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needsometips08

how much is 'too much'

needsometips08
13 years ago

So I had this conversation with my neighbor yesterday when she found out I am starting to plan an update/remodel to my kitchen.

Her: "you really shouldn't overdo it too much unless you plan to stay for at least the next 10 years."

Me: "why?"

Her: "Because I am sure you know that by improving your kitchen, it really won't affect the resale down the line at all."

Me: "I have NEVER, ever heard that. In fact, I thought the opposite was common knowledge - that you can't 'overdue' a kitchen or a bathroom. I am addicted to the slew of late night real estate/decorating/remodeling shows, and I've yet to see a kitchen lose money. Kitchens usually make back double the money you put into the updates."

Her: "I think I saw that show once." No more said.

What in the world?????????

But I did get to thinking. How much really is too much? If I do hardwood floors, granite, travertine backsplash, and extend our island to be a 4' wide with both sides being cabinets w/ footpetal for built in garbage, is that TOO much? Our house is 3K sq feet and is in the top 5 most expensive in the neighborhood (ranging from $260-$410 (and these are down $70K what they were 2 yrs ago due to economy), so do I have more leeway since my house is on the higher end of the range?

Also, we don't have any plans to move at all any time soon, it is quite feasible we will be here for more than the next 10 years. But if plans change, I don't want to have a hard time selling the house due to my overkill kitchen. (Seeing that in writing, it sounds ridiculous!)

What do you think? Should I at all consider my neighborhood when planning this out?

Comments (35)

  • live_wire_oak
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Absolutely consider your neighborhood when planning your kitchen remodel! While it seems to be "common sense" to not put a 15K kitchen in a 2M house or a 75K kitchen in a 100K house, the trouble really lies with those people in between. Many of us want much more than we need. That's human nature. If you're one of the rare folks who pull down a 700K salary and can afford to "give away" your home (take a loss) when you go to sell it, then totally paint your kitchen cabinets purple with red granite countertops and eggplant Viking appliances if that's what you want. You can afford to change things out come resale time.

    Most people "in the middle" struggle to balance wants/needs/budget/resale and come out with something that hits all of those considerations. First of all, determine what you actually do need from a kitchen remodel. Is it better appliances to cook gourmet meals on? A better layout that lets you and your spouse cook together? Removal of a wall to integrate the kitchen and family space? Whatever your needs, those are the things that you will NOT compromise on. Next is your budget. Will your budget actually cover your needs? For most people, it certainly will, as what they actually need can be accomplished for a great deal under their budget if their wants were not taken into consideration. The next consideration is your wants. What would make your heart sing every time you went into your kitchen? A new garden window for herbs? Granite instead of laminate? A Bluestar range instead of a Profile? Most people are willing to go over budget in certain categories to satisfy some of their wants. Most don't have the luxury of being able to satisfy them all. :) The next consideration, and frankly, the least important, is resale. If you are the purple kitchen person, and didn't spend 20 years of remodel budget on it, a good coat of white paint and inexpensive Maytag appliances will transform that kitchen back to something "resellable" as long as you plan for standard sizes and keep in mind the potential transformation down the road.

    So, for some people, spending 75K on a kitchen they'll love and use every single day for 10 years in a home that's worth only 200K may sound like folly, and should be double challenged by yourself, if you are sure that you'll not move, then by all means, do it. But, you WILL NOT get that 75K back in added value to your home, either right away, or down the line. Especially if you're already at the top of your price range for the neighborhood. YOu'll get 10 years of enjoyment out of it, yes, and you'll get 10 years of appreciation of the homes base price. But you won't really be able to add 75K to your equity. Maybe 10K tops in the current market.

    So, if something happens and you have to sell, you'll have spent the money with no "return" for it. It's difficult to know in this economic climate if our jobs have security and it's always difficult to know if we'll maintain our health, so many people do choose to plan a remodel budget within the traditional guidelines. Average kitchen remodels in the US are now around $30K. That's with no structural changes and very little plumbing or electrical but new cabinets, countertops, appliances, possibly flooring and paint and accessories. About 50% of the budget generally goes for cabinets as they are the hardest thing to change out down the road. 15% is usually for appliances, 15% for countertops, 10% for flooring, and 10% for lighting, fixtures and paint. You may choose to put more emphasis on different aspects, such as higher end appliances, or perhaps flooring for the whole downstairs, etc. You may see yourself as above or below average, but a kitchen remodel will cost you about what it would if you bought a new car. Whether or not you're buying a budget Chevy or a E class Mercedes, only you can decide. BUt, don't go into the project with unrealistic expectations about buying a Mercedes on a Chevy budget. Every bit that you can DIY will increase your budget, but don't overestimate your skills and time spent in that department either, especially if you hold down a full time job.

