How Often Should You Remodel Your Home?
Home remodeling is more than upgrading your home for many Americans. The home remodel industry is a roughly $450 billion dollar industry, and there is no sign that it is slowing down. Home remodeling is big business.
For many Americans home remodeling is more than a series of projects to get their space in great condition, it has become a bona fide hobby. More and more Americans are remodeling their homes not just once, but several times over a short period of time. Many people wonder, exactly how often you should remodel your home? When is too much just too much?
A lot of people confuse general maintenance and updating with remodeling. For example, replacing rain gutters is not really a home remodeling project, it is necessary maintenance. Custom kitchen cabinets can fit in the remodel category.
It is important not to confuse home remodeling with maintenance activities or home improvements. Air conditioning installation to replace a worn-out system is a necessity and it is a home improvement activity.
Understanding the differences is important because it makes it easier to understand the answer to how often should you remodel your home. Some activities you may have to repeat over and over again, others are a one and done deal until you are tired of it, and yet other activities are simply maintenance activities to keep your home running smoothly.
Home Remodel Defined By a Home Remodeling Contractor
Let’s say you are tired of your old outdated bathroom, and you want to make some changes. You pick up the phone and call a home remodeling contractor. A remodel for your bathroom can be as simple as replacing the fixtures and maybe putting in a new stand up shower. It can also be as complicated and changing every part of the bathroom including the floor plan.
A remodel is an activity that can change the footprint of rooms, add new fixtures, flooring, and more. It is typically a large project that comes with a rather hefty price tag. In most cases, it takes a professional or several professionals to be involved in the project.
Of course, home remodeling projects also update the space in other ways, it may be that you need to complete new plumbing in that bathroom or your wiring needs to be upgraded. Which of course, all leads to that question “how often should you remodel your home?”
How Often Should You Remodel Your Home to Keep it Up to Date?
Let’s use that bathroom that you hated as an example. After a month, you have a great bathroom that is updated beautifully and that you feel very comfortable in. How long will that new bathroom feeling last before you want to remodel it again, or how often should you remodel your home to make sure it is always up to date?
The answer is pretty simple. If the bathroom was done right, and you love it, that bathroom can stay the way it is for about 15 years before you have to make changes again. Of course, if you have the money and you are not really happy with it In the first place, you can remodel it again whenever you are ready to deal with the stress and the cost. In other ways, there is no limit on how often should you remodel your home.
It is your home and you can remodel it as many times as you want as long as you are prepared to absorb the cost. It is recommended to continuously remodel the same areas in a short time span, not really.
What is Wrong With Remodeling Often?
Ultimately there is nothing wrong with remodeling the same bathroom a couple of years down the road, but you do not want to get stuck on remodeling projects when there are other things that need to be done.
For example, make sure you pay attention to other areas of your home that need attention like landscaping. You do not want to sacrifice other necessary activities and focus only on the remodeling activities.
It is always a good idea to check the systems in your home like your roof and rain gutters before you start the next remodeling project. You do not want to blow your budget by starting a remodeling projects back to back and then not having the money to do the things that need to get done.
Spread the Love
For many homeowners it is not so much how often should you remodel your home that they need guidance with, it is where should I put my remodel dollars. It can be tempting to do the remodel projects that deliver the most wow factor, but it can be smarter to get the projects out of the way that does not deliver the, wow but they do deliver the improvements that can help you save.
You may hate your kitchen that was remodeled 5 years ago, right before your bathroom was done, but sometimes you have to learn to just deal for a little while longer so you can address the other area of your home and keep in mind that some remodeling projects do not come with a lot of wow factor like that gourmet kitchen you have planned but do greatly improve your home.
Here are some remodel projects that are basically a one and done scenario that deliver a nice ROI:
- Love wood windows but yours are looking a little shabby? Have custom wood windows installed and improve energy efficiency, aesthetics and function. If you feel like you need to go the extra mile add impact windows. This is a home remodeling project that can be done once and not thought about for about another 15-20 years.
- Invest in state of the art home security systems. This, of course, is more of an upgrade than a remodel but it is a smart move to protect your property and your family that will pay off with peace of mind. You may even be eligible for a home insurance discount.
