Author Topic: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?  (Read 2065 times)

Cromacster

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Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« on: April 25, 2018, 07:58:05 AM »
My wife and I have been in our home for 6 years.  It's a modest 1 1/2 story 1400sqft with an unfinished basement build in 1950.  We've haven't done any major upgrades to it and the previous owner last did some updates in the 70's.  It's starting to show it's age and it's definitely not up to modern standards.

We purchased it for 200k and might be able to sell it now for 250-275k with minimal work.  But the housing market being what it is houses in my neighborhood are going crazy.  They are selling for 400-600k.  Granted these are complete gut and remodels. 

We've talked with some designers and contractors about what we would like to have done and make a bit more our style.  Seems like it will run us 150-250k.  It would make our house pretty awesome, but it's still a tough pill to swallow when you see the price tag.

We won't/can't do it ourselves.  I'm pretty sure if we tried it would end up with a divorce and half remodeled house.

Anyone have experience doing major upgrades to their house?  I don't think this is a case of keeping up with the joneses, we just want our house to function how we want.

snogirl

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2018, 08:11:57 AM »
I bought a 1959 house in a very desirable neighborhood 5 years ago for 272k. A ranch. Two fireplaces. Paneling. Chopped up. The house was stuck in time. I did major renovations. Definitely do a statement of work. What you expect done. Be as specific as you possibly be with money allocated as work progresses to your satisfaction. It's messy and inconvienent. They were hiccups due to changes in code. I'd did mine in stages. It never got finished because it sucked everything out of me & not just financially. I ended up putting about 60k and just sold it as is for 355k. Houses sell in a day in my neighborhood for 400+k. I'm moving out of the area to a much smaller completely finished 10 year old energy efficient Cape for 175k. I'm much happier. Everyone is different for sure. I just knew I wanted a smaller financial footprint and more time outside than nesting. It wasn't my forever home. Good luck.

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frugaliknowit

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2018, 08:52:17 AM »
How long do you think you will live in this house if you update it?  I KNOW nearly everyone says something like, "I dunno" or "...this is our FOREVER, home..."  Throwing that much capital at a house requires a commitment.

That said, throwing $150-250K at a house worth ~$262K is A LOT and a huge range.  Can you either "tighten it up" or prioritize?

Cromacster

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2018, 09:24:04 AM »
How long do you think you will live in this house if you update it?  I KNOW nearly everyone says something like, "I dunno" or "...this is our FOREVER, home..."  Throwing that much capital at a house requires a commitment.

That said, throwing $150-250K at a house worth ~$262K is A LOT and a huge range.  Can you either "tighten it up" or prioritize?

The main reason we are considering this is because the neighborhood is great and we have good neighbors.  We would rather not move.  At a minimum, I would guess our timeline is 10 years.  Assuming nothing drastic changes in that time frame.

150k is the prioritized budget.  It would get the main items that we want done.  Much of the cost is the kitchen, but we would be changing the inside layout of the home by moving the stairs, which also alters the 2nd floor layout. 

Cromacster

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2018, 09:30:06 AM »
I bought a 1959 house in a very desirable neighborhood 5 years ago for 272k. A ranch. Two fireplaces. Paneling. Chopped up. The house was stuck in time. I did major renovations. Definitely do a statement of work. What you expect done. Be as specific as you possibly be with money allocated as work progresses to your satisfaction. It's messy and inconvienent. They were hiccups due to changes in code. I'd did mine in stages. It never got finished because it sucked everything out of me & not just financially. I ended up putting about 60k and just sold it as is for 355k. Houses sell in a day in my neighborhood for 400+k. I'm moving out of the area to a much smaller completely finished 10 year old energy efficient Cape for 175k. I'm much happier. Everyone is different for sure. I just knew I wanted a smaller financial footprint and more time outside than nesting. It wasn't my forever home. Good luck.

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Yea this is a hold up as well.  Our mortgage right now is pretty dang cheap with a good interest rate.  Increasing that will hurt emotionally, but nothing we couldn't handle financially.

How to pay for it is a completely other topic.  We could pony up most of it, but it would wipe out most of our after tax savings.  We could do a mix of HELOC and cash or a construction loan and refi.  That's the next serious part we need to decide on if we move forward. 

We are also going to talk with our realtor who we have done quite a bit of work with.  His view on what's worth it might be different than ours, but I think it would be valuable to understand what projects will impact the value the most.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2018, 09:31:41 AM by Cromacster »

snogirl

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2018, 09:33:39 AM »
How long do you think you will live in this house if you update it?  I KNOW nearly everyone says something like, "I dunno" or "...this is our FOREVER, home..."  Throwing that much capital at a house requires a commitment.