  • datura-07
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I say "GO for it" The kitchen is the most used room in the house and you are in there EVERY day. I disagree with your neighbor, I think it adds to the house. Unless you now are the most expensive house i the neighborhood. Might she be a little jealous. If you have the money - do it.

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  • terezosa / terriks
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I thought the opposite was common knowledge - that you can't 'overdue' a kitchen or a bathroom.

    Of course you can overdo a kitchen or bath. Your home is already one of the most expensive in the neighborhood. Do what you want for yourselves, but don't count on getting the money back at resale.

  • olga_d
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    You can definitely overdo a kitchen or bath reno, but you don't need to. If you're doing this with an eye for resale though you might want to run the numbers and make choices carefully. I think there's a general guideline of what % of your home value you should aim for.

    Not sure where the double number is coming from though. I thought that a kitchen was a good investment, in that you would likely recoup about 80% of your investment on resale (depending on how much you spent and how much your home is worth).

    Of course if you're planning to stay put and don't care about resale, then do whatever your heart desires! And in this economy you may be able to negotiate with suppliers/contractors too.

  • sue36
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Kitchens add more than most remodels, but in many areas they return less than 100%. I wish I could find the article, but if I remember correctly the return was highest on the east coast, but even that was 90% or so (and this was before the current horrible market). I've never heard of a kitchen returning 200%. If that was true there wouldn't be a house sold without a new kitchen. Of course you can overdue a remodel. My friends have a 1000 sf ranch, circa 1960, the house is worth in the mid $200s. You wouldn't put a $50k kitchen in that house.

  • oldalgebra
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm so glad Needsometips asked this question. I have been turning it over and over in my head too.

    Live Wire, thank you so much for the thoughtful response. I have read many of your postings with great interest.

    Has anyone heard of an approximate percentage of the total home value a homeowner might safely spend on a kitchen remodel (assuming, of course, purple cabinets and chartreuse appliances are not part of the upgrade)?

  • golddust
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I just heard that the upper end homes in California were likely to drop another 22% but the entry mid-level homes would not drop anymore. In bad economies, it's the higher end homes that take the biggest hits, according to my sister who is the President of a Real Estate Title Insurance Co.

    She warned me about the economy long before it was public. She has worked in the industry her entire adult life and she saw all the bad/creative/100% mortgage loans coming through.

    Of course, we're in California... YMMV

  • igloochic
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The standard suggested amount to put into a kitchen is 15% (adjust for high cost areas) of your homes assessed value. But that's just a general suggestion. The average return drops in relation to the money spent, meaning that a refresh for $5,000 will often bring in $10,000 in additional value but the higher you go..the more drastically that drops, with a norm of about 80% return on dollars spent for the average kitchen.

    I wouldn't think you were nuts to put $50,000 into a $200,000 home's kitchen. $50,000 is easily spent on a kitchen remodel and if it makes living there more comfortable, it's worth doing if you can afford it.

    I spent about $200,000 on my kitchen (estimate of final cost since it appears to never be getting finished LOL) and my house value is $500,000. So I'm over the 15% obviously. I expected about a 60% return on value and got just that. I didn't do purple :oP But it is a unique kitchen. I can afford to take a loss if we have to leave, so that makes it easier to spend the money to get the kitchen we wanted.

    A great deal of the answer lies in your pocketbook. What can you afford without substantial or long term (or both) debt? And how important is your kitchen to you? We entertain a lot, and our kitchen is the literal heart of our home. We felt it was a good idea to spend what we did on it and don't regret it. But I'd feel totally different if that question were in regards to our rental kitchen, which is going to be very nice by any standards, but I'd never make a profit on the house if I dumped the kind of money we did here into it.

