Remodeling ROI

This reflection isn’t about how to get the best financial return on your remodeling project. It’s about considering the significant value of the non-financial return.

Remodeling customers often talk with me about the return on investment, or ROI, of their remodeling projects. A case in point is an outdoor deck remodel that I’ve recently been discussing with a homeowner who was referred to me by an existing customer for whom we had done some interior remodeling work.

The property has several decks, including a large one in the common area, and a second-story deck owned by my new prospective customer. The deck in the common area is shared by all of the residents of the 3-unit building, including one family with a young daughter. I offered them an outstanding price for a replacement deck using a premium modern deck finish – either Trex Transcend or Fiberon Horizon. A good part of the conversation seemed to revolve around the investment value of the deck, to be realized upon resale of the property, probably several years from now.

It struck me after a few conversations that in focusing on the value at resale, the owners were entirely ignoring the value of ownership. My prospective customer is a professional with an opportunity to entertain friends, colleagues, and business associates at his home. The other owners are also professionals, with a young daughter, whose friends could join her on play dates. And my knowledge of the modern parent (I’m married to one) tells me that the first splinter in a child’s foot from the weathered old deck would be the end of play dates in the back yard.

That deck has the prospect of offering many returns on ownership – good family times together, closer friendships, closer ties with business associates, memories of play time with childhood friends – that won’t show up in the checkbook when the house is sold. But they’re just as real, and they’re important.

Most of us care about the return on our financial investments in our homes. Just keep in mind that the financial returns aren’t the only returns.

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