“Renovated in 2010” or “Recently Renovated” are terms you see in many remarks in MLS. It is my experience that they can mean vastly different things depending on your point of view. My background in Interior Design influences how I help clients evaluate just how valuable (or invaluable) a renovation can be.
Renovations, in the eye of the purist, usually are defined by the depth of the renovation (in other words, how much was replaced.) Renovations, in the minds of the most Sellers, Buyers and Realtors are typically more about what it looks like when complete. These eyes tend to look for a new kitchen or new bath, and are less likely to become interested in the ins and outs of plumbing and electrical improvements made behind the walls.
In many ways, both are right.
Ultimately, what makes a good renovation is balance. It is important to understand how the money was allocated throughout the renovation, as well as any improved performance of the home when completed. As a Realtor, I can also help a client understand, by studying the surrounding homes, just what that particular market will allow in terms of enhanced value.
For example, putting a $15,000 wood paneled Sub Zero refrigerator into a kitchen with 30 inch oak cabinets is money poorly spent. Likewise, replacing floor joists to 4” on center, while admirable, is also probably not a good use of capital. Spending $50,000 on a new kitchen in a 2,000 SF home with only one bath is also a misplacement of funds. To be considered well done, it is my opinion that the renovation needs to improve the entire atmosphere of the home and not just one aspect.
Structural improvements also need as much thought as cosmetic ones. Spending $100,000 on a kitchen only to have the new appliance package constantly trip the breaker because the electrical panel was last upgraded in 1987 also serves no purpose.
We have been lucky enough to work directly with many of the most talented architects in the city on many of the projects we have represented. Seeing these talented designers up close has only reinforced my strong belief that even a small investment in professional design services can go a long way to creating the best balance in your renovation. Likewise, if you are interested in purchasing a “renovated” home, let me help you see how “renovation” is defined as we go from home to home. We’re not comparing apples to apples, and it is my job to help a client understand what they’re buying, and to understand where the true value of their home comes from.
As the market continues to correct after the crash of 2008, people are more likely to stay in place longer meaning that the well-executed renovation will make or break values for years to come.
About the Writer // Kelly Blanchard is a Realtor for the One South Realty Group and Fan District resident with a degree in Interior Design. Her clients appreciate her formal training in assessing potential properties.