The vast majority of ‘extreme home makeovers’ we see are those on HGTV and the like and mostly more affordable. But major renovations happen at all price levels, including multi-million dollar homes.
Like many people, you may be more prone to remodel, rather than decide that it’s time to sell your home and buy another one. Not least because of the effect on the property taxes. That can be a major hit if you have lived in your home for 10 years or more. But there are many cases where moving on is the better choice.
Benefits of Selling
When you sell your home and buy another one, you know what costs are involved down to the last cent. Remodeling projects have a habit of escalating!
If you really need to downsize, moving is the only practical solution. And remember that you may be able to take your present property tax base with you, depending on your age and where you are moving to.
Considering a Major Renovation
All renovation is expensive, especially if it is done correctly, with everything to code, and not merely a cosmetic re-do. Structural renovations can be extremely costly, and often the structural and mechanical aspects of the renovation are not clearly visible, although they may often be the most important aspect of the renovation.
The first step any prospective remodeler should do is consult their real estate agent to determine the differential between what the property costs to buy and what it could be worth fully renovated. Some buyers of very expensive homes don’t care if they lose money upon re-sale, but they are in the minority. A client of a colleague recently gut-renovated a massive property with no budget (the garden alone cost $10 million) and he stated boldly: “I am rich, I am not going to live forever, I love this property, it’s my home and I don’t care if it sells for 50 cents on the dollar!”
Planning Ahead Is Critical
The next step in a major remodel is to hire a team: an architect, builder and engineer are a good start. A landscaper and interior designer are also often advisable. Getting a comprehensive understanding of current conditions and the environment/land that the property is built on is critical. Understanding costs is equally important, if cost matters.
Many older homes require bringing up to current standards in order to get permits approved. There are very few for which a cosmetic renovation alone works. Most renovators of expensive older homes say that skimping is usually inevitably more costly and its always wiser to do things 100% thoroughly from A-Z.
Everything you put into a high-priced renovation has varying degrees of cost: some windows for instance can cost triple the cost of others. A quality sink faucet can cost anywhere from $250 to over $5,000. Choices matter. And often those choices have to refer back to end valuation to be justified. There is nothing worse than doing an expensive renovation that appears cheap or looks like parts were skimped, as tempting as that may be. When evaluating an older’ properties re-design it’s often advisable to retain the aspects that make that property special while adapting the place to a contemporary lifestyle. Those who destroy (good) architectural history are certainly better advised to build from scratch elsewhere.
A beautifully renovated house requires a beautifully landscaped environment: too often we see poorly executed landscaping because people forget just how much landscaping can cost and they have no budget left by the time they are finished with the rest…and all the additional costs that are inevitable. Older homes are prone to delivering ‘surprises’.
While I like much new construction, I have to say that personally nothing compares to a magnificently renovated home that has it’s architectural beauty preserved. It should also be noted that many very high end properties are viewed as dated and requiring of a cosmetic renovation after about 6-7 years. Don’t forget: the rich are different!
Time To Sell Your Home?
If the above sounds daunting to you but you really do feel that your circumstances require some changes to be made, selling is probably the right move for you. Remodeling, especially substantial remodeling, is certainly not for the faint of heart.