If you think remodeling your old kitchen will make you happier, you probably are right. Complete kitchen remodels achieved a perfect “10” Joy Score in the 2019 Remodeling Impact Report. The most popular remodeling project also is the top-rated improvement to make a home more desirable among future homebuyers. The findings are based on extensive surveys by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) this year.
To be clear, updating your kitchen won’t improve your profit at resale. You’ll only recoup about 59 percent of your investment. But your home will be more appealing and should sell faster and you get to enjoy it until you move.
Seriously, we could have guessed these results without a survey of nearly 2,200 consumers and 4,400 NARI members. Kitchens are the center of both family life and entertaining. It’s no wonder a more functional and attractive kitchen will serve up smiles.
What does remodeling joy mean?
The joy index is based on answers to three questions: First, does the project make you want to spend more time in the space? Second, do the improvements actually enhance your enjoyment of the space? Third, do you feel a sense of accomplishment after completing the improvements? I think the first two questions overlap and skew the scores. But because the same rules apply to all 20 projects, the study is a useful tool to compare alternatives for one’s remodeling dollars.
The good news is that you don’t have to overhaul your home’s social and functional hub to find happiness. The survey said renovating a closet also carries a 10-point joy grade and for a fraction of the cost. What’s more, repainting your home’s interior finishes a close second at 9.8. Just be sure the results look professional and you choose the right colors.
Remodeling ROI in 2019
The survey also estimates how much of your remodeling investment you are likely to recoup if you sell your house in the next few years. For example, if your home would sell for $400,000 with your old kitchen and you spend $68,000 on a new kitchen, the survey predicts you will get $440,000 at resale. So, you are at least partially remodeling the space for yourself, which should be anyone’s prime motivation.
Once again, the only projects that Realtors say homebuyers will value more than they actually cost the sellers are replacing an old roof or installing new wood flooring. The Realtors valued the payback on a new roof at 107 percent and wood flooring at 106 percent.
Homebuyers probably appreciate new roofs because lenders won’t underwrite mortgages unless deteriorated roofs are replaced. Meanwhile, wood floors are seen as a healthier alternative to wall to wall carpeting, which collects bacteria, allergens and cleaning chemicals residue over time that can compromise indoor air quality. Installing wood flooring after purchasing a home also would delay the move in date.
Visit the National Association of Realtors HouseLogic link to view the entire Remodeling Impact Report with Joy Scores, costs and paybacks for all 20 projects.
How the remodeling report was done
In June and July of 2019, HouseLogic surveyed consumers on the last remodeling project they undertook. A total of 2,193 respondents participated. The Joy Score was calculated by combining the share who were happy and those who were satisfied when seeing their completed project and dividing the share by 10 to create a ranking between 1 and 10. Higher Joy Scores indicate greater joy from the project. In March and June 2019, NARI emailed a cost survey to its 4,400 members. A total of 378 responses were received. The survey had an adjusted response rate of 11.6 percent. In July 2019, NAR emailed an interior remodeling project survey to a random sample of 52,491 Realtors. A total of 2,485 responses were received. The survey had an adjusted response rate of 4.7 percent.