Jean Groesbeck & Associates

Main Content

To remodel or to renovate: What to do with your house before selling

Woman thinking about wether to renovate or remodel her home before selling

Selling your house for top dollar is possible, especially if in the duration of your ownership, you have properly maintained it and kept fixtures and amenities in optimal function. But there still are ways to boost its value even further before resale – through remodeling or renovating.

Remodeling or renovating are great home improvement projects to undertake, whether you’ve been using your home as your primary residence or a vacation rental, or you’re into flipping homes. However, there are tendencies to get confused between the two. Plus, there’s also the dilemma faced by some people who plan to embark on a home-selling journey: Which is the better project to do?

The Groesbeck Group sheds light on remodeling and renovation to allow home sellers to make the right choice, especially if they are selling a house in Washington State.

What is remodeling?

Remodeling involves changing the structure and layout of a house. Due to the large-scale changes to be made, remodeling will require investing a sizable amount of your finances. You will also need to acquire special permits and hire professionals like architects, carpenters, plumbers, and electricians for the job.

Note, though, that not all house remodels need a permit. enumerated several standard remodeling projects that require permits and those that may not:

  • Required

    • Wall demolition or changing layout
    • Changing roofline
    • Installing new electrical wiring
    • Adding decks or fences
    • Sewer remodels
    • Building an additional living space within your property
  • May not be required

    • Replacing countertops or appliances
    • Updating kitchen or bath fixtures – but moving a sink may require a permit as this involves installing new plumbing and drain lines
    • Replacing/fixing roofing with the same material
    • Installing new flooring
    • Building a shed or workshop

Your best source for finding out whether a house remodeling project you plan to engage in needs permits or not is by getting in touch with your local permitting office. In Skagit County, for example, the Planning and Development Services branch of the local government notes that no permits are required for replacement, addition, and remodels of single-family homes and residential accessory structures (e.g., workshops and garages) here. However, there are special rules for homes in specific NRL (natural resource lands) zones.

What is renovating?

Renovations involve making improvements to the house on a smaller scale. The house gets a fresh makeover even if it’s still essentially the same living space. Most renovations, you can do by yourself. And even if DIY-ed, you can still rake in a handsome profit come resale time if you know which renovation projects to work on that don’t require you to break the bank.

Here are some budget-friendly home renovations that you can do:

  • Repaint or refinish instead of replacing
  • Paint cabinets in kitchen and bathroom
  • Update your bathroom vanity mirror
  • Rearrange and refurbish furniture
  • Add backsplash in your kitchen
  • For an artsy flair, stencil your walls after repainting

Remodel vs. renovate

Making the decision on whether to remodel or renovate – or both – will depend on several factors: your finances, time (how long you can commit to the project, how long the project will take, etc.), and your plans for the property. But the biggest factor to consider is the state of your home. If functionality and comfort are diminished due to age and wear and tear (e.g., current windows need replacing for better insulation, wind erosion has eaten into siding), then remodeling is the better option. Your investment in these major home projects will bring you immense savings in your house maintenance costs and utility bills in the long run.

If your house remains perfectly livable, then some renovations will do. These small repairs and upgrades might not raise the value of your house substantially but it helps sell your house quicker.

Sometimes, renovations and remodeling can be discussed during negotiations with potential buyers. This can come in handy for leveraging the price and moving-in date, and can ultimately benefit both parties.

You can consult with your listing agent for tips for selling your home, including the need for renovations and/or remodeling. As an expert who has seen many homes in their length of time in the industry, they will know the best option to take. Apart from the house’s condition, they will also consider what buyers look for in their home of choice.

Come to The Groesbeck Group, your top-ranked brokers, for all your real estate requirements in Anacortes, Bow, Burlington, and the rest of Skagit County. Call them at 360.941.3734 or email Info(at)JeanGroesbeck(dotted)com.