- Upgrade your entire exterior to improve aesthetics, function, and comfort. New siding will improve energy efficiency, new windows will also improve energy efficiency, and you can even add a new driveway or sidewalk to improve convenience.
In other words, do not neglect opportunities to improve your home that are not quite as sexy as some other projects. Some of the remodel projects pay you back in other ways and actually will deliver a more substantial ROI.
Why Do You Need to Pace Yourself With Remodeling?
Even if you are a remodel junky, you know how stressful it can be to go through a remodel project. Your home (no matter what room you are doing) is literally turned upside down until the project is done.
Remember that bathroom remodels we talked about earlier? Remodeling just a bathroom means that you and your family do not have access to that bathroom. It also means that anything that is stored in that bathroom regularly will have to find a new home elsewhere temporarily.
You also will have to deal with people in and out of your home while the bathroom is being worked on. If you have a pet you will need to wrangle them to stay out of the way. You will spend a lot of time cleaning up stuff that is dragged in and out of the house while the work is going on. You may have to live without water for a day or two depending on how much plumbing has to do be done.
Sounds a little nightmarish? It is. You will be stressed out and not even realize how stressed you are until it is all over. Taking a break in between projects also helps you to really enjoy the finished project.
A lot of people use their budget as a point of reference for how often you should remodel your home which is fine but you should take a step back every once in a while and consider the following:
- Less can mean more. If you remodel less you can put more money into the projects that are really worthy of the remodel. Instead of working on a shoestring budget if you save money for a little while you will have more money to pour into the project.
- How is your remodeling affecting your emergency fund? Do you even have an emergency fund? You should have at least 3 months of your salary saved.
- Putting off remodeling projects for a long stretch can mean the difference between paying outright and having to finance projects. You can save a boatload of cash by paying in cash.
The point is even if you have it in your budget to kick start those remodel projects back to back the real question is, should you? How often should you remodel your home and invest the money? Should you take that savings and pour it in to back to back remodel? Should you just bit the bullet and take on more debt? In many cases, if you can delay that project for a while it makes the best financial sense.
Slowing down on the remodels can help you to avoid having to pay costly interest charges on financing options. Cash is king when it comes to paying for remodeling projects. Of course, if the remodel need to be done to make your home safe, and you do not have the cash on hand, financing can be a good option to make the improvements.
The Payoff of a Remodeling Project
Americans move a lot. Very rarely do people make it to that coveted 30-year mark and pay off their mortgage. More likely than not Americans tend to stay in their homes for about a decade then they move on.
If you are on the “all aboard let’s remodel another room” train, you really need to give some thought to how long you will be living in your home. How often should you remodel your home, comes down to how long do you think you will be in your home?
Planning out your remodeling projects around the amount of time you realistically will be in your home is important. Of course, if you know that you will be there for less than five years, than it takes on even more importance.
Before you jump into your next remodel project consider if you will be living in the home long enough to really get the value out of your remodel. While for many people ROI is less important than having a comfortable place to live, you still have to give it some attention.
If you know that your job will be relocating you somewhere down the road, you do not want to spend the time in your current home trying to make it into your perfect home, and more importantly, you do not want to spend the money.
Another Factor of How Often Should You Remodel Your Home
If you are that family that will have to move a few years down the road, you want to be careful with the remodeling projects that you choose and how much you customize your home. What is custom for you may not be an attractive option for buyers.
Unless you know that this is your forever home and you are going to be that rare bird that stays until the house is paid off, keep your remodeling neutral. While you’re making your remodeling plans you have to consider what the next family will want in a home or you risk not being able to sell quickly.
Ultimately It is Up To You
If you are wondering how often you should remodel your home, the short answer is, as many times as you are comfortable with. As long as you are not neglecting other areas of your home or your life to get the remodeling done, go for it. There are some areas that need continued investment, like adding impact windows. However, the rest is up to you. Having a great space to live in is important. How often should you remodel your home? How much can you afford, how much stress can you manage, and how much time do you have are only answers you can provide.
It is your home and no one can tell you want to do with it. How often should you remodel your home is up to you. Just move with caution to make sure you are not falling into the trap of throwing good money after bad trying to create your dream home that you will not live in long enough to enjoy. No one can tell you how often you should remodel your home.