Home Kitchen

HGTV Home Improvement Lessons "More for your money" Part 1 of 2

Have you seen the new HGTV show called “Bang for your Buck”? The goal is for two experts, a real estate agent and a designer, to compare three renovations of the same space, within the same city, all with the same budget, to see who got the most out of their investment. By chance I saw the one that just aired, which compared three $ 65,000 kitchen renovations in the city of Phoenix, Arizona. Given that my husband and I underwent a major kitchen renovation just 3 years ago and nearly double the national average, this story was particularly interesting to me.

I LOVED the first renovation. It was beautiful! In fact, his kitchen reminded me a lot of mine. They went with dark walnut cabinets, contrasting white quartz countertops, dark wood floors (much wanted, but too practical to get), and high-end stainless steel appliances. They sacrificed a kitchen-diner space for a bar that offered more storage space and better suited their lifestyle. At first glance, you won’t see anything wrong with this until you start to assess where the house was located, etc.

EXPERTS: This is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath mid-level home with a great “wow”; they greatly improved for the neighborhood.

HOMEOWNERS: There is no such thing as over-improvement. We don’t want to spend as much as everyone else because when it comes time to sell, our home remains the same as everyone else’s.

ALICE: In real estate, there is excessive improvement, “YES” your ultimate goal is to get back all the money you invested in selling the house. Spending the same amount as everyone else does NOT necessarily mean that you will get the same results. Obviously, these 3 reforms are a perfect example. They each spent $ 65,000 and got completely different results. This couple has great taste and even if they spent 50% less, in all likelihood they would have achieved fabulous results. They could definitely have achieved a similar look for less.

EXPERTS: Removing the eat-in kitchen from a bar was not a good idea.

OWNERS: They didn’t need two spaces to eat; They wanted more storage space and a bar for entertaining.

ALICE: I agree that not having a eat-in kitchen could hurt them when it comes to reselling because, judging by the specs, it looks like a beginner-friendly family neighborhood and not having a eat-in kitchen would not be suitable for families with children. Because they are a young couple without children, they have not considered it a problem. Ultimately, since the house is so beautiful, I think buyers would forgive it and just make the necessary adjustments.

EXPERTS: The glass mosaic backsplash was a bit of a concern, too much of a compromise.

OWNERS: That was our personality. People worry too much about neutrality and forget about their personal lifestyle. If you are going to live in a house for 5 years, make it yours.

ALICE: I agree with the owners. Sometimes neutral is taken so literally and to the extreme that you end up with a box of vanilla = BORING! My own glass mosaic tile backsplash gets compliments all the time.

EXPERTS: The stainless steel appliances – built in refrigerator and oven were all top of the line; They have the best cuisine in the neighborhood, but people won’t want to pay for it.

HOWEVER: This is how we want to live in our kitchen. That’s what worked for us. We know we spent more, but that’s what we wanted and it was our waste.

ALICE: I totally agree with the owners again. I also created my “dream” kitchen to some degree, knowing that it is the best kitchen in the neighborhood. Will we recoup our investment? In this market, NO. When the market went up, YES. In time, MAYBE. Regardless, this is what I wanted and I wouldn’t have been content with less. In that, he was already cutting back to try to keep the budget as low as possible. My most regret is not spending the money on heated floors. Trust me, during the colder months my husband and I kick each other every day! Again, as long as the owners agree to have spent more for personal enjoyment and not necessarily for resale value, they will be fine.

LESSONS LEARNED: Don’t over-enhance your area. Consider using alternative materials to save money, but don’t sacrifice your own wishes and desires for the sake of reselling. You should personalize your home to suit your lifestyle and taste, provided you understand that you may not get all the money you spend, and that some extreme customizations need to be changed when it comes time to sell.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I address the lessons learned from the other two renovations.