Remodeling is emotionally taxing. Anything involving the expenditure of that much cash makes me want to weep from the very first down payment. But, there are other issues as well. I have seen couples argue bitterly about a choice of tile or overly festive paint color. Then there is the stress of choosing a contractor and making sure the project goes as planned. Many remodeling jobs can spiral out of control once a wall is opened or the wiring is really scrutinized.
One would think it’s easier when a remodel is planned for the purposes of resale. Theoretically, this kind of update takes the personal choices out of the equation and leads to less debate. But, I have never seen it happen that way. Designing for the market” means designing for an unidentified subjective consumer. This unidentified purchaser will not voice their opinions about whether they prefer a tile shower surround or tub, they will not tell you if slab granite counters are worth the money over tile and they will not ask you to carpet the bedrooms. Until it is too late.
Once the work is done every prospective buyer shown the property will have an opinion. Particularly about the price.
Whether a seller is flipping a property, updating a rental, or upgrading a unit they have equity in the price of the remodel is going to be the base of this balancing act. Spend too much and the profits are lost or worse you have priced your property out of the market and will have to sit on it for a long period of time. Spend too little and your cheap materials will offend buyers who will only replace your replacements with better products.
Every remodeler understands this when they put together their budget but, then the devil is in the details. Or perhaps he just lurks the aisles at Home Depot. For somewhere along the lines there will be a raging debate on the acceptable quality of low flow toilets and whether or not that fiberglass tub truly must leave.
The experts will tell you that you will recoup the most market value out of a kitchen or bath remodel. I will tell you that flooring is key and oversized tile is a worthwhile investment. Your realtor may tell you that smooth ceilings are an absolute must have. And the guy living below you will beg you to replace the potentially leaky hot water heater. And unfortunately, you will have your own personal preferences and ideas that could lead you straight to remodeling hell.
So what’s a remodeler to do? Remember that you will not be living there. View the property as a renter or temporary guest. Remember that the average showing time is less than 20 minutes per property. The potential buyer will get an overall sense of construction quality but, will not be assessing every detail. So be sure the focal point of each room is of good quality but, do not stress on every item. If the tile surround the tub is awe inspiring then no one will notice that you replaced the towel bars with a three-pack set from Wal-mart.
I would also advise anyone preparing to remodel for the market to get in to the market. Have your realtor take you to properties similar to yours before you begin your remodel. Not only will it give you great design ideas but, will give you a better understand of your competition. These are the properties a buyer will be comparing you against. Be sure you measure up in quality but, do not inappropriately exceed in price.