To Renovate or Not to Renovate

In the last several years, home improvement shows have skyrocketed in popularity, and with that has come the increasing popularity of DIY home improvement. Armed with several hours of Fixer Upper and a fully stacked Pinterest board, homeowners may be tempted to think tackling their home renovations will be a quick and easy way to increase its value. 

No matter how easy your favorite HGTV show makes it seem, there are some things you should consider before diving headlong into such a big project. Below are the top five reasons why DIY remodeling your house is probably a bad idea, and an alternative that can help you get your house ready to list this Spring without the headache.


1. You don’t have enough capital. 

Home renovations are expensive (even if you can do most of the work yourself) and they have only gotten more expensive. A kitchen upgrade can easily reach more than $10,000 with full-blown renovations reaching as high as $68,000! Most people will have to borrow the kind of money it takes to do a full-scale home renovation, and if you are looking to sell your home for a profit that can present a real problem. 

2. The market is not in your favor. 

Overall, inventory (the number of homes for sale) in the Greater Tulsa housing market has stayed low for the last several years but depending on your home’s potential sale price that might not be the case. Homes listed under $200,000 have a lot of potential for large scale renovation, but the higher your home’s value, the greater risk you have of losing money as it sits on the market. 

This goes back to the issue of capital: How much can you afford to invest while still paying your mortgage, property taxes, insurance, and utilities each month? How long can you wait for the right buyer to come along and purchase your home? 

3. Do you have the necessary skills?

Another important question to answer is: do you have the skills to do the work? The point of DIY is to actually do the work yourself. These types of renovations are often successful because they keep costs to a minimum, and the most effective way to keep costs down is by saving on labor. Material costs are out of your control, but being able to do the work yourself can be the difference between profit or loss at the end of the day. 

4. The repairs are too major. 

You could also discover that the repairs needed to truly increase the value of your home, and justify investing in improvements are just too major or too widespread. Having to pay to repair a cracked foundation could set you back as much as $10,000, and there goes that kitchen renovation. 

5. Your return on investment is too low. 

The biggest reason to do this type of home renovation is to get the best price possible for your home when it hits the market. The reality is, some of the most flashy and exciting home renovations actually do the least to impact your home’s sale price. You could spend $20,000 on the bathroom and only increase your list price by a marginal amount. 

Before you decide to pull the trigger, it would be a good idea to consult a trusted local real estate agent who knows your market. They will also be able to help you decide what projects make the most sense to tackle to improve your return on investment. 


So what should you do if it turns out renovating your house presents more risk than reward? How can you increase your home’s value before it hits the market? Consider focusing on your home’s curb appeal. 

Improve your home’s curb appeal.

One of the biggest problems many DIY remodelers run into is “over improving” the property. The new roof, siding, kitchen, and master bath are great. They do add value to the home and make it more desirable to potential buyers, but sometimes all those improvements still won’t overcome a low appraisal. Some renovations do more to add “emotional” value than real cash value to your home. 

Instead of focusing on major repairs or renovations that aren’t 100% necessary, consider improving curb appeal. Things, like painting the shudders, updating the landscaping, and replacing the front or garage doors, are all inexpensive ways to make your home more appealing. They add emotional value for potential buyers and can help them picture your house as their future home. A can of paint costs a lot less than having to install an engineered beam so your open concept kitchen actually works. Many times, that can of paint is just the thing potential buyers needed to help them fall in love with your home! 

If you really want to get the best return on investment when you list your home this spring, the first thing you should do is consult an expert real estate agent. At McGraw REALTORS® we have over 400 active agents and 82 years of experience helping clients sell their homes throughout Northeastern Oklahoma. With us as your guide through the listing process, you will be able to make informed decisions as you prepare to sell your home. 

Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with one of our expert real estate agents.

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