  • olga_d
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I was doing some Googling on this subject and found this website. Thought it might be interesting to look at:
    http://www.remodeling.hw.net/2008/costvsvalue/national.aspx

  • golddust
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Interesting, olga. Basically, according to this information, you can expect to re-coup 76% of the cost of a major kitchen remodel in a regular, middle income (what ever that is these days) home but only 70% of the cost for an "upscale" home.

    Maybe we should all run over to the Bathroom Forum. Ha!

  • sailormann
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I think that you do need to be a bit cautious. Although it is a bit dangerous to make generalisations when it comes to Real Estate, generally speaking the houses in any neighbourhood will conform to a certain range of values. People who can barely afford to live in the neighbourhood and people who can comfortably afford to live in the neighbourhood tend to be the ones who buy the houses there.

    People who can comfortably afford to live in a more expensive neighbourhood tend not to buy in neighbourhoods that are less expensive than they can afford (unless they are gentrifying the area or have some other reason to be there.)

    If your house is already near the top of the market in your area, adding an extra 75 to 100K is not a smart investment. You will have to wait a long time to recoup it.

    I think also that once people are spending 500K or more on a house, the condition of the kitchens and bathrooms becomes less important. They are usually willing and able to renovate the parts of the house that are not to their taste. They buy location and general architecture.

    You need the kitchen to look clean and functional but don't waste a lot trying to make it incredible because it is almost certain that the new owner wil make some changes. Doing the kitchen is a ritual of our century - putting one's mark on the territory so to speak...

    SO...If you were renovating a kitchen in a 300 thousand dollar tract home that was situated in the middle of houses that were selling for between 250 and 400 thousand, and IF you were planning on selling the house soon - I'd say go for it in a very neutral, inoffensive palette.

    If you were planning on renovating the kitchen in your existing house to sell it soon my suggestion would be to spend a minimal amount on a quick facelift and get great, new appliances and be done with it (new, premium appliances are ALWAYS a selling feature. Unlike cabinets, they can be worked into just about any decorating scheme).

    Good Luck !

  • golddust
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    This thread is getting me to really think. We paid $154,000. for our 1912 era home in 1989. True, it was a nice house, never remuddled, just "updated" to death. Fully bathed in Austin Power's shag - with harvest gold everything in the kitchen, including the orange//gold/green plaid wallpaper - my girlfriend couldn't believe this was my dream house. The thing was, no one had removed the built-ins - the rooms were all large - and it had an outside entrance basement we could house our home grown (and growing) business in.

    Our house appraised at $780,000 right before our kitchen remodel (DIY) a few years ago and it actually scared me. (How far away will my kids have to move to get a house that needs so much?!!?)

    We live rurally in California - in the Heart of the Gold Country - a victorian era town where victorians are everywhere. I've lived in plenty and hated the lots of rooms - too small to do anything with - not to mention the non-existing closets.

    There are about 5 Craftsman/Bungalow era homes in this town. They all look like they were built by the same builder. They are spread out around town with two being outside the city limits. Some are smaller. Ours is bigger.

    We've watch the housing industry collapse in California. Our daughter was able to pick up a nice Ranch style home thanks to the collapse for almost half of it's appraised value two years ago.

    Last week end we were driving past the house that we call "our twin" and noticed a For Sale sign on it. I came home and searched it. It is listed for $775,000! We were shocked. This is 2009!! Our economy has been prescribed Hospice!

    I came home, did a real estate search. After looking at all the photos inside, we decided we have more amenities. Pocket doors, wood built-ins, wood beams, updated kitchen, better windows, etc. Inside, their house looks like many other homes - sheet rock and paint. It is a nice house though, it has a nicer porch than ours and the kitchen is cute and has close to the same granite as ours.

    My point is, maybe if you have a unique house that can actually function well in today's world, your value may not drop a penny. Then again, it is a recent listing and who knows if their listing price is just one giant pipe dream. I'll keep an eye on it to see if it sells and what it sells for. I'm really curious.

    These are crazy times. We just keep doing the work ourselves and crossing our fingers that our kids will someday reap the benefits of our sweat equity.
    We're not going anywhere.

  • terezosa / terriks
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Kitchens usually make back double the money you put into the updates.

