Should I Renovate My Kitchen and Bath For Resale? Part 2

    Kitchens and baths are prime spaces when it comes to renovation projects. Sometimes the need is obvious. You purchase a home with an outdated kitchen that will never meet your needs or expectations. So you renovate. No question. Getting the kitchen the way you want it is an important step in making a house a home.

    But sometimes the question of renovation is more complicated. One frequently asked question when it comes to kitchen and bath renovations: How will this affect resale value? In part one we looked at two factors: desirability and value. An updated kitchen and bath absolutely do make a positive impact on the desirability of your home. And these kinds of renovations, when done well, can add to the asking price of a home when it comes time to sell.

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    Here in part two, we will look at timing—when is the right time to renovate—as well as the potential scope of your renovation project: 

    • When should you renovate? 
    • When does a renovation lose its cache as a selling point? 
    • Should you focus on one project, or get more renovation done before the dust settles? 

    These are important questions to consider as you ponder a kitchen or bath renovation.

    Is this Renovation Going to Matter at Resale?

    If you invest in a kitchen remodel, what is the lifespan of that kitchen? In other words, at what point will it no longer contribute to resale as a “newly” renovated kitchen? If you need a new kitchen, as we led with, there is no question. But if you are on the fence, the question of timing is a good one.


    You might not have plans right now to move, but anything can happen. People tend to live in the same home for approximately  9 or 10 years. If you plan on living in your home for at least another 3 to 5 years, renovating the kitchen will be well worth it when it comes to resale. You will have the use of that updated space, with all the new appliances and features that you want, and it will show very well when it comes time to sell. 

    Theo-AdamsteinTheo Adamstein of TTR Sotheby’s observes, “If one remodels a kitchen and it's absolutely the newest appliances, the newest look, the newest everything—well then you're guaranteed that everybody walking into the house is going to be thrilled that it has a brand new kitchen.”

    As a kitchen age approaches the 10-year mark, the question gets more personal. If a renovation will enhance the life you are building in that home, renovation makes perfect sense. Just don’t expect to make “renovated kitchen” a feature in a listing of your home 10 or more years after renovation.

    02 web chevy chase kitchen remodel

    While We’re At It

    Renovation, especially of a kitchen or master bath, creates a major disruption to the normal patterns of life. So while you’re in a state of disruption, are there any other projects on your renovation wish list? This might be the ideal time to tackle those projects as well. 

    There is an efficiency in doing a multi-part renovation as one large project. While the cost of the overall project will be more than if you are just tackling a kitchen or one bathroom, it is definitely more time and cost-efficient to take care of several projects at once. The muss and fuss will be once and done, rather than multiple disruptions to your life.


    Let’s break that down a bit further. For every project there costs related to general conditions. There are set-up costs including things like permits, property protection (dust barriers and floor coverings) clean up and hauling, job supervision, subcontractor minimums. The list goes on.

    Here’s how the multi-project efficiency can make a difference. For example, if you're doing a bathroom at the same time you are doing the kitchen, you can run electric and plumbing lines up to the second floor for the bathroom all in one visit, instead of having subcontractors come out multiple times and charge for that. So especially for larger-scale projects, it can make a lot of sense to take care of everything at once.

    The Case for Existing Space

    It sounds obvious but bears mention: a renovation that stays within the existing structure of a home will be much less complicated and costs less than one that involves pouring a new foundation and adding an addition onto a home. 

    If space simply will not allow for the renovation to create the ideal kitchen or master bath, then definitely go ahead with adding space. If your home is small to begin with, adding space may be your only option. 

    But if you are starting with a four-bedroom house, there is an opportunity to use the existing structure. You could repurpose some of that space for a nice master bathroom and closets. That's a reasonable trade-off if you think about a future buyer. Three bedrooms and a beautiful master bathroom beat four bedrooms and one high-traffic hall bath with no master bathroom. 

    Decisions, Decisions

    The decision to renovate is personal. And yet it will affect the home-owners who come after you. So considerations about kitchen and bath renovations inevitably will involve questions about resale. With the right information in hand, you can make the renovation decision at the right time for you and your family. 

    To learn more about the process, consider scheduling a Kitchen Design Discovery session with the experts at Gilday. 

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