Jan Lehman, Standale Interiors

The West Michigan home building/remodeling industry is experiencing one of the most competitive and tight housing markets ever, resulting in many home owners deciding to remodel rather than move.  The remodeling business is booming with endless options for upgrading.

Not too long ago, pricier renovations were thought to give you a better ROI when selling your home.  Well, as the saying goes, “The times, they are a-changin’.”  Today the demand for lower, more affordable homes is where the market is.  The labor shortage, along with higher prices for building products due to natural disasters, has caused remodeling prices to increase significantly.  So now the formula to get the most bang for your buck is, “The simpler the project, the better return on your investment.”  Now the upgrade vs. an addition makes more sense.

With all that said, the one caveat is house pride—what is the value TO YOU living in a house that YOU designed in a way that makes YOU happy?  Doesn’t it make sense for YOU to enjoy a home improvement even if only for a year?

Back to the question of SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?  Here are a few rules of thumb to consider whether you are renovating for yourself or for resale.

  • IF IT’S BROKE, FIX IT!   Unless you are selling your home as a “fixer-upper,” most buyers don’t want a lot of maintenance upon moving in.  Who wants to live in a home with lots of stuff that doesn’t work?
  • FIRST IMPRESSIONS CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.  Make sure everything is clean–windows, siding, doors, etc.   The landscape should be neat and make sure the exterior lighting is in working order as that can be attractive as a security feature.vanity
  • BEAUTIFUL BATHROOMS.  It’s easy to give your bathroom a simple makeover.  New paint, faucets, shower-heads, towel bars, shower curtains, and accessories are the most common for do-it-yourselfers.  If you have some plumbing skills, a new vanity can make a big impact.  If you are planning a complete overhaul such as flooring, cabinetry, mirrors and lighting, you may want to enlist the help of a designer.  Standale Interiors will provide design help when you are planning such a project.
  • THE ALL-IMPORTANT KITCHEN!   Think about how your kitchen is working for you.  Do you just need a simple refresh or do you need a complete redo?  If you want faucetto give it a facelift, think about new paint, faucet, accessories and especially new cabinet hardware and switch plates. If you want a complete redo, your best bet is to enlist the help of the experts so that they can create the kitchen you want.  There are unlimited options for countertops, cabinets and flooring that can be combined to fit your lifestyle and budget.  For example, tile is trending for kitchens.  However, if your budget can’t handle that, there are other options that look like tile that can fool even the experts
  • WANT AN ENTRY THAT SAYS WOW?  Power washing the porch and siding, replacing crumbling cement (steps or porch), maybe some new outdoor furniture and certainly landscaping will go a long way in welcoming your visitors.  If your entry door is in good condition, a fresh coat of paint or stain is in order and then get creative with your house numbers!  If your entry door isn’t very energy efficient, let the experts install a paintable fiberglass door which resists denting and scratching and is house numberseasy to maintain.  This is a great place to add a pop of unexpected color that will have your guests saying, “Wow!”
  • SPRING IS A GREAT TIME TO DECLUTTER.  Clutter stifles our creativity and who wants to see your mess.  Out with the old and bring in some fun, new accessories.
  • WONDERFUL WINDOWS are probably best left to the professionals.  Vinyl windows will probably be your most reasonably priced option.  Vinyl windows resist rotting, don’t require repainting, won’t pit or flake and require little maintenance.  You’ll enjoy an immediate pay off in terms of increased comfort, lower utility bills and increased curb appeal, while potentially adding significant resale value to your home.
  • IT’S TIME TO LOOK DOWN.  If you’re not changing the foot-print of your space, new flooring has a huge impact.  Most people like to sink their toes into soft carpet when getting out of bed so a remnant could be an easy update.  If the flooring is water-stained, consider investing in the newest water-proof vinyl flooring.  We’ve even been using LVP on accent walls!

Figure out what renovations YOU can do and what renovations to leave to the professionals.  Electrical or plumbing are two areas best left to the professionals while, with the right tools and talent, painting even one wall should be something you can do yourself.

You may also want to do some decorating just for you!  Here are some ideas that can give you some pride and joy while impressing potential buyers as well.

  • Builder woman with roll wallpaper. Isolated.Decorate rooms that often aren’t!  Wouldn’t it be easier doing laundry in a bright and organized space?  Put up a pretty valance, get some colored canvas bags and paint a soothing spa-green. Or organize the garage or basement using brightly colored storage bins.
  • Wallpaper is making a comeback.  Use it as an accent wall in the foyer or half bath, behind the bed or even on sliding doors to create moving artwork.

  • Don’t over-remodel for your area.  If you’ve been in your neighborhood for a while, you’ve probably been in your neighbor’s home so you know what finishes and fixtures and updates others have done.  Try to do something, however, that will set your home apart from the Jones.  If you have a kitchen island already, maybe spring for a new quartz countertop or new backsplash.