    If you are talking simple inexpensive "updates" like stripping wallpaper and replacing hardware, lighting etc., I can see where you might double the value. I would not expect to recover the costs of a complete remodel.

  • needsometips08
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Wow, I have a lot to learn! Here is why I was misled: I watch the show "What's My Home Worth" a lot, and the people have spent money on various updates/remodels - they provide the exact # spent. Then the show experts tell if they spent that money wisely, on the right things, and how much of that money they will lose or get back. And I've never seen a kitchen lose money on that show. Even the ones where it was outrageous - like a $40K floor - the show experts said they would get back $80K from that update. Double seemed to be the standard. Obviously the show is either wrong, or I am missing something very obvious. Regardless, I now know that's not true. Maybe factoring in how much they owe on the house, the numbers change?!

    We've bought 2 houses and our realtor always stressed that it's the kitchens and bathrooms that sell a house. The show just seemed to confirm what he was saying. So I guess I just was misled somehow. Thanks for showing me how it really is. I am glad I asked! That website was helpful.

    And now I have some thinking to do with this new info! I was starting to dream big, but now with this new information, I am thinking minor would be smarter than major. We don't "need" a major reno anyway. We have great bones and the only thing wrong with the cabinets is they need hardware. It would be awesome to stay around $10K - accounting for us being avid DIYers. I would like:

    - quartz or granite countertops (this part I really question!!!!!!!!! We MAY potentially be the only house in the neighborhood with granite if we go that route! I know I personally would be able to accept granite tiles and I know someone who would sell theirs to us cheaply. They bought them and then found the slab at the same cost and couldn't return theirs - and I really like her color! But is that chintzy? And will I regret it? The store we got an estimate from said never to buy granite tiles.) Quotes came in from $3600 to $4900 for quartz. We would not do these ourselves obviously :-).

    - flooring (Bruce Park Avenue laminate or hardwoods or tile) Quotes at $1700 to $2000 if DIY

    - 3 pendant lights over island and new chandelier over table (budget $600 for that)

    - new SS range and over the range microwave from scratch and dent (budget $1700)

    - tile backsplash (DIY so no pricey labor cost here)

    - cabinet hardware (budget $200)

    - crown molding to tops of cabinets (have NO idea how much - $150 in materials? DIY)

    - So far, that's ~$8,950, but I'd like to extend out the island and install the garbage cabinets, and that would probably be hired out. So hopefully that would come in under $2K and I'd be right around $10K.

    Sound reasonable to you guys?

  • live_wire_oak
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Don't confuse TV with real life. TV is manufactured drama for entertainment. I can barely watch HGTV without yelling at the screen about some dumb thing they're doing to someone's house. I've never seen them do a single remodel actually correctly. The "Spice Up My Kitchen" show is the closest to some reality, as they actually show a budget, but the choices the designer makes for that budget sometimes blows my mind. As does the miniscule dollar amount allocated for labor for some very labor intensive projects.

    Also, most of the shows you've been watching have been taped several years ago during the crazy property value escalation times, and mostly in the rocket markets. The stable 3%-5% markets aren't covered. In some markets, my theoretical purple and red kitchen that cost 75K would have given even a starter home a "boost" in equity because none of it was based on reality, just speculation and bad loans.

    Your redo sounds most fiscally sane and most likely to end up with some portion of it actually being reimbursed if you sell. However, do take a long look at the quality of your cabinets and how they are holding up. My personal pet peeve is when homeowners put a lifetime countertop like stone on top of some badly made and deteriorating cabinets just to "freshen them up". Many times they decide down the road that their granite now makes their cabinets look worn and dated but they can't do anything about it without risking damaging the granite taking off the countertops. Not to mention that something so permanant imprisons you to the layout that you currently have. If it works for you, great. But if it doesn't, you've literally set it in stone.

  • needsometips08
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I am just thinking that $10K would be an extremely safe number that doesn't create debt, break the bank, and we'd get back if we have to sell unexpectedly for some unforeseen reason.

