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Remodeling an Older Home: Is It Worth It?

Published March 27, 2021
Updated: January 19, 2023
Est. Reading: 4 minutes

The first question home buyers ask themselves when looking at purchasing an older home is: Would the work we need to put into this be worth the money and trouble in the end? 

Old homes come with history and interesting features. They are often the cheaper option, too, which makes them particularly appealing. 

However, whether the home in question is fifty years old or two hundred years old, it is likely to come with plenty of challenges. That salmon-colored bathtub has to go, and the kitchen tile is atrocious. There could also be more serious issues like old wiring and wood rot.

Current homeowners living in an older home may face the same dilemma. Should they call this older home a starter home and move, or should they put in a massive amount of work to make it a forever home? Moving isn’t easy, but is it easier (and more affordable) then staying put?

There are many factors to consider when thinking of the term “worth.” Is it worth the money, of course, but also is it worth the time and stress?

Is remodeling an older home worth the monetary investment?

There are certain things that are almost guaranteed to come with an older home. These include unique details and sturdy building materials. You are also likely to get outdated plumbing and electrical, as well as problems like lead and asbestos. 

Before you get too attached to a property, make sure you do your research. Get the home inspected so you know exactly what you’re getting into. Solicit several estimates for the cost of repairs and renovations so you can be sure you are getting the best deal. 

This does not necessarily mean it will be the cheapest deal. After all, you get what you pay for.

Other questions to consider are: What are your plans for the future? Is this your dream house? Do you want to live there forever? 

If you know you will want to sell later and need to make a profit, or at least break even, you’ll have to be more careful with the choices you make. The remodel should reflect the tastes of a potential buyer rather than your own.

If you want to stay forever, it might make sense to invest more in order to reflect your personal style.

Tips on making sure you get your money’s worth:

  • DIY: If you’re really good at painting walls or laying floors, this can be a good way to save money. Even if you aren’t handy, small jobs like ripping up old carpet and demolishing cabinets can make a difference in the final cost.

However, it is best not to take on a project unless you are 100% confident in your abilities. Hiring an expert to make sure the job is done right the first time may be cheaper in the end.

  • Consider ROI: The kitchen and bathrooms are the most popular areas to remodel because they are the quickest areas to become outdated. Thus, they are the areas where you can see the greatest return on investment. These are also the areas where you need to be the most aware of whether you are making a change for yourself or for potential buyers.

When looking to please buyers, it is best to keep updates small. Make minor changes in the kitchen that have a major impact, like upgrading the faucets and cabinets. Choose large, mid-range bathroom fixtures that catch a buyer’s eye without breaking the bank.

  • Choose the right contractor: Pick a contractor with an excellent reputation. Check online reviews and references. Meet several representatives in person and compare quotes and assessments. Make sure you choose one that has experience with remodeling older homes. 

As with DIY, if you go for the cheapest contractor over the best contractor, you may wind up spending more to repair the remodel later on.

Is remodeling an older home worth the emotional investment? 

If you are on the fence about remodeling an older home, it may be time to look at how a remodel could affect your daily life and relationships. Living in constant chaos, no matter how careful the builders are, may very well cause some tension. Knowing where to start a home renovation can be difficult on any home.

If you are buying an older home and plan to finish the remodel before you move in, you may dodge the issue of living in a work zone and dealing with changes to your daily routine. 

However, there are some issues that are universal during any type of remodeling job, such as:

  • Unexpected costs – It is very common to find problems that couldn’t be seen during the original inspection.
  • Extended timelines – With unexpected issues comes a longer construction timeline.
  • Where to live – If you currently live in the home, do you stay there? If you’re waiting to move in until after the remodel is finished, can you find a short-term solution?

The seemingly endless mess, clutter, and to-do list can quickly become overwhelming even if you’ve hired someone else to do the work. Renovation and remodeling depression are common but not often discussed.

You can take steps to protect your personal space and relationships. Things like creating a relaxation zone and being firm about the daily work schedule can make a big difference.  

So is remodeling an old home worth the time, trouble, and money? 

We believe that with the right people by your side, it is. By choosing a remodeling company that is reliable, experienced, and trustworthy, you will cut back on the stress and cost significantly. 

A company like Reborn Renovations has this type of project covered from start to finish. Through the design process, permit obtainment, construction, and finishing touches, Calgary homeowners have come to rely on our company for all kinds of home renovation and remodeling projects. 

We have an extensive background in older home renovations in Calgary. Keeping the process affordable and stress-free for homeowners is a point of pride. 

Are you interested in collaborating with Reborn Renovations on your old home remodeling project? Get in touch today!

Photo: Pexels

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