A room under construction with exposed wooden framing, windows without panes, and scattered tools and materials reflects the ongoing exterior renovations. There are ladders, a saw, a red snow shovel, an uninstalled window, and various boxes and cables on the floor in this Madison WI project.

Should you remodel your home?

Thinking about remodeling your home? If you watch enough HGTV you will eventually get the itch to remodel. But home remodeling isn’t for everyone, and do-it-yourself remodeling is an even bigger challenge. .It may not be a problem if you’re patient and can do the work yourself but in our instant gratification world, we often look to someone else for help and that’s where the costs can run-a-way from you.

Here are things to seriously consider before you start ripping up the tile and dream about adding solid hardwood floors.

Can you really recoup the cost of remodeling? Yes!

You bought your house for $350,000, put in $50,000 worth of work, and sold it for $400,000 or more. This seems like a fair ratio. Do the math and it works out just fine. You’re happy!

But is this realistic? When you sell your home, so many factors come into play that it’s almost impossible to identify how each one contributes to the sale price. Factors unrelated to remodeling may have a bigger impact on a house’s sales price–economic climate, comparables, mortgage rates, etc. This is why I believe that you can only think about this so much before your head starts to hurt and if remodeling your home will make you feel good then do it and stop worrying about recouping the costs when you sell. There is a chance you may never sell your home.

If we’re talking about a major increase in space, such as an addition, a higher sales price is likely though still not guaranteed, but that’s ok. You have to live and if you love where you live then the improvement is worth it. This is a common misconception in today’s homeownership. It’s not always about money, or if I remodel will I get my money back?  The answer is – yes, maybe, you probably will but maybe not.  See what I mean … There’s a great deal that goes into this that you may not have any control over.

What does value mean to you? If “value” is all about money then remodeling versus moving is another discussion. If not then have some fun and remodel. If it’s important to you that when you pull into the driveway coming home from work and your home is beautiful and you love it then it’s worth it. I know people who remolded their home and they still talk about how much they love it and whether they recoup the cost or not doesn’t even phase them. They couldn’t care less. We did the remodel and I love to hear that.

Some remodel projects (e.g., major kitchen remodels) retain high value. Other remodels have very little value (e.g., office remodels or a playroom). But no remodel will, by itself, return 100% of the cost you put into it. But even that may not always be accurate.

Remodeling is different than home improvement!

If you need a new roof then you better get a new roof. You don’t have a lot of choice in the matter and this is not open for discussion. If you want to add two more bedrooms above a four-season porch, and a summer deck then this is an addition I can get behind.

One of the biggest concerns in any remodel project is upgrades and change orders. Upgrading the windows and electrical along with adding a gas fireplace, etc. These things can happen but if you plan smart you can keep your costs inline. Experienced contractors can help you with that. Not only that, you don’t always have to do everything all at once. You can budget your time and expenses for projects. Add the fireplace later. Just make room for it so it’s easy to do. Don’t have a flat screen yet. Create the space for it and add it later. Do the basics right the first time and add as you go. It’s not hard and it’s smart. Windows! Do them right the first time.