  • terezosa / terriks
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I definitely would take the HGTV shows with a grain of salt! Especially "My House is Worth What?". There is a huge difference between what the so called experts say a house is worth on that show and what it can actually sell for. It is true that kitchens sell homes, and it is always a good idea to keep your home, espcially your kitchen up to date as much a spoosible. But if your house is in a neighborhood where the average sales price is $300k and you put $75K into your kitchen you will NOT sell your home for $375K. At least not until the average home is selling for about $350K or more.

  • live_wire_oak
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Don't forget that a certain amount of remodeling is considered "maintainence" and a home will sell for less without it. So, while you might not get more for a full kitchen remodel, you might not have to settle for less than if it weren't done at all. If a home is in good shape but has a 1970's kitchen in it in good shape but ugly, that home will certainly have to price downward compared to others in the market in order to sell. If that same kitchen were a 90's vintage, but some things were falling apart already, the same scenario would apply. The home would sell for less than the comps. You take that same falling apart 90's kitchen and put granite on top of the cabinets that have drawers coming apart and doors losing their finish, and you've put lipstick on a pig and it won't do a thing for the pig.

    It's all about the context.

  • housefairy
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The big thing is to get what you want, within your budget. And don't pick outlandish things. Or if you do pick outlandish things, do so because you enjoy them. Per your quote you plan on staying for 10 years. After 10 years you will probably have to "freshen up" with new appliances, etc. before you can sell.

    Unless you are planning on selling within the first two years of remodel, it becomes like a used car. Each year it loses it's resale value. Stainless steel will go out and "something else" will become the must have appliance color. Recycled glass may be the must have counter tops.

    As appliances, counters, cabinets start looking their age they lose their appeal. The upgrades just make your house sell faster than the next home. And the bonus is you might get top dollar. But that is if the upgrades are current and to the perspective buyers liking.

    You should enjoy your kitchen. After all you are going to be using it for 10 years of your life. That's a lot of cooking.

  • needsometips08
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    You all have fabulous points. Live Wire Oak, you have a knack for really explaining things so well - it's a very, very good point to not end up putting lipstick on a pig. I started a thread with photos of my kitchen, which shows the cabinets: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg0101351628566.html?21

    They are a bit outdated, but sturdy and well built, and I have no issues living with them. Our neighbor has the same exact cabinets, and she built a $90K addition including a kitchen remodel onto their house 2 years ago, and she kept the cabinets - not only that, part of the kitchen remodel included extending her kitchen out by about 10 feet and fully lining that area with more cabinets to match the existing ones. And then she put granite-look-alike laminate on the counters! (Which at the onset, one would think is crazy - why go through all that and then install slightly outdated cabinets and laminate? But the flip side would be the wisdom of minding the budget and considering the neighborhood! Our neighborhood is desirable enough that there is another house that did a $80K addition last summer rather than move. They did new cabinets though.)

    Overall, I LOVE the layout of our kitchen. It's so functional. Everyone clusters around the island when they come over. The size and the counter space is wonderful. I love everything, except that it's stuck in the 90's, and surfaces can be changed. Cabinets can be stripped and stained. I know could be perfectly happy with just updates, and this thread has solidified that that's probably the best decision for this house. Maybe our next house 10 or 15 years down the line will be more appropriate for my $50K dream kitchen :-). And so maybe that means I don't NEED a granite slab this time around. Maybe that means granite tile bought cheaply from a friend is the best choice for right now. It would certaintly free up a ton of the budget for other areas, which would be really nice as we are also updating our family room (all new furniture, custom bookcases around the fire place, new flat TV mounted over fireplace with frame to connect the bookcases). I have tile counters now, and I am one of the few people on earth who actually likes them :-). Do you guys think tile granite (with extremely small grout width) would be a terrible mistake? Would I be better off with laminate or a solid surface? Should I start a different thread for that?

    Thank you guys so much for providing the

  • needsometips08
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    ....sorry, I didn't complete the message!

    Was going to say thanks for providing points to consider in planning this update/remodel.

    BTW, on the thread I linked to above (which was my first post here), I said I had eliminated granite as an option from the onset. Between that post and now, I changed my mind and was mostly leaning toward granite slab. I felt like how could I NOT install granite when that seems to be so obviously the best choice - 99.5% of kitchen remodels seem to involve granite for a reason, plus I LOVE the look of it. But this thread in a sense has helped me give myself permission to go with something other than a granite slab. I may love granite, but I know I could be perfectly content with other options too.

