How To Make Sure Your Home Remodel Is Worth It

How To Make Sure Your Home Remodel Is Worth It

July 11, 2022
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door
house remodel with new installed windows

Owning your own home is part of what is often referred to as the “American Dream.” But when you own your home and are completely responsible for repairs, maintenance, and upkeep, it can change your outlook on things. You’ll soon find yourself with a seemingly never-ending list of things to fix, change or upgrade. Organizing and prioritizing this list of projects is not only a way to save your sanity, but it can also make good financial sense. Deciding what projects will increase your home’s value the most can help you as you prioritize which items to check off your list first.

If you’re asking yourself if you should remodel your home or just move on to a new one, there are probably a few things about your home you don’t love, and that’s okay. No home is perfect! But when you’re asking yourself that question, you’re really asking: Can my dislikes be changed with a remodel? Would that make financial sense? Is remodeling worth the hassle?

Everyone’s home, budget, real estate market, and priorities are different. So, settling the remodel-versus-sell debate always varies, depending on who you ask. But, if you’re trying to make the decision for yourself, follow these five key steps.

Determine a Budget 

It’s important first to determine the amount that you will spend on your home’s remodel to make sure it’s a good investment instead of a money pit. 

As a general rule of thumb, you should spend no more on each room than the value of that room as a percentage of your overall house value. Always get an approximate value of your home to start with before you begin your home remodeling.

For example, a kitchen generally accounts for 10 to 15 percent of the property value, so spend no more than this on kitchen renovation costs. If your home is worth $200,000, for example, you'll want to spend $30,000 or less.

Once you've zeroed in on a project, the next question is whether you have the money. If you're paying cash, that's easy to answer. But if you're borrowing, you need to assess how much a bank will lend you and what that loan will add to your monthly expenses.

home equity

There are three basic types of loan options:

For the vast majority of homeowners, the best way to borrow for a home improvement is a home equity line of credit. A HELOC is a loan that's secured by your home equity, which means that it qualifies for a lower rate than other loan types, and you can deduct the interest on your taxes.

Before seeking bids, determine exactly what you want, right down to the kitchen countertop material and the type of faucet. By specifying these details upfront, you ensure that prospective contractors are all pricing the same items.

Take the winning contractor's bid and add a 15% to 20% contingency for the unforeseen problems and changes that occur on every project. Is the total still within your ability to pay? If so, you're ready to get started. If not, it's time to scale back your plans.

Dreams and budget not in alignment? Carefully scale down your dream -- chances are you'll end up satisfied and solvent. Enlist your contractor for suggestions on cutting costs -- that way; he'll be an ally in helping you stick to your budget.

Possibilities include:

  • Low-cost alternatives. For example, specify laminate countertops instead of granite.
  • Keeping older items that are still in working condition. Appliances, furnaces, and lighting fixtures can be upgraded later.
  • Making the project smaller. Trim that bathroom addition from 100 square feet to 80 square feet.
  • Buy it yourself. You'll save up to 20% on your project costs if you buy materials and appliances yourself. Be sure to coordinate your BIY efforts with your contractor.

Look for Big ROI  

Some renovations will provide a bigger return than others, so it’s important to start your process with a good understanding of which projects will put money back in your pocket. 

Whether or not you are planning to sell your property soon, or you just want to enjoy a few simple upgrades, there are several ways to boost your home improvements ROI. However, it is important to note that not all home improvements are created equal. While transforming a bathroom into a spa-like space may sound appealing, the cost may not pay for itself when it comes time to sell. Replacing gutters or fixing a leaky roof, on the other hand, is more likely to increase a home’s value.

As housing prices continue to increase, now is the perfect time to invest in your home’s infrastructure. Prioritizing home improvement ROI could increase your home’s value even more so, which begs the question: how can homeowners be sure their home improvements are worth the investment?

Bathroom Remodel 

There are essentially two types of rooms that sell houses: kitchens and bathrooms. As it turns out, however, the greatest home improvement ROI coincides with remodeling the bathrooms. Instead of initiating a little project in each room, conducting a minor bathroom remodel may be better. There’s no need to gut the whole room, but giving each bathroom an updated look could go a long way. Try replacing the showerhead with a rain shower; it’s a feature most homebuyers will appreciate. Also, try replacing the vanity, as nobody wants to feel like they are using someone else’s old bathroom. At the same time, try updating the lighting to make things brighter.

Kitchen Remodel 

Many homebuyers are looking for move-in-ready homes with an upgraded kitchen already in place—and they’re willing to pay for it. This is why, among home remodeling projects, mid-range kitchen renovations offer one of the highest ROIs when it comes to remodeling. 

kitchen remodel

First, put the time and effort into procuring key materials such as your stone countertops or new cabinets—from wholesale or specially priced sources. Talk to your contractor: they may be able to secure contractor-only pricing. Or even save you money by adding your materials to a pre-existing bulk order.

