Will Your Remodel Pay Off? The Best (and Worst) Ways to Spend Your Budget

August 12, 2019

Real Estate

Will Your Remodel Pay Off? The Best (and Worst) Ways to Spend Your Budget

Most new homeowners in Mammoth Lakes have something about their property they’d like to change. And as trends shift over time, many will eventually remodel their homes, whether it’s for their own enjoyment or in preparation to sell.

Whatever your reason for taking on a home renovation project, you’ll want to consider how your investment will impact your home’s value. Use this list to determine what home renovation projects to take on and which ones to skip.

Home Renovations That Pay Off

These three common home improvement projects add function and style to your home, but they also have a strong return on investment so you can increase your home’s value.

Remodeling Your Kitchen

The kitchen is truly the heart of the home. Even in homes with a formal dining room, the kitchen is often where most of the eating takes place, and it’s a beloved spot in any family home for homework, kids’ art projects and chats over coffee. Because we spend so much time in our kitchens, it makes sense to think of this renovation project first, especially if the upgrades will better suit your needs as a homeowner. And if your Mammoth Lakes home is a vacation rental, a nice kitchen may be important to your renters.

One thing to keep in mind is that going overboard doesn’t tend to pay off. If you spend a ton of money on custom or high-end selections, you’re less likely to recoup your investment. Consider painting cabinets instead of replacing them, updating countertops with quartz, and replacing old light fixtures with more modern ones. Replacing outdated appliances with more energy-efficient models is another great investment.

The average cost for a minor kitchen remodel in the western US is about $25,000, and it’s likely to recoup nearly $22,000 at resale.

Giving Your Deck Some TLC

deck and wall on a sunny day with shadows

If you own a single family home in Mammoth Lakes, adding a wood deck is a great way to enhance the outdoor space on your property. In our short but beautiful summer season, it can be the perfect place for grilling, dining alfresco and entertaining.

Even if you own a condo, consider spending a bit of time and money keeping your deck in good shape. Refinishing wood or replacing the boards will make your home more appealing – for you and for buyers down the line. With Mammoth’s harsh winters, keeping your deck in good shape is a recurring project, but it must be done.

When redoing or adding a deck, consider a composite material that doesn’t require the sanding and staining that a wood deck needs. Adding on a composite deck is more expensive, but the return on investment is still about 84%, so you can save money in the long run if you would be spending money maintaining your wood deck over the years.

Replacing Siding

This home renovation project is worth considering for single family homeowners in Mammoth Lakes. Curb appeal is important for potential future buyers, and while it’s not the most fun way to spend your remodeling budget, new siding can make a big impression on buyers and on your selling price. The condition of siding on your house can also give buyers an impression of how well the property has been maintained. Worn, peeling or rotted siding can be a major red flag for buyers.

Replacing siding will net you an average 84% return on investment. For even more bang for your buck, consider replacing part of your siding with a manufactured stone veneer. This can give your home a boost in visual appeal, and this update may deliver a full return on your investment.

Home Renovations That DON’T Pay Off

You’ve probably seen friends do all of these remodel projects hoping they’ll give them a great return on investment when it’s time to sell. Unfortunately, these renovation projects may improve your quality of life, but they probably aren’t going to come back to you financially.

Remodeling Your Kitchen (Upscale)

upscale white modern kitchen

It’s tempting to go all out when considering a renovation, especially in the kitchen. From custom cabinetry to high-end appliances, or a full layout change, the possibilities are endless… as is the cost. A major upscale kitchen remodel with designer features can cost upwards of $140,000. And even a major mid-range kitchen remodel might get you just 68% return on investment at resale.

If your heart is set on a custom kitchen and you have the budget to make it happen, go for it. Your enjoyment of your home is important too. But don’t spring for the renovation in hopes of matching your spend when you sell.

Remodeling Your Bathroom (Upscale)

Are you sensing a trend? The more upscale and customized the updates, the less likely they’ll bring a comparable increase in sale price when the time comes. A modest bathroom remodel or update is always a good idea, especially in Mammoth Lakes where many condos and houses feature 1970s original bathrooms. Just be careful not to get carried away.

An upscale bathroom remodel can cost upwards of $70,000 but will only return about two-thirds on your investment. Consider making changes in bathrooms that improve the look and aren’t too expensive instead. Think a fresh coat of paint, updating light fixtures, faucets and towel racks, and redoing caulk and grout around the tub and sink.

Adding a Master Suite

Many condos and houses were built in the 1970s in Mammoth Lakes, and in that time master suites weren’t so common. Yet today’s homebuyers often expect to see a master suite when they’re shopping around.

Unfortunately, a master suite addition has one of the lowest returns of any remodeling project. Adding a bathroom, and maybe closets or a sitting area, can have a $150,000+ price tag, yet most sellers will only get about half or two-thirds of that back at resale. But like the other renovation projects on this list, your happiness in your home matters a lot. Especially for people who are aging, adding a master suite can be well worth it for quality of life.

It’s always wise to go into a remodeling project knowing how it might impact your home’s value. In most cases, highly customized upgrades are less likely to offer a high rate of return, especially in Mammoth Lakes, where buyers may be looking for a second home or a vacation rental. That said, home renovations that improve your quality of life or that of your renters may be worth it regardless of the cost.


See more of my tips for Mammoth Lakes homeowners and feel free to contact me with questions.


If you liked this post, you might also like:

Let's Talk

You’ve got questions and we can’t wait to answer them.

Follow Us on Instagram