That said, throwing $150-250K at a house worth ~$262K is A LOT and a huge range.  Can you either "tighten it up" or prioritize?

The main reason we are considering this is because the neighborhood is great and we have good neighbors.  We would rather not move.  At a minimum, I would guess our timeline is 10 years.  Assuming nothing drastic changes in that time frame.

150k is the prioritized budget.  It would get the main items that we want done.  Much of the cost is the kitchen, but we would be changing the inside layout of the home by moving the stairs, which also alters the 2nd floor layout.
Is the 150k all in budget? Something always comes up or at least have a buffer just in case. I did do some work to offset costs. My contractor took down walls for an open concept kitchen. I hired a painter for the ceilings, but painted trim and walls. Small stuff.  FWIW I loved my neighborhood and neighbors too but didn't want to work anymore. Good luck with your project.

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Jon Bon

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2018, 09:52:52 AM »
Well I have 'slow flipped' a few houses while living in them so it is very possible. Usually its good to do 1 room at a time. Redo a bathroom, redo a kitchen that sort of thing. Painting/trim etc to a living room can be accomplished in a few days. That being said......

150-250 would be enough to rebuild your entire house would it not? that would get you modern mechanical as well as bigger closest, open floor plan, and other current building trends.

What do you think the lot is worth? What would a new build cost per sqft? Are older houses in your neighborhood being torn down and new ones being built? I too got a quote for an addition that was in that range, which was only slightly less then I paid for the entire house!

Cromacster

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2018, 10:21:41 AM »
Well I have 'slow flipped' a few houses while living in them so it is very possible. Usually its good to do 1 room at a time. Redo a bathroom, redo a kitchen that sort of thing. Painting/trim etc to a living room can be accomplished in a few days. That being said......

150-250 would be enough to rebuild your entire house would it not? that would get you modern mechanical as well as bigger closest, open floor plan, and other current building trends.

What do you think the lot is worth? What would a new build cost per sqft? Are older houses in your neighborhood being torn down and new ones being built? I too got a quote for an addition that was in that range, which was only slightly less then I paid for the entire house!

Interesting questions.  I have not considered what it would costs to do a complete rebuild.  I'd have to imagine that would be in more the 300+ range when you include the demo cost (assuming we stay put).  Again no real interest in moving.  Since I've moved in there haven't been any tear downs.  I've seen some completely remodeled with a 2nd story added.  Recently the church in the neighborhood sold a chunk of it's parking lot that was developed into two houses.  Silly McMansions were built that are pretty ugly/generic looking, but sold for 450 each.

Edit to add: per my tax statement I believe the land value is around 100k, but would need to check.

« Last Edit: April 25, 2018, 10:24:50 AM by Cromacster »

NathanP

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2018, 10:33:08 AM »
Building materials and labor costs are sky high right now. I would suggest doing a small renovation now, and wait for a dip in the economy to perform the larger jobs.

Also consider the pain points in your home. Is it the kitchen? Bathroom? Too many walls? Try tackling only one of them.

Jon Bon

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2018, 11:37:25 AM »
Building materials and labor costs are sky high right now. I would suggest doing a small renovation now, and wait for a dip in the economy to perform the larger jobs.

Also consider the pain points in your home. Is it the kitchen? Bathroom? Too many walls? Try tackling only one of them.

+1000 this right now.

I built a garage myself mainly because I could not find anyone to do the work. And when I could find guys even willing to submit a bid it was usually a tad ridiculous.  Materials prices might be up some, but the price of labor is insane. Demand continues to increase when supply of labor is decreasing.

All things equal doing a complete update on your house now or a brand new house for 50k more I think it is an easy choice.

My vote, find some friends that are good at rennovations and shamelessly take advantage of said friendship!



snogirl

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2018, 12:05:46 PM »
How long do you think you will live in this house if you update it?  I KNOW nearly everyone says something like, "I dunno" or "...this is our FOREVER, home..."  Throwing that much capital at a house requires a commitment.

That said, throwing $150-250K at a house worth ~$262K is A LOT and a huge range.  Can you either "tighten it up" or prioritize?

The main reason we are considering this is because the neighborhood is great and we have good neighbors.  We would rather not move.  At a minimum, I would guess our timeline is 10 years.  Assuming nothing drastic changes in that time frame.

150k is the prioritized budget.  It would get the main items that we want done.  Much of the cost is the kitchen, but we would be changing the inside layout of the home by moving the stairs, which also alters the 2nd floor layout.
Building materials and labor costs are sky high right now. I would suggest doing a small renovation now, and wait for a dip in the economy to perform the larger jobs.

