Improving Home Values in Austin: What’s Your Remodel Worth?

If you didn’t already know, the Texas real estate market is booming, drawing new residents from overseas and from across the U.S., and according to the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR), home prices have hit an all-time high. And as more people continue to relocate to South-Central Texas, home prices will keep rising, fueled by the areas job and population growth.


Spruce Up Your Kitchen

The kitchen more than any other room, sells a home. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on a new kitchen before listing your home. Yes, it’s true that today’s homebuyers are more discerning than ever, in fact, a modern, updated kitchen is at the top of today’s home buyer’s must-have!
But is it financially feasible to remodel your kitchen? The answer comes down to cost versus value, and how much remodeling you plan on doing. Keep in mind there are several factors that will determine the cost of your kitchen remodel, including the size and shape of the room and the quality of materials you use.
Remodeling experts say if you do remodel your kitchen you can expect to increase the value of your home by 3% to 7% when selling your home. For example, if your Austin home is worth $350,000 you could possibly net anywhere from $367,500, a total gain of $17,500 (3%), to $374,500, a total gain of $24,500 (7%).
The average cost for a major kitchen renovation is $51,000. For all the money you spend, you’ll roughly get an 84 percent return on your investment. A minor kitchen renovation isn’t as extensive. It could involve new paint, new counters, adding appliances and refacing the cabinets, but the layout stays the same. And you can still expect to pay around $17,438 for a minor kitchen remodel, but you would get back roughly a 95 percent return.
Keep in mind, around 75% of your kitchen remodeling costs will be associated with material so any savings you try and recoup in this area will go a long way to keeping your renovation budget down. Of the major material items, your kitchen cabinets will cost the most at about a third of your material budget. After cabinets, countertops and appliances come in second and third in terms of price.


Freshen Up Your Bathroom(s)

If you’re looking to sell right away, there are several larger upgrades you could do that don’t cost a fortune, given the small dimensions of many bathrooms. For example, you might paint, add a new floor and vanity countertop for less than $1,000, especially if you use inexpensive vinyl. Adding a new toilet is also a smart upgrade because it can improve the look of the bathroom, while also making your home more water-efficient.

The average bathroom remodel costs $9,313, but you can spend a lot less between $500 to $1,000 - to fix up the essentials in a bathroom. On the other end of the spectrum, you could spend more than $20,000 turning your master bathroom into a spa-like oasis.

Keep in mind, it doesn’t necessarily mean the more you spend on a remodel, the more you will gain in value. A minor bathroom remodel could have the potential of return on your investment of 2% to 3%. Again, cost versus value comes into play and needs to be taken into consideration before you spend a dime on upgrading your bathroom(s).


Why Cost Versus Value Matters

There are also other factors that vary from house to house and sale to sale, such as what updates are typical for the neighborhood, the quality of the work, and how important the improvement is to a buyer. A home’s setting also affects its value, as does the availability and cost of new and existing homes in the immediate vicinity.


Making Home Improvements Pay

However, having updates can also be the determining factor between your home and a competing home on the market. So, if you want to increase the value of your property with enough time to enjoy those improvements while increasing your odds of being the home picked for contract, then improvements are a good idea. For the latest information on the value of remodeling, check out the new Remodeling Impact Report from NAR and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.


Love It or List It?

So, if you’re thinking of selling your Austin home and doing a remodel before you sell, make sure you put pencil to paper and figure out the cost versus value. Not all kitchen and bath remodels are worth their weight in gold. Ask any Realtor and they’ll tell you that to make money, you need to spend money, wisely, especially when it comes to remodeling and adding value to your home, with the hopes of selling it for top dollar.



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Chesley is the head of marketing at Rise. She loves Campbell's soup, her daughter, and playing gin rummy while drinking tea. Despite how old she sounds, she is still in her twenties. You can usually find her in Austin killing it at game night.