Personal Experience with a Remodel
Do your Research!
Are you considering a remodel because you don't want to move or because you need to sell you home and it is outdated?
I receive calls from past clients and friends asking me if they'll recoup their money if they do such and such remodel. The answer is "It depends".
Why remodel? What's your motivation to remodel vs. move?
The first thing you need to do is consider why you're remodeling. If you plan to move in the next 1-3 years, you may want to take it easy on your budget. You may also want to contact your Real Estate professional and find out what homes with upgrades are selling for and would it make more sense to move than to remodel. Your Real Estate professional may also have vendors for you to interview.
If you're going to live in the house for a while, decide if you're remodeling for future resale or if you're remodeling for enjoyment. If you're strictly remodeling for enjoyment then go for it realizing your personal taste may not bring a high return or if you go overboard you may not get everything back. Make certain you're OK with that. Many people are fine with it.
Will I get a return on my remodel investment?
Also keep in mind what you choose today may not be in style 7-10 years from now. Remember when green counter tops were in style in the early to mid 90's? They have been out for a long time. Remember when wallpaper was expected in the kitchen and bathrooms? Not so much. However, I've noticed a beautiful emerald green is making its way into homes but, in a different splashy gorgeous way. Wallpaper is making a comeback too. It's more beautiful than ever and used in creative ways. So, don't think your old 90's green counter tops and Waverly wallpaper is going to be popular today.
If you're remodeling for resale, choose upgrades wisely. Make neutral classic choices and choose a more moderate price point. Know what the latest and greatest trend is. Resist choosing something that doesn't work well just because it is cheap. I have seen flippers do this.
There are many tools out there today to figure out what return you can expect to get on your remodel.
Houzz is a great tool and you can calculate what it will cost. You can also search for "dream" photos or concept pictures.
Keep in mind, if you are selling your home, not doing a remodel can reduce your home's value as much or more than the cost to remodel.
Remodel yourself or hire a professional? Do you have skills to do a remodel?
The next thing you need to do is decide if you're going to do it yourself or hire someone. If you do it yourself, you need to know you have skills and the proper tools. As a Real Estate Professional, I've seen many DIY jobs that were obvious DIY jobs. Not only did they not increase the value of their home, they probably decreased the value. On the other hand, a highly skilled individual may pay more attention to detail and do a better job than anyone they would hire. There's value in hiring someone who knows how to do a job well.
If it is more of a face lift you can manage the project if you have the time, patience, you're organized, and you're good with color/product selection. Start with an end in mind. Choose the replacement items carefully, supervise each step, and be prepared accept the outcome.
If you're doing structural changes or layout changes, it is probably best to hire a contractor or design group to manage the process. They have the tools, the skills, organization, and contacts to do a great job. I don't recommend you take on this kind of remodel yourself. It could be a disaster or cost you much more in the long run.
A Real Estate Agent's personal experience with a kitchen remodel.
For quite sometime I have wanted to remodel my kitchen. I love white cabinets and when they started making a comeback in 2015/2016 I set a goal to remodel my kitchen.
Before we started the project, we had to decide how much longer we would be in our house. We had already been in the house for 18 years. We were becoming empty nesters. We went through the process mentioned above.
Should we just downsize or go to a 1 story homes? For us, we wanted to stay in our town. We love our neighbors, neighborhood, and location. It is perfect for getting anywhere in our Metro area. We also have to work for several more years and will stay in the same area. The house we would consider leaving our current home for would cost a good deal more and we didn't want to have a more expensive house at this stage. We chose to remodel.
Remodel for ourselves or for Resale?
We decided to do a bit of both. We accept the fact we may not get all our money back. We'll probably stay in our house at least another 5 years and we want to enjoy it. We made some classic choices and some fun choices. We also re-used some items in our kitchen not only to save on money but to conserve.
Will we get a return on our investment?
I think we'll certainly get a return on our investment. We would have had to do something either way. A lot will depend on when we sell and what is popular at the time. As with any home sale, the current inventory and economy will play the largest part. We know we live in an area that is growing. That makes a big difference.
Did we DIY, Manage the process or Hire a Designer/Contractor for the remodel?
We did a bit of all three. We assessed what we could do ourselves given the talent and time constraints. My husband has the talent. I managed the process. My husband is doing all the painting of the interior of the house. Not everyone can paint! Trust me, I've seen some interesting paint jobs. He's a perfectionist and would probably do it better than most. It just takes him longer. He also did a lot of the small jobs. I hired a designer for our kitchen cabinets because I wanted a professional to hear what we wanted and make it happen. Then I managed the contractors who did work such as painting the kitchen cabinets we were keeping, installing the hardwood floors, and the tile back splash.
What we did with our kitchen remodel.
The very first thing we did was search Pinterest and Instagram for a concept picture. What did we want the outcome to resemble. This took a lot of time. We had to consider the value of our current home, the layout, our differing personal taste and the possibilities. Once we had a concept we both agreed on, we went to work.
Where to start first for our remodel:
We started with the floors. We spent months looking for the perfect floors. Do we go with real wood or LVP? It was a tough decision. We're on a crawl space so we had a choice. You typically don't want to put wood on a slab with the exception of engineered. The LVP is very popular and better with dogs. We're empty nesters with a small dog. However, our daughter brings her big dogs to our house. On the other hand, I've always wanted all wood on the first floor. What size wood do we go with?
We went with 5" oak wood flooring. It is beautiful, looks like our concept picture, and I love it! We did have to do some pre-work in our crawl space. We had to make sure the moisture level was low and we had to replace our vapor barrier. We're in North Carolina so there is humidity and moisture to consider. My husband was able to buy the vapor barrier and replace it himself since we have a walk-in crawl space.
We had a professional flooring company replace the flooring on the entire first floor. They did an amazing job and it is one of our favorite things that we did.
Kitchen Remodel was next:
We had already decided not to take out the existing kitchen cabinets or change the layout with the exception of the island and the old 90s desk unit. We had cabinets over the desk that we were able to move around the corner and mount above our butler's pantry. The desk and island were removed. The granite on the island was sold to someone in our community and we were able to re-use the granite on the desk for our hutch that was replacing the desk.
What kind of cabinets?
I personally like the new shaker style. My husband hated it. He liked the cabinet style that we had. We had a professional paint the cabinets. They removed the doors and took them to their shop where they were able to spray paint them with cabinet paint and let them cure. They taped off our kitchen and painted the existing boxes with a nice cabinet paint finish. When they replaced the doors, they added soft close hinges.
Our kitchen designer found cabinets for the island and hutch that closely match our existing cabinets. By using our existing cabinets, we were also able to re-use our granite counter tops saving several thousand dollars. We added a little bling with a couple glass cabinets over the hutch, under and inside lighting, and glass knobs. We ordered a new island that is all drawers. It is so much easier to access items that we use everyday. I ordered the island is a gorgeous blue meditative color. The island counter top is a white quartz that really makes the island pop. The desk area is now a hutch making it more use-able. Our butlers pantry is now my coffee bar leaving my counter tops less cluttered. The only appliance we had to replace was the microwave. We upgraded it to stainless steel to match the remainder of the kitchen. The tile back splash matches the linen cabinet color. The tiles are puffed hex and I love how they turned out.
What would we do different?
If money were no object, I would have replaced all the cabinets to match my new island and hutch and added even more drawers. I love all the soft close drawers on those. I'm fine with the layout of our kitchen given the space. The paint company who painted the cabinets did a fabulous job so overall I'm happy with the results. We honestly love everything else.
If you're in the Metro Raleigh area and want remodel advice or want to sell your current home. Please reach out. I love helping home sellers and home owners!