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October 10th, 2008
Who are you remodeling for?

President’s Column, Texas Association of REALTORS®

Who are you remodeling for?

It doesn’t matter if you’ve lived in your home for 15 years or 15 minutes-there’s something about it you want to change. Maybe you want new appliances in the kitchen, or perhaps you dream of a 1,000-square-foot addition. Whatever your particular remodeling fantasy, consider not only how an improvement adds value to your home but also how it adds to your family’s enjoyment of the house.

No sale

Do you plan to sell your home soon? If not, don’t fall into the trap of considering only remodeling projects that you think some future buyer would want; you’re the one who has to live there.

I’m not saying you should completely ignore how a project will affect your home’s overall appeal. But if you want to convert the garage into a bedroom, don’t add a deck instead because you think that’s where you’ll see a better return on your investment with buyers.

Get your money back

If you might be putting you home on the market in the next few years and want to make a splash with some improvements, Remodeling magazine’s 2007 “Cost vs. Value Report” offers some guidance where your money will be well-spent. Keep in mind that the majority of remodeling projects cost more than the amount your home’s value will increase. However, some types of projects come closer to paying for themselves than others; this report provides an estimated percentage return at resale on 29 types of remodeling projects.

The big winners?

It’s not much of a surprise that money put into bathrooms and kitchens generated the best return in Texas. According to the report, a bathroom remodel recouped 90.9% of dollars invested and a kitchen remodel recouped 88.3%. New windows, new siding, and adding a deck were close behind-and topped the nationwide list-but buyers in this part of the country want shiny new bathrooms and kitchens.

Space is in the eye of the beholder

I’ve never heard of someone remodeling his house in order to decrease its square footage. However, when contemplating a project, consider how it will affect the perceived amount of space. Taking part of a large bedroom to create a home office may work for you, but will it make both rooms seem small?

Don’t be odd

The value of improvements can vary from city to city and even neighborhood to neighborhood. One constant, however, is that odd projects won’t ever increase your home’s appeal in the minds of most buyers. If you plan to stay in the same house for years to come, go ahead and turn your living room into a replica of Texas Stadium. Be aware, however, that if you do have to sell, potential buyers-even most Cowboys fans-will see that as a drawback.

Ask for help

The report from Remodeling magazine is a good place to start, but for specific advice about how a room addition or other improvement may affect the resale value of your home, ask a Texas Realtor. If you’re already planning a move, a Texas Realtor can even help you choose projects that might help your home sell faster. To learn more, I invite you to visit

Submitted by Amy DuBose
Association Executive – San Marcos Area Board of REALTORS®

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0 thoughts on “Who are you remodeling for?

  1. This article has great advice for existing homeowners. I’ll add one thing we realized in our recent home sale in Plano is that we should have gone ahead and done some of the upgrades (that we did to help sell the house) earlier in our home ownership so that we could enjoy them while we were living in that house (we bought the house new 16 years ago). The only caution I see in the article is the idea of converting a garage into a bedroom. Most home buyers I know want a garage for their car(s).

  2. Great addition Steve! One thing to consider, about the garage vs. no garage, is what area you live in. My husband and I sold a home last year on Riverside (a 1/2 rental, 1/2 owned neighborhood). Shortly after the sale, the new owners turned the garage (the only original one in existence on our block) into a third bedroom. This helped him get more rent but, for us, we liked having the garage. Looking back now, we could have probably made more money by closing it in before putting it on the market, since every other house on the block had done that. BUT, hindsight is 20/20. Thanks for your addition Steve!

  3. Thanks, Amy. Good point that it makes sense to closely consider the neighborhood, too. And, I happened to see in the reading room here at the office this afternoon, te August 2008 issue of Consumer Reports magazine is chock full of fantastic kitchen remodeling tips, pointers, insights, and recommendations.

  4. I have been restoring a ranch house since 2000 and have it 90% completed. We have remodeled and restored every room in the house, baths, kitchen, garage, dining room, and rec room. For each project I first started on the internet looking and asking for advice. There are several “Do it yourself” networks on yahoo groups and it helps to talk to people who have been there – done that, so you don’t repeat their mistakes.

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