For obvious reasons, the countertops and cabinets are the keys to any successful remodel. They’re also the most expensive elements of the project. However, many of the “finishing touches”—the things that make the kitchen feel like a vibrant, usable space—are relatively inexpensive. You can boost the value of your kitchen remodel by adding the right lights, backsplash, fixtures, sink, and more.

Window Replacement 

Outside of a fresh coat of paint, a new entry door, and perhaps a patio door replacement, nothing can make a home’s exterior look better than a brand new set of windows. The clean lines of new windows can very easily make a home look better from both the inside and outside. Additionally, new windows should be a lot more energy-efficient. Proper windows could save new homeowners a lot of money on energy bills, which is always appreciated. Milgard windows in San Diego come in many styles, from modern to traditional, and offer some of the highest energy-efficient products on the market.  

Master Bedroom 

With the kitchen remodel complete, turn your attention to the master bathroom. Renovations here also have a relatively high average ROI: 70.1%. Just as in the kitchen, your goal should be to maximize your value and minimize your upfront investment. All while getting a high-quality result. It’s a tightrope act, but you can do it.

One of the biggest drivers of cost in a master bathroom remodel is floorplan changes. Moving things around is typically very expensive since it means rerouting pipes and electrical wiring. Unlike the kitchen, where the “open kitchen” concept has become trendy, most homebuyers don’t care about the master bathroom’s layout as much as they do about the look and features.

Instead, invest in upgrading everything inside the bathroom. Think about the elements of the bathroom that are most important to you. Focus on practicality over luxury: while most homebuyers would admire a new bathtub with built-in massage jets, they really need a high-quality shower they’ll use daily. If you want to limit your costs and maximize your return, choose tile flooring, a bathroom vanity, and a shower door that will stand up to everyday use. After all, while you want the bathroom to look great when you’re done, it’s still a part of the home you live in.

Every Home is Different 

Because your home will never be the same as anyone else's, you must get assistance from an experienced real estate specialist. Real estate transactions are almost always about the bottom line. A professional real estate agent's knowledge of the local market and access to home listings and sales data helps him recommend realistic prices to both buyers and sellers. An experienced agent also will be familiar with market trends over a long period of time. 

patio door replacement

Although the decision about how much to offer or how much to accept ultimately lies with the consumer, your agent's advice helps to ensure that the deal you make is a fair one. They'll be able to accurately estimate your current home value and tell you which home improvements are worth doing and which ones aren't based on your specific situation. Furthermore, real estate agents have resources and contractors in their network who can help you with your home remodeling project. They can perhaps provide special pricing on them and offer a wealth of knowledge to help you in your home remodeling process. 

Start with Older Elements 

Be sure to work on your doors, windows, and sidings first since these are probably the oldest parts of your home. If you have an old home or plan to buy one, knowing what elements to remodel is crucial. 

Always access the basic needs of a property and look for potential issues such as: 

  • Damaged or rotten roof structures and roof leaks
  • Basement leaks and cracks or warping in the foundation structure
  • Old, inefficient, or broken heating and cooling equipment
  • Wiring that isn’t up to code
  • Old plumbing (low water pressure, corrosion, and leaks)
  • Toxic or dangerous materials like asbestos that will require professional removal
  • Old windows and poor insulation

It’s a good idea to have a pre-purchase inspection done on a property so that you can comfortably budget for these repairs. Your home remodels architect can also view the property with you and see if it does have the potential you’re looking for at a cost that fits within your budget. 

Steer Clear of Glamour 

Instead of adding a pool in the backyard, assess the other areas of your home that needs attention, such as the insulation or your HVAC system. Consider these essential elements you should remodel before you even think about adding any glamour, such as a backyard pool. 


Roofing is the most integral part of your home. You are expected to deal with it accordingly. When it comes to the roofing process, it could be mansard roofing, jerkinhead roofing, flat, or any other kind of roofing; you are supposed to get along with it keeping in view the installation process requirements. Because a minor loophole in the installation process can cause severe damage, it's best to avoid it. 

Exterior Design 

The exterior is part of your home that reflects the best outlook of your home. In order to maintain that frontage, there are certain things to consider. Painting is the most integral part of the structure of your home exterior. Give it an appealing painting that would give an explicating frontage to your home. Also, consider window and door replacement to have these elements match the style of your home. 

exterior space house remodel

Interior Design 

The interior of your home is responsible for giving you the exposure of your home that you are expecting utmost. There is no harm in expecting a highly luxurious and sophisticated interior of your home. All you need to do is to materialize that expectancy in the best way possible. For that, you are going to need a professional interior remodeling service. Go for a service that serves your interest well.

Choose US Window and Door to Improve Your Home Value 

Whether you’re remodeling your home to improve your living conditions or want to improve on the investment of your home, there are not many improvements that provide a better ROI than replacing your windows and doors

They improve the overall design, functionality, and insulation of your home, making it more attractive to suitors in the market. If you’re considering remodeling your home, follow the above tips to ensure you’re choosing the right projects for your home. 

Schedule a free in-home estimate* and let us help you replace and install new energy-efficient windows and doors.