This is probably not the most brilliant minimalist tip I have posted about. The thing is… we run a remodeling company. It is small, and work in this economy is slow, but it feeds the children.
… however lots of the services we provide aren’t really all that great. Sure, my husband is very skilled, honest, and quick which makes most of our business repeat business and referrals. …still most remodeling is unnecessary.
I don’t mean to make it out to sound harsh. I just wanted to talk a bit about the remodeling itch. The remodeling itch is when you are always wanting to fix up your house. Sometimes things need fixed. Safety issues, water issues, or similar issues need to be fixed. However, new decorating ideas and lots of HGTV ideas are not the same.
The thing is that as humans (especially in such a materialist society) we are always ‘itching’ for something better, newer, shinier, or bigger. Is it that we have a constantly stressed out and emotionally uncomfortable state and we look for something to change, to better our situation, or to distract us?
In the past the remodeling itch has been praised as an investment. “Don’t spend money on bigger TV’s or fancier cloths, instead invest in your house and reap the rewards later” has been preached.
Well, remodeling things that aren’t safety issues or things that aren’t broken is still a contentment thing. Minimalism tries to fight against that by learning to be content with what you have. There are two groups of people in life – those who are content and those who aren’t. Those who are content don’t have everything and aren’t necessarily rich. Those who aren’t content will not be content no matter how much they get. Remodeling has never and will never move you from one group to the other.
Beyond the contentment issues, remodeling is not financially smart. Back when construction and home prices were booming there was some remodeling which increased the price of the house more than the cost of the work. This probably did make financial sense IF the owner was remodeling and then selling right away.
However, now the highest payback of any remodel is less than 80%. It is not an investment to spend $20,000 if the best case return is to get $16,000 value back … or at worst case less than $10,000. source 1, source 2
It has been said that a new car looses 20% of its value when it is driven off the lot… now home remodeling …at best case is like buying a new car. Ouch right?
Now, there is one time when the remodeling itch might make financial sense.
If you are making the decision to remodel or move. Moving is even more expensive and remodeling might be less of a financial blow. …read, less of a financial blow … not financial sense.
Think of these costs of moving
- Selling your house at 7% commission on a 150,000 house (less than the nation average) = 10,700
- Closing costs on a new house = $3000 (low estimate)
- Moving costs = Couple hundred if you rent your own truck and do all the work to thousands if you have a company move you
- Time off work
- Time packing and unpacking – how much is your time worth? … this is a lot of time
- Additional furnishings and decorations for the new change
- Costs to start and stop services
Total anywhere from 15,000 +
So, if it is remodeling or moving than it might be worth looking at remodeling… but neither is usually an investment in this economy.
Beyond cost there is the time. How much time is lost:
- Dreaming of change
- Shopping for change
- Saving for change
- Talking about change
- Changing ‘change’ plans
- Frustrated when ‘change’ doesn’t happen as planned
…especially if the next projects dreaming is starting after the last project gets completed. This steals time from living.
Now, I have been talking about big remodeling projects. Upkeep and regular maintenance is important on a house. It is just part of the cost of owning a house. Things you can do on your own for minimal cost like painting or other projects can make financial sense… just don’t get in the time trap of changing up things all the time.
I have lots of personal experience with this topic. I would love to say that I am in the ‘contented’ group, but I have a long history of losing the battle to the remodeling itch. The remodeling itch is one reason we live in an apartment. Changing location to remove temptation 🙂
I totally don’t want to tell anyone what to do with their house or their money. I just wanted to throw this post out to help if you are struggling with finding time for life. Last weekend (in the USA) was the Memorial Day holiday. It was probably the first Memorial Day we didn’t have a house project we were working on. It was lovely 🙂