Maybe it’s time to consider a remodel



How can you know if it is time to remodel your home? Do you need a whole-house remodel or just an update of a room that looks like it is stuck in the ‘80s. 

Or maybe you’re thinking about selling and are trying to figure out how fix up your home to maximize your profits? 

The following tips can help save you time, money and a few headaches. 


So you’ve decided to sell

Brian Thistle of Edina Realty says that if you are thinking about selling your home, then any remodeling project should be one that brings a return on the money invested.

“The other important part ... is that it makes the house more sellable. The project should help people maintain the value of their home,” Thistle says. 

When fixing up to sell, start with the outside. Simple things such as landscaping and cleaning the outside of the house can help with a potential buyer’s first impression.

Once inside the house, make sure the floors are in good conditions. Paint can be an easy fix that goes a long way in helping a house look inviting and well maintained.

Thistle says make sure the paint colors are neutrals. That doesn’t mean every wall should be white or even beige. Grays and taupes are becoming popular options for neutral paint. 

If you have a tired-looking or outdated kitchen or bathroom, take things one step-at-a-time. Thistle says you may only need to replace the countertops, faucets and sinks rather than tackling a larger project, such as new cabinets.

Try not to personalize the space too much. This is where things like neutral floors and wall colors comes into play. However, you can add little pops of color throughout the space.

You want potential buyers to see themselves in the space rather than being distracted by how you live in the house. 

Thistle adds that staying on top of maintaining your home is a great way to avoid having to do multiple updates when or if you decide to sell. 

Simple things like keeping up with cleaning floors will prevent them from wearing out prematurely. Also keep in mind some products or installers have 18-month cleaning plans in order to retain the warranty.

Hardwood and vinyl or ceramic tile are great flooring options that will also give you a return on your investment if you sell.

If you’re planning on being in your home for a while, look into something with a pattern.

It’s possible to have a little pattern in your carpet without being too crazy for potential buyers.

Easy fixes

Remodeling doesn’t have to cost a lot. There are several projects that can help update the space without breaking the bank. New light fixtures and window treatments can be quick, easy fixes.

Flooring is another way to update your home without having to do a total gut job. 

Jodi Faerber-Poole from Hamernick’s Decorating in St. Paul says homeowners need to consider the amount of traffic the area gets, because the durability of flooring materials varies.

While you don’t have to spend a ton of money on new flooring if you plan to sell your home, you still want quality materials. 

Potential buyers can tell when sellers install bottom-of-the-rung carpeting or vinyl flooring. Faerber-Poole recommends going for something in the mid-price ranges.

LVT, or Luxury Vinyl Tile, is becoming a popular option for new flooring as well as plank ceramic tile that resembles wood. 

If you are fixing up to sell, hardwood is a “buzz word” for potential buyers. Carpet is a good option for areas you want to feel warm and cozy like bedrooms.

You can be more adventuresome with flooring if you are planning to live in your home for a while. Miranda Lind from Abbey Carpet suggests picking flooring that fits your lifestyle and preferences.

“Following trends is important to some people, but at the same time if you’re living in the home it should be what you want,” Lind says. 

It makes sense to think in terms of resale if you are going to sell within a year or two, but not when you are planning to stay in the home for the foreseeable future.

Patterned carpets are something people are beginning to put into their homes in special areas like master suites.


Total overhaul

Sometimes a remodel means more than just new floors or a fresh coat of paint.

Greg Alsterlund of McDonald Remodeling says homeowners should start with focusing on the goals of a remodeling project. What about your kitchen don’t you like? What isn’t working about a given space? 

“I always focus on what do you want to do, because at the end of the day if all you’re going to do is spend time and money and effort it still might not work for you,” Alsterlund says. 

Before meeting with different contractors, have a design and specifications for what you want. If working with a designer, have an open mind for possible suggestions. 

“Everyone needs to be one the same page as far as what they, the contractors, are bidding so you don’t get a wide swing of costs,” says Don Hruby of Rossbach Construction in North St. Paul.

When looking into contractors, check them out with the Better Business Bureau and ask for references.

With remodeling, concrete is becoming a popular option for countertops. Another trend if doing whole-home remodeling is wood flooring rolling through several rooms. It helps create the feeling of a larger space.  

 “If you’re heading out in a couple years, [you should] select or do things differently than the folks who are not moving,” Alsterlund says. 

If you are remodeling to sell, he says don’t get emotionally attached to a color or the very latest design trends. 

If a room is in need of repair so the home looks better for selling Hruby says don’t spend a ton of money on it. Little fixes like new laminate countertops or new vinyl flooring can help update the space.

When updating your home, remember to make sure the new design fits not only the style of the home but the neighborhood as well.


Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or

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