(Closed) Starter Home vs Dream Home, where do you draw the line?

posted 6 years ago in Home
  • poll: Would you completely remodel a starter home?
    No, that's why it is called a starter home! You'll appreciate the dream home more! : (5 votes)
    7 %
    Heck Yea, why stare at some hideous countertops for 10 years? : (12 votes)
    16 %
    Yes, but focus on your finances first. You dont have to remodel right away. : (56 votes)
    77 %
    Other (plz comment!) : (0 votes)
  • Post # 3
    7311 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

    Well if you want to re-sell or rent it in the future, those upgrades will need to be done. In 7-10 years (so 2019-2022) will someone really want a kitchen and bathrooms that are 19-22 years old. Will those really be selling features? Or will you take a bigger loss because they are so outdated? I think it may be worth it to do modest upgrades, like painting the cabinets instead of replacing them with Cherry, or adding frames to the existing builder grade mirrors instead of replacing them entirely. Think about making cost efficient changes, not full scale renovations.

    Post # 4
    1482 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2010

    I think you have some time to wait before you start thinking about renovating. Since you’re planning on living there for awhile, I would just hold off for now. As long as things are in good repair, you can live with pink tile and cabinets you don’t like. 🙂

    I would then consider what is most in need of a renovation, and start there. There are little things you can do now, too; paint, replace the mirror with a large, framed one from Home Goods, or the vanity in the bathroom (home depot has pretty resonably priced pre-fab ones), replace light fixtures, etc. The kitchen is going to be your big ticket renovation, so I would save up for that for a few years. You can even think about taking out a line of credit on your house to pay for the renovation- we did this, as well as my parents when they did a big renovation recently.

    I would never, ever paint your cabinets. I know that on all the trendy home, DIY tv shows they do this, but I think this would deter some potential home owners. 

    Post # 5
    3943 posts
    Honey bee

    Wait a while. We have been in our house for 2 years and we just recently got around to remodeling the bathroom. We still need to do the kitchen and hopefully will in the next year or two.

    You also want to look around the neighborhood. If you have the nicest house in the neighborhood, will you get all that money back when you resell?

    Just enjoy your home for the time being. Even the nicest houses are never ending money pits!!

    Post # 6
    11234 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2013

    I agree with everything lovekiss said.

    Post # 7
    13099 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: July 2010

    Sure – I’d do some remodelling.  But you don’t have to jump into it right away.  Plus, living in the home for a bit can give you a better idea of where the priorities need to be and what you want to ultimately do to the space.

    Post # 8
    106 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: October 2012

    I have no idea how much you paid, just don’t over improve for the neighborhood. We bought our “starter” house 9 months ago.  We have done plenty of changes including re-doing our master bath.  The kitchen was supposed to be this year, but it’s a wedding instead! Could you maybe make small changes?  Like, just do counterops and flooring in the kitchen.  Keep the cabinets if they are in good condition. I have those light oak cabinets as well, but some murphy’s oil soap and a polish with stain in it really brightened them up.

    Post # 9
    154 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: April 2012

    @HisWifey2012:  If you do it right, any remodels on bathrooms and kitchens will increase your value to more than the cost of your remodel!

    Besides as a PP stated, in 7-10 years it will be even more outdated.

    Post # 10
    1333 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    Couple of things come to mind:

    1) Always do what is best for your finances, first and foremost. Renovations can get costly quickly, and some end up in over their heads.

    2) If you definitely plan to re-sell, I would think about what *needs* to be done, in which you get the best bang for your buck.  Sometimes putting money into renovations will not get you a good return, sadly. For example, granite countertops…in some areas, will end up costing you more than buyers would pay for such an amazing upgrade 🙂

    3) My SO and I are currently renovating his unfinished basement.  It was a choice between that, the kitchen (which is functional) and the bathroom (which is not too bad!).  We picked the basement, bc although we  have plans to move in 5-7 years, my fear was as follows: a) we would not actually be able to move for whatever reason (my parents lived in their ‘starter’ home for over 20+ years), and b) hypothetically, we MAY have a child or 2 before we do move, and so extra living space was more important to me while we have the money to do such a large renovation!!

    This may or may not help, but certainly, look at your area and its returns…work within your budget, and of course what makes the most sense 🙂  Good luck!

    Post # 11
    4275 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: April 2012

    You should remodel to add value to your home, but like a PP said, do not over improve for the neighborhood. Make some small upgrades. By The Way, your home sounds amazing. I wouldn’t want to leave for awhile….

    Post # 12
    18643 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2009

    I would work on some renovations (kitchen is usually the one that nets the most money) but really focus on saving now.  You have time on your side which is the best factor for savings.

    Post # 13
    6597 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2010

    You are there for a long time so really I would wait before you set into remodeling. 


    From my experience, when you first move into the house you have all these grand ideas but as you get settled in you see what you NEED to do and what does not need to be done.

    I would also focus on the areas that get you a good return when selling, ie. the kitchen and the bathrooms. Surprisingly, you will probably not get a return on your investment for re-doing the floors! Just something to keep in mind!

    Post # 14
    351 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 1999

    I agree with previous posters about not over-improving for your neighborhood if you know you might sell, but definitely do what you think might be absolutely necessary in order to sell.  That said, I think your estimate of the cost of a kitchen remodel may be a little optimistic, depending on the size of your kitchen.  New cabinets and appliances really add up fast, even if you aren’t doing top of the line counters.  You’re better off staining yours darker or painting if they are in good condition.  Sounds like the bathroom may be the best place to start.

    Post # 15
    2106 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    I highly recommend watching some free episodes of HGTV’s Bang for your Buck http://www.hgtv.com/bang-for-your-buck/show/index.html  Different areas have different returns on renovations.  Hot ticket areas do include kitchens and bathrooms.  However, as previous bee’s said, finances first.  Save up to do these improvements- don’t go into debt over countertops that you don’t NEED right now.  Research your area as well in terms of value of homes, renting rates, and common styles.  So, since you live in Baltimore, how you renovate the kitchen of a row-house in Mt Vernon would be very different from how you’d renovate a cape cod in Brooklyn, MD. 

    Also, realise that a 3 BR is a dream home for a lot of people.  Keep up with home trends because your next buyer may be looking for ‘the whole package’ of modern ammenities. 

    Have fun looking at renovation ideas!

    Post # 16
    3772 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: October 2012

    I think you should stick with the basics for now. Like paint, maybe replacing the floors slowly from vinyl and carpet to tile and hardwood, with the bathroom slowly updating it to classic fixtures that won’t date the house. But definitely don’t over do it. If the bathroom is useable and just needs cosmetic fixes DO NOT GUT IT!!! As for the kitchen try refinishing the cabinets if they’re that horrible and maybe look for a cheaper alternative than granite for the countertops

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