Also consider the pain points in your home. Is it the kitchen? Bathroom? Too many walls? Try tackling only one of them.

+1000 this right now.

I built a garage myself mainly because I could not find anyone to do the work. And when I could find guys even willing to submit a bid it was usually a tad ridiculous.  Materials prices might be up some, but the price of labor is insane. Demand continues to increase when supply of labor is decreasing.

All things equal doing a complete update on your house now or a brand new house for 50k more I think it is an easy choice.

My vote, find some friends that are good at rennovations and shamelessly take advantage of said friendship!
The OP talked about his family's priority being an updated kitchen that would require moving his existing stairway to the second floor. That is beyond friendship unless said friends are structural engineers. I've done my fair share of renovating including the use of friends though on a smaller scale. Most have their own projects & time constraints. To prepare for my old house in a hot neighborhood sale, my retired friends (who also happen to be on MMM) helped with painting, light fixtures, small drywall taping & mud.
That is what I faced too with contractors in this older home- big costs with no much return. Not the norm in my past homes. It's a different economy now.  Materials and labor out of sight.  I'll be building my own garage in my new place which will be my forever home right where I want to be. I'm fire'd but older & will pick my projects wisely.
Glad you are doing your own garage. I'm buying a kit

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Papa bear

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2018, 12:18:46 PM »
How long do you think you will live in this house if you update it?  I KNOW nearly everyone says something like, "I dunno" or "...this is our FOREVER, home..."  Throwing that much capital at a house requires a commitment.

That said, throwing $150-250K at a house worth ~$262K is A LOT and a huge range.  Can you either "tighten it up" or prioritize?

The main reason we are considering this is because the neighborhood is great and we have good neighbors.  We would rather not move.  At a minimum, I would guess our timeline is 10 years.  Assuming nothing drastic changes in that time frame.

150k is the prioritized budget.  It would get the main items that we want done.  Much of the cost is the kitchen, but we would be changing the inside layout of the home by moving the stairs, which also alters the 2nd floor layout.
Building materials and labor costs are sky high right now. I would suggest doing a small renovation now, and wait for a dip in the economy to perform the larger jobs.

Also consider the pain points in your home. Is it the kitchen? Bathroom? Too many walls? Try tackling only one of them.

+1000 this right now.

I built a garage myself mainly because I could not find anyone to do the work. And when I could find guys even willing to submit a bid it was usually a tad ridiculous.  Materials prices might be up some, but the price of labor is insane. Demand continues to increase when supply of labor is decreasing.

All things equal doing a complete update on your house now or a brand new house for 50k more I think it is an easy choice.

My vote, find some friends that are good at rennovations and shamelessly take advantage of said friendship!
The OP talked about his family's priority being an updated kitchen that would require moving his existing stairway to the second floor. That is beyond friendship unless said friends are structural engineers. I've done my fair share of renovating including the use of friends though on a smaller scale. Most have their own projects & time constraints. To prepare for my old house in a hot neighborhood sale, my retired friends (who also happen to be on MMM) helped with painting, light fixtures, small drywall taping & mud.
That is what I faced too with contractors in this older home- big costs with no much return. Not the norm in my past homes. It's a different economy now.  Materials and labor out of sight.  I'll be building my own garage in my new place which will be my forever home right where I want to be. I'm fire'd but older & will pick my projects wisely.
Glad you are doing your own garage. I'm buying a kit

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Find some better friends! And they don't need to be engineers.  This ain't rocket surgery =)

I can attest that I have helped out with some major renovation projects and have had friends help with mine.  Including tearing out structural walls and adding beams. Even building complete additions and 2+ story garages.

I've always gone through renovations with living in the house.  It's a huge pain in the ass. 150-250 sounds high unless you are building an addition or have really expensive tastes for finishes.  Outside of bathrooms and kitchens, remodeling other rooms really doesn't cost much. 

There's three important things to know in real estate. You may have heard them before. Location. Location. Location.  You can't fix that. Everything else can be changed.


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snogirl

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2018, 12:37:23 PM »
I have great friends thank you.
We'd rather hike and mountain bike and bbq together. As far as ripping up the stairway and relocating with a second floor on top go for it. I've done my fair share of renovations building a huge attached 30x26 garage with radiant heat no contractors. Agree on location. Location. Location

How long do you think you will live in this house if you update it?  I KNOW nearly everyone says something like, "I dunno" or "...this is our FOREVER, home..."  Throwing that much capital at a house requires a commitment.

That said, throwing $150-250K at a house worth ~$262K is A LOT and a huge range.  Can you either "tighten it up" or prioritize?