  • chinchette
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I wouldn't do granite tile, but that is me. I'd rather have laminate.

    There was a poster on the forum a year ago who was on that show you mentioned. She said that she had a DYI kitchen, and they said that it was a lot more expensive than it really was. Its a fiction. Then they mock up a number that her house is worth.

    To the poster with the plaid wall paper- did it look like it was painted on with a brush free-hand? We had that paper when I was a teenager, and I loved it then! Wait- I think its coming back...:)

    You know as Live Wire said, you really don't have to spend 50K on a reno. She said her's are 20-30K I think, if you are not moving walls and plumbing...

    We put about 50 into ours in a home that we bought for about $500K before the decline. Then our biz pooped out completely. I could have probably come in at $30K if I was careful. If you GC it yourself and give it a lot of thought you can save tons. My opinion is that you have to make sure that what you are doing is truely aesthetic to many, and can resell if you have to. I have classic cabinets- Mahogany, unstained. However, I have green flooring and green granite, which up the line might kill a deal. If I was more conservative, I would have used wood or real travertine on the floor to be more neutral.

  • growlery
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I think this is a really good thread -- particularly now.

    Everything I have heard and read has supported the idea that you get back only a portion of what you put in. Add my voice to that chorus. Particularly in the mid range.

    On the low end, they can't afford to be picky. On the top end, they'll rip it out no matter what it is.

    Things are changing, guys. The "conventional wisdom" of the last few years is changing.

    Please yourself, absolutely. Have things you love and are excited about. Don't put in ugly beige crap because you think it couldn't possibly offend anyone. That's the way to please no one.

    But be forgiving, with yourself and others, that some choices these days have to be dictated by cost. A good quality laminate or tile, well installed, is better, I think, than a thin sheet of the cheapest, ugliest granite badly installed.

    Leaving things alone that are sound but dated is an option too.

    Just a couple of decades ago, not everyone redid every room as soon as they moved in.

    Quick fixes, like paint, knobs, rugs, curtains etc. can also freshen rooms until this mess calms down, and make the big things you do look like more.

  • golddust
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Needsometips, what area of the country do you live in? You said your house was in an upper scale neighborhood (top 5), so how does your house compare with your neighborhood?

    I think this is an important question because resale values and mortgages are based on comparisons of like homes in your area that have recently sold. If you have as many amenities as your neighbors have, I'd try to modernize your kitchen but not go overboard. (you said no one else has granite).

    I've heard that it's always better to buy the 'scab on the block' in a very nice neighborhood and fix it up, rather than buy the nicest home in the neighborhood because your house won't be worth as much as the fixed up house in a nice neighborhood.

    Anyone else hear this?

  • crnaskater
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Has anyone gotten a real estate agent to come take a look and offer advice about market value of similar homes? I wonder if that would be helpful so not to overdo the kitchen - like what the rest of the house looks like, don't want the kitchen to be so upscale that it makes the rest of the house look shabby.

    As others have noted, certain things come and go. I remember looking at our forum of pics and about 50% of them still had white top freezer refrigerators. I previously thought I was the only oddball. I also have to wonder about the various counter materials (one GC said more than 1/2 of people put in laminet because of cost, maintenance of stone, and the newer laminets look great at half the cost)....stainless steel is waning too.

    I have one question re %.....poster said 'assessed value.' Is this really assessed value or market value?

  • la_koala
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Personally, I like the idea of granite tile. I like the idea of tile counters in general. However, my DH says "no tile counters, ever", so it cannot really be on my remodeling radar. :-)

  • Frankie_in_zone_7
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    When trying to do financial arithmetic, it's fascinating to think of all the sorts of things we might take into account to come up with how to get ahead or break even during life as a homeowner.

    One of the interesting, though obvious, things, to me, is that when we "buy" a house, we will pay several times more than the "cost" of the house in interest over the life of the loan, or loans, that we have with one or more homes through the years--perhaps 3x or more. So if you buy a home for $200k on a 30 yr mortgage, what do you think you would have to "get" for your home in 20 or so years to "make" money on it? Of course there is the basic aspect of getting at least as much as the loan balance at whatever point you sell, but still. Home prices may well appreciate but not always doubling in 10 yrs, as we've learned.

