An article was published recently in a favorite magazine of many that was about the cost of remodeling your home.
This article was one of countless articles you can find on the web compiling averages and estimates of renovation costs…
Few of these articles ever mention the state of the housing market and how that impacts the cost (and ROI) of remodeling. Even fewer of those articles talk about the cost of remodeling in a home that has been recently updated versus one that’s gone 20 years without so much as a facelift.
What really stood out about this recent article, though, was how off-the-mark the price averages were despite the quality of the publication. The numbers cited fly directly in the face of major studies like the annual Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report.
The question of cost in a renovation is not as simple as most of us wish it could be! In addition to factors like the housing market and renovation history, there are also considerations like geography, the state of the raw materials market, and—the elephant in the room—the type of selections you make in a remodel.
Compare it to the way you look for a new car…
When it comes to the materials, fixtures, hardware, appliances and finishes you select for your renovation, these choices make up the BIGGEST factor in the overall cost of a project. How you choose your next car is similar to how you choose these selections…
Do you prefer to customize the most recent Chevy?
Or do you go for the Mercedes?
Do you feel inescapably gleeful driving a convertible Ferrari?
Or do you return time and time again to the steady feel of a BMW?
When you select your car, you understand that it will lose value as soon as you drive it off the lot. But its purpose is to bring you utility and pleasure until you do eventually sell. It’s up to you how much you prioritize the utility versus the pleasure.
In the same way (and pointing right back to the annual Cost vs. Value report), no renovation you do to your home will recoup 100% of what you invest into it. It’s like “driving off the lot” with a new car. So why do we remodel? Two reasons:
- First, if your priority is selling the home in the next three years or less, you need to make sure it’s attractive enough to get attention. You won’t recoup everything you put into a remodel, but certain key updates are essential to get anyone to look at your listing.
- Second, if you’re going to stay in your home for at least three years, you can recoup some of the cost of a renovation and the rest is converted to return on enjoyment. This is what YOU get out of YOUR home while you’re in it. It’s utility and pleasure, just like with a new car.
Sticking to the car analogy…if you put new tires on yours, do you expect to recoup that full cost if you turn around and sell it? Of course not!
Your home is an investment in more than dollars and cents. Your home is an investment in your LIFESTYLE. You invest in your family, in your safety, in beauty, and in your comfort.
If you look grudgingly at any kind of home renovation as a cost that must be 100% recouped, then you are thinking of your cars more fancifully than your home!
Don’t let ROI be the enemy of what you want…
If you’re staying in your home for at least three years, you deserve greater pleasure from your environment when you kick back every night.
The idea of “return on enjoyment” isn’t new, but since the pandemic (and with many folks still working from home and spending more time at home), we have renewed focus on it. We spend SO much time in our homes. Does yours provide you with everything you want?
Return on enjoyment is what informs your decisions on the selections you make in a remodel. If you just LOVE that marble countertop, you might decide to get it, even if it’s not the most economical option. This will bring you joy every day. It will shape your experience every time you use your kitchen counters. It’s about your personal balance of utility and pleasure.
There’s a functional angle, too! If you want the spa-like bathroom experience that includes a steam shower for aroma therapy, for example, then the investment is worth it for your happiness and health.
The real cost of a renovation
The magazine article that started this whole conversation claimed that an AVERAGE kitchen remodel runs $10,000–$50,000 and a bathroom remodel $10,000–$15,000. If you want the personalized storage and fine finishes of custom cabinetry (you know, the convertible Ferrari of cabinets), then that budget will be maxed out with cabinets alone.
It was foolish of any publication to claim numbers like those. They don’t even take into account basics like the state of the housing market. To assume that everyone’s idea of the “right selections” can fit into that tiny, find-whatever-is-cheapest box is most troublesome of all. It assumes that everyone is renovating just to keep it cheap.
Do you know your “why?” Do you know how much of it is about utility or pleasure for you?
Talk to a renovation professional and get into specifics about the kinds of selections you love and really want to see in your remodeled space.
We work with clients who have very developed wants and likes, so most of our kitchen and bathroom renovations reflect the Mercedes-level return on enjoyment. This is what our clients want, and we work with them to source and design their dreams.
See some of our recent projects for yourself…and keep reading to learn about the cost vs. value of interior design services, too!