The main reason we are considering this is because the neighborhood is great and we have good neighbors.  We would rather not move.  At a minimum, I would guess our timeline is 10 years.  Assuming nothing drastic changes in that time frame.

150k is the prioritized budget.  It would get the main items that we want done.  Much of the cost is the kitchen, but we would be changing the inside layout of the home by moving the stairs, which also alters the 2nd floor layout.
Building materials and labor costs are sky high right now. I would suggest doing a small renovation now, and wait for a dip in the economy to perform the larger jobs.

Also consider the pain points in your home. Is it the kitchen? Bathroom? Too many walls? Try tackling only one of them.

+1000 this right now.

I built a garage myself mainly because I could not find anyone to do the work. And when I could find guys even willing to submit a bid it was usually a tad ridiculous.  Materials prices might be up some, but the price of labor is insane. Demand continues to increase when supply of labor is decreasing.

All things equal doing a complete update on your house now or a brand new house for 50k more I think it is an easy choice.

My vote, find some friends that are good at rennovations and shamelessly take advantage of said friendship!
The OP talked about his family's priority being an updated kitchen that would require moving his existing stairway to the second floor. That is beyond friendship unless said friends are structural engineers. I've done my fair share of renovating including the use of friends though on a smaller scale. Most have their own projects & time constraints. To prepare for my old house in a hot neighborhood sale, my retired friends (who also happen to be on MMM) helped with painting, light fixtures, small drywall taping & mud.
That is what I faced too with contractors in this older home- big costs with no much return. Not the norm in my past homes. It's a different economy now.  Materials and labor out of sight.  I'll be building my own garage in my new place which will be my forever home right where I want to be. I'm fire'd but older & will pick my projects wisely.
Glad you are doing your own garage. I'm buying a kit

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Find some better friends! And they don't need to be engineers.  This ain't rocket surgery =)

I can attest that I have helped out with some major renovation projects and have had friends help with mine.  Including tearing out structural walls and adding beams. Even building complete additions and 2+ story garages.

I've always gone through renovations with living in the house.  It's a huge pain in the ass. 150-250 sounds high unless you are building an addition or have really expensive tastes for finishes.  Outside of bathrooms and kitchens, remodeling other rooms really doesn't cost much. 

There's three important things to know in real estate. You may have heard them before. Location. Location. Location.  You can't fix that. Everything else can be changed.


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« Last Edit: April 25, 2018, 12:40:03 PM by snogirl »

snogirl

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2018, 12:42:48 PM »
How long do you think you will live in this house if you update it?  I KNOW nearly everyone says something like, "I dunno" or "...this is our FOREVER, home..."  Throwing that much capital at a house requires a commitment.

That said, throwing $150-250K at a house worth ~$262K is A LOT and a huge range.  Can you either "tighten it up" or prioritize?

The main reason we are considering this is because the neighborhood is great and we have good neighbors.  We would rather not move.  At a minimum, I would guess our timeline is 10 years.  Assuming nothing drastic changes in that time frame.

150k is the prioritized budget.  It would get the main items that we want done.  Much of the cost is the kitchen, but we would be changing the inside layout of the home by moving the stairs, which also alters the 2nd floor layout.
Building materials and labor costs are sky high right now. I would suggest doing a small renovation now, and wait for a dip in the economy to perform the larger jobs.

Also consider the pain points in your home. Is it the kitchen? Bathroom? Too many walls? Try tackling only one of them.

+1000 this right now.

I built a garage myself mainly because I could not find anyone to do the work. And when I could find guys even willing to submit a bid it was usually a tad ridiculous.  Materials prices might be up some, but the price of labor is insane. Demand continues to increase when supply of labor is decreasing.

All things equal doing a complete update on your house now or a brand new house for 50k more I think it is an easy choice.

My vote, find some friends that are good at rennovations and shamelessly take advantage of said friendship!
The OP talked about his family's priority being an updated kitchen that would require moving his existing stairway to the second floor. That is beyond friendship unless said friends are structural engineers. I've done my fair share of renovating including the use of friends though on a smaller scale. Most have their own projects & time constraints. To prepare for my old house in a hot neighborhood sale, my retired friends (who also happen to be on MMM) helped with painting, light fixtures, small drywall taping & mud.
That is what I faced too with contractors in this older home- big costs with no much return. Not the norm in my past homes. It's a different economy now.  Materials and labor out of sight.  I'll be building my own garage in my new place which will be my forever home right where I want to be. I'm fire'd but older & will pick my projects wisely.
Glad you are doing your own garage. I'm buying a kit

Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk

Find some better friends! And they don't need to be engineers.  This ain't rocket surgery =)

I can attest that I have helped out with some major renovation projects and have had friends help with mine.  Including tearing out structural walls and adding beams. Even building complete additions and 2+ story garages.