    So someone who is directs any extra $$ to paying off the loan quite early will have spent much less $$ on interest, will now be investing the amount of the loan payment in stocks or whatever (oops--maybe not so good now!) and might be able to invest more $$ in home remodeling and still come out ahead in terms of total $$ spent over time on "housing". Same thing as the idea of how much equity you have in your home, how stretched you are to make payments, and so forth. Of course this all depends on the interest rate, the appreciation over time, job security, and so forth.

    The other aspect of updating and remodeling that I've mentioned before, so sorry if redundant, is that part of the calculus of selling the home is how fast it sells, not just how much you get for it, so that faster sale, for some people, gives the best $$ return compared to what happens if the house is on the market for a year. Updating, "refreshing", staging and so forth are part of selling the home quickly and not just getting the highest sale price possible.

    Anyway, just means that it's hard to make blanket statements about what any one family should invest in their
    home, with the exception of, don't get in over your head by "counting on" rapid home price appreciation, someone loving your kitchen so much they'll hand over a pot of $$, a promotion 2 yrs from now, or whatever!

  • katiee511
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I will echo what so many others have posted. Consider the market in your neighborhood.

    We have a custom built brick ranch (3 bdrm, 2 bath, 1600 sq ft) built 1982. Our kitchen and baths are original (yuk!)and we are in the planning stages of remodelling the kitchen and master bath. I have made many "cosmetic" changes since moving in with DH 8 yrs ago such as removing fabric wallpaper (string by string in some rooms) painting, new flooring in half the house(so far) new furniture, things like that. Everything was dark brown or shades of it and it felt like a cave!

    Anyways.... the unfortunate drawback to my hubby's custom home was during building the builder went bankrupt and sold off all the remaining lots to a "cookie cutter" builder and that is what surrounds our home. Further into the neighboorhood are all the custom homes, but we were the last on our block before being surrounded by much, much cheaper homes. This, of course, immediately affected the "value" of our home.

    Since we are finally able to afford a re-model, I have to keep reigning in the budget. DH has more expensive tastes than I do, where I am more comfortable shopping prices before buying. I continually remind him that even though we are doing this for our own comfort and pleasure (hopefully staying through retirement) we still don't want to spend much over the present value of our home.

    Since he is the original owner, we have more equity to play with than say if we just bought it in the past few years, but I still want to keep in mind not to overspend the surrounding homes in case we decide to move sooner than later. Make sense? :)

  • danielle00
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I think it depends on the renovation and the area. We sold our house this summer in 8 days. The kitchen was a big reason why.... We did not attempt to add the exact amount of the kitchen renovation onto the price of our house. We priced it similar to the other houses in the neighborhood... we were looking for a quick sale, though, but I'm still not convinced we could have gotten more since most of the houses that went on the market when we did are still listed (at 40K less than where they were when we listed.. we're talking about houses in the 300K to 375K range).

    You will enjoy your kitchen, though. It is one of the most-used rooms in the house. I don't think you can put a price tag on that.. if it is in your budget and you know you will enjoy it, you should do it and not overanalyze the issue of resale value.. our last kitchen was very modern... not everyone who looked at the house liked it, but they all appreciated the appliances, layout, and functionality.

    So, since you'll be there for so long and since kitchens do help people sell their houses, I think you should do your project guilt free... since you will be there long term, plan the kitchen for yourselves.. not a hypothetical future owner (within reason, of course ;o)

  • autumngal
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    It's funny, I've only seen that show once, and on it was a couple who "over did" thier kitchen and bath renos. Probably the only episode. I agree with the idea that in these days, it's overspending is less likely to happen. Before, when housing values were rising, it made sense to splurge on the countertop because you'd get the splurge back in value. Now, unless your house calls for that or it's your forever house, so it's a splurge for you, it doesn't make as much sense.

    Needsometips, I would say you'd be hard pressed to find a more frugal budget than the one you have. I think you would definitly get the value of what you are putting in back on your home. I would also say to go for it for the granite tile, if you are getting a good deal on it, and like it, then why not? You can replace it later if you decide that a solid surface is for you.

