Lisa and Jim's Northern Nevada Real Estate Blog: Recently We Were Asked ... "Should We Sell Or Remodel?"

Recently We Were Asked ... "Should We Sell Or Remodel?"

(We write a regular article for our local newspaper that appears every week in the Real Estate Section, this is a copy of our most recent article.)  

Your's is an interesting dilemma that is directly a result of our times.  When the Market was smokin' hot it was easier to sell and buy what you wanted without the time and nuisance factors involved with a remodel.  Sellers were able to maximize the profit when they sold, and minimize the move up with great interest rates.  The latter can be done now, but it is not as easy to sell quickly for top dollar ... enter the remodel. 

Remodels were hard to do until recently primarily because of the lack of professional craftsmen to do the job.  The construction industry was consumed by the abundance of new construction, and there were very few ... very, very few contractors willing to do remodel work.  That has changed.  Some of the best contractors in the region are soliciting remodel work.  This is a prime opportunity for homeowners.  

There are a number of things to consider when you are evaluating a remodel project.  First, establish why you are remodeling.  Do you like the neighborhood, the neighbors, schools, etc.?  Is it an alternative to having the bigger loan you would have on a new house, or are you remodeling your free and clear house and staying debt free?  Are you getting the "granite and stainless" look that you like, but staying in the floorplan you like?  There are many reasons ... be sure you identify them properly.  Talk to your agent about your options - the good agents won't coax you in to selling if remodeling is your better option.  Professional real estate service often means telling a customer not to sell when it is in their best interest. 

A very import factor is the scope of the project.  Be careful not to create so much utility for yourself that you build more than the neighborhood will bear when you ultimately sell.  A 3,000 sq.ft. home in a neighborhood of 1,100 sq. ft. homes may give you a lot of enjoyment and pleasure, but is likely not a prudent financial investment.  As you proceed make sure your changes are universally appealing.  Putting a different color carpet in each bedroom to please your children will diminish, not enhance your value.  If you insist on esoteric features for your personal pleasure, make sure they are done in such a manner as to easily facilitate a change back to the conventional before you sell. 

Our Advice:  Until recently it was impractical and nigh on to impossible to do a remodel, but the times have changed.  Remodeling your home can give you many years of enjoyment for a relatively nominal cost.  Whether adding a room, bathroom, or a garage, etc., or simply freshening with new counter tops, tile floors, cabinets, etc., you are enhancing both your living environment and your investment.  There aren't many opportunities in life where you can get emotional and financial return on your investment.  Done right remodeling will do just that.  Invite a Builder over to look at your home.  They are creative and know what they can do for you.  Be careful who you pick - not all understand remodel work.  It can be full of surprises as they open up walls, and you need someone that knows more than just new construction. 

Remodeling can be fun and very satisfying if done right.  Between your wish list and your Builder's input you will undoubtedly be satisfied with the outcome.  

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs ... Experience is Priceless!  Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781- 5472.,

Comment balloon 7 commentsLisa Wetzel • January 20 2009 08:52PM


I would still want to sell your house then have you remodel but I would like to sell your remodel house also.

Posted by Gene Allen, Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate (Fathom Realty) over 11 years ago

Oh!  You are such a Realtor ... Sell - Sell - Sell!  We are all alike!

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 11 years ago

This is a wonderfully written post and very informative for the sellers trying to decide between remodeling and selling. It is a hard decision and has to be weighed carefully!

Posted by Caren Wallace, Portland Caren Real Estate (Premier Property Group LLC) over 11 years ago

Lisa - excellent post. Two things (or maybe one thing with two parts) I advise my clients about

1) when you remodel keep in mind the impact on resale of your remodel. Do not expect everyone to want a floor that doubles as a trampoline.

2) you will probably not increase the value of your home by the cost of the remodel for several years.

Posted by Mike Saunders (Lanier Partners) over 11 years ago

Caren - we agree, its a big decision!  Thanks for the comment!

Mike - Good advice!  Resale is usually not a good reason to spend the time and expense of remodeling. It's the personal value obtained from the remodel that can be the most rewarding.  Thanks!

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 11 years ago

I think in the past it was so much easier to just sell and move when you got bored with the house.  Why deal with with the aggrevation and hassle of a remodel.  Todays environment I see alot more remodels, finishing of basements , etc. 

I told one client a basement refinish may not add alot of resell value to the property, but it will add quality of your family life, come resell time it will rise above the competition resulting in a faster sale, and of course, accomplish the goal to add more space to live in. 

Posted by Chad Baird (Re/Max Spirit) over 11 years ago

Chad - You are so right! The emotional impact is what folks should measure when they weight the cost, time, and expense of a remodel. This is the place they wake up to everyday, the place their kids live, the place they are building  their memories in ... how valuable is that?

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 11 years ago