Remodeling Your Johnson County Home: Is It Worth the Investment?

November 8th 2012

Remodeling Your Johnson County Home: Is It Worth the Investment?

Deciding whether a home remodel is worth the investment is tricky, but it’s especially daunting given the current housing market. Signs of a rebound are appearing, but homes across Kansas City haven’t been able to hold onto their value in recent years. If you’re considering remodeling your Lenexa, Olathe, Overland Park and Leawood, Kansas home, look at your remodeling investment from two angles before making a decision. One: purely dollars and sense. Two: homeowner enjoyment.

The cardinal rule (financial-wise) of home remodeling is that you should plan to live in your home for at least five years in order to recoup the biggest percentage of your investment. Generally, a homeowner would recoup 50% of his remodeling investment on day one post remodel. That figure goes up over time.

Some remodeling projects fair better than others at resale. According to Remodeling magazine, converting unfinished attic space into an attic bedroom, adding a wood deck, replacing the front door, replacing a garage door and minor kitchen remodels recoup over 70% of their costs at resale. However, all of these figures are down from previous years except for the attic bedroom addition.

Remodeling projects that make the most financial sense are the ones that affect the way potential buyers see the home. In other words, remodel to meet the next owner’s expectations. Sure this is hard to determine because what matters to you might not matter to other people. Take a look at other houses in your neighborhood. Do other houses have two baths and yours has one? Do others have finished basements or wooden decks and yours doesn’t  Those home remodeling projects will return the most money on your investment, allowing you to competitively price your home and sell quicker if all things are equal otherwise.

Upscale or personalized remodeling projects make the least financial sense, not only in this housing market, but overall. You may think remodeling a master bath with a steam room and sauna is genius. The next owner will probably see it as overkill and not likely pay a premium for it. The same goes for over the top kitchen and basement remodels.

Some remodeling projects like turning a bedroom into a Mad Men-type office or installing an underground wine cellar will limit your buyer pool. Only a certain percentage of people who work from home or run a home-based business will look twice. Families or young couples wanting to start a family will gravitate toward a home with the extra bedroom. And the wine cellar? Only hardcore wine connoisseurs will see its appeal.

All that being said, homeowners shouldn’t underestimate the value of personal enjoyment. There are people who view home ownership as a financial investment. And there are people who see their homes as their castles. If a wine cellar, corporate home office and spa-like master bath makes you happy and you don’t expect to get your home remodeling investment back, then by all means, do it!

Built by Design recently remodeled a kitchen for a Johnson County homeowner. The wife demanded certain high-end, commercial-style elements. When we advised her that she was never going to recoup that investment, she replied, “I don’t care. I want what I want and my kids can deal with selling it when I’m gone.” Enough said.