I've always gone through renovations with living in the house.  It's a huge pain in the ass. 150-250 sounds high unless you are building an addition or have really expensive tastes for finishes.  Outside of bathrooms and kitchens, remodeling other rooms really doesn't cost much. 

There's three important things to know in real estate. You may have heard them before. Location. Location. Location.  You can't fix that. Everything else can be changed.


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Oh I forgot. The couple who helped me who are on MMM are retired NASA engineers lol

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405programmer

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2018, 01:29:21 PM »
I think investing in your house can make sense if you love the location but damn 150K is so much. Could you completely move the location of the kitchen? Instead of moving the staircase just leave the stairs and move the kitchen to a newly constructed addition in the backyard / side-yard? Adding square footage might increase your taxes every year but could also increase home value more than just a refresh renovation alone. 150K is a crazy amount for a 1400sqft refresh.

Rocketman

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2018, 04:06:42 PM »
This last Fall we did a Large Project on our Condo. Complete gut of the kitchen, plus baseboards and carpet for the rest of the condo. (Plus new bifold doors after the old ones no longer worked with the thicker pad and nicer carpet).  It was 80k.

We ended up going through Lowes and one of their contractors. When it was done I was very pleased!!!  But it was Hell for 3 weeks!

See what you can cut and still have a great result. We could have spent another 20k, and Our place wouldn’t have been any nicer. (If we put in the fridge/freezer we started looking at that alone would have been 20k).  You can go insane crazy with high priced stuff.

Good Luck!👍

Cranky

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2018, 05:31:21 AM »
That's a lot of $$, and I think it would - for me - get to the point of diminishing returns. I think that *I* could make  house a lot more enjoyable, for a lot less money.

Remodel the kitchen. Spruce up the basement. Paint. Rearrange the furniture. I bet you can make the house work without knocking out walls and moving stairs.

partgypsy

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2018, 08:05:12 AM »
I think the important point is, you like the lot, and you like the neighborhood. You are planning to stay there for 10 years.
Just wondering, if you did do a $150K remodel, could you turn around and recoup that money? Ask a realtor if you don't know, and whether it is more cost effective to move or remodel.
I would not be surprised at all if the remodel is more cost-effective. Hopefully with these changes not only are you getting more usable space, you are also getting more "space" as well, otherwise the remodel does sound expensive (that's equivalent to $250 a square feet!).   

Do your due dilligence, get multiple quotes and work with someone who has references you can call and talk to. You really have to be on top of the contractor otherwise the cost will balloon (this always happens because issues are discovered). Be willing to cut back in some areas if that happens, to achieve what is most important to you and stay in your budget. 
« Last Edit: April 26, 2018, 08:07:14 AM by partgypsy »

Cromacster

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Re: Big Home Upgrade, when does it make sense?
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2018, 09:48:55 AM »
I think the important point is, you like the lot, and you like the neighborhood. You are planning to stay there for 10 years.
Just wondering, if you did do a $150K remodel, could you turn around and recoup that money? Ask a realtor if you don't know, and whether it is more cost effective to move or remodel.
I would not be surprised at all if the remodel is more cost-effective. Hopefully with these changes not only are you getting more usable space, you are also getting more "space" as well, otherwise the remodel does sound expensive (that's equivalent to $250 a square feet!).   

Do your due dilligence, get multiple quotes and work with someone who has references you can call and talk to. You really have to be on top of the contractor otherwise the cost will balloon (this always happens because issues are discovered). Be willing to cut back in some areas if that happens, to achieve what is most important to you and stay in your budget.

Talking to our realtor was going to be our next step.  To check that we're not investing to much into the house and not getting the return.

It would create a much more open feel.  Currently the kitchen is tucked away in a corner separated from everything by the stairs.  We would move the stairs, which would combine the kitchen and living space into one big room.  This would also create an extra room upstairs which is currently just storage space divided by the stairs.

That's a lot of $$, and I think it would - for me - get to the point of diminishing returns. I think that *I* could make  house a lot more enjoyable, for a lot less money.

Remodel the kitchen. Spruce up the basement. Paint. Rearrange the furniture. I bet you can make the house work without knocking out walls and moving stairs.

That's essentially what we've done, minus remodeling the kitchen.  Remodeling the kitchen alone wouldn't be worth it to me, I'd rather just move.

I have some sketches of the current space and what some of our visions are, I will try and upload them.