  • carriew
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    our market is down big time. our property is worth less than when we bought it as we've recently refi'd to a lower rate and had a reappraisal done.
    even if we put in top of the line everything, there aren't buyers right now. i watch the hgtv shows and laugh; they need to come to our neck of the woods and try that!
    our kitchen project is more of a "facelift" than a renovation. painting existing cabinets. new countertops/sink and hardware. its for our own enjoyment only.

    we are putting more money in to paying down our mortgage balance as opposed to renovating. all projects are minor facelift/repair and maintanance. in our current state's economy, it will be to our benefit to have security and saftey with our real estate purchase (more equity) than lots of granite and gloss.

    do what you feel comfortable with, not what tv tells you.

  • lsst
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    How ironic I just read this thread. I was venting to my husband about the HGTV show My Home is worth what?

    Some one spent $1000 on paint and updating fixtures in their bathroom. The realtor stated that those improvements added $10,000-$15000 in equity! A kitchen improvement costing $20,000, he claimed would increase the equity by $50,000-$60,000. I was so disgusted.

    My husband and I have a standing joke every time we do landscaping around the house.
    A few years ago, a show on HGTV stated that every tree you plant is worth $25,000 equity! After planting 4 trees , we mockingly joke about how much our land and house is worth. LOL

  • brutuses
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    In my current neighborhood all the houses are nearly identical in style and floorplan. Because of that, the value on these houses is pretty cut and dry so no matter how much I might chose to put in, if it's too much, I won't get it back, theoretically speaking. Now, if 21 years ago we furnished the kitchen with granite, then I'd feel like we got our money back because we were able to enjoy it for 21 years. However, when we get ready to update to sell this year, we are going to put new laminate counters because if we put granite we will take a loss.

  • Buehl
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    One thing that no one's mentioned and that I'm seeing in my neighborhood is that while our homes are all basic 2200 - 2500 sq ft homes with laminate counters & inexpensive cabinetry (all the builder offered at the time), the majority of people who have renovated have gutted the homes, added expensive cabinetry & surfaces, etc.

    So, while yes, most homes still have the less-expensive fittings, that is gradually changing. Part of that may be that when the neighborhood was built, the location was considered pretty far from major cities (DC & Baltimore), had no city water/sewer, and generally quite rural so the prices weren't very high and the location wasn't as desirable to those who could afford "bigger and better".

    Fast forward 13 years and the mega-construction that's occurred in that time and the pushing out further and further from the cities to find room to build. We are now considered one of the more desirable areas, the fact that we have wells & septic is a non-issue b/c it means that each house has a minimum of 3 acres and land is considered a premium. Our homes have appreciated over 300% since they were built (probably only 250% now due to the economy). So, more money is moving into the neighborhood and as a result more renovating is going on.

    [Of interest to me is that most of the renovations are being done by the few new owners, most of the original owners are staying with what they have...which is probably why the remodeled homes are all becoming "higher end". Although, I seem to have sparked interest among us "originals" with my remodel...I've had several ask me recently if I can recommend anyone and what I think of their plans for renovating.]

    Renovating in our neighborhood, then, means upgrading a lot, not maintaining the status quo b/c the status quo is changing!


    What I'm getting at is that each neighborhood is different, look around and see what others are doing...if everyone is sticking with their old cabinets & inexpensive surfaces or similar and/or you plan to sell in the next 2-5 years, then your best bet, as many others have already said, is to stick with similar. Note that in your case, you're already in the "top 5" so others may be playing "catch up".

    If, however, you're staying long-term (and 10 years is long-term, I think) or you see that when others renovate in your neighborhood they're upgrading significantly (higher-end than where you're currently at), then you should probably do the same...but whatever you do in this situation, do it for you (and what you can afford), not some hypothetical future buyer.

  • Frankie_in_zone_7
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I like to go to an occasional open house (realtor) in my neighborhood and to real the home sales sections to see what someone actually "got" for the house (as opposed to asking price). So I do get to see some of what is being done as facelifts, remodels. You can develop a good eye for the cheap facelift (cheap sometimes meaning just simple things like fresh neutral paint, and other times meaning cheap slapjob "upgrades") vs. more timeless and more expensive remodeling for the longer run, more functionality and quality, and see what your neighbors are doing, and how that may be affecting sales prices, as buehl points out.