When Renovating, Should You Choose Value Over Happiness?

Homeowners typically will weigh the cost of a home renovation project against the value it will add to their house. But the pleasure of enjoying a new kitchen or bathroom should be considered, too, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), with insights from the National Remodeling Industry.

Let’s look at the kitchen renovation, for example. A little over 60 percent of the cost of a major kitchen remodel is recouped by the homeowner, according to the NAR report. But, the project earns the top score for the joy it brought homeowners, a perfect 10!

The 2019 Remodeling Impact Report examined 20 renovation projects and ranked them according to how happy homeowners were with their renovations. The study also measured return on investment. The top three projects with the highest “joy score” were kitchen renovation, closet renovation, and a full interior paint job. Renovations with the greatest return on investment were new roofing, new hardwood floors, and refinished hardwood floors.

So, should you tackle projects that will make you happy or ones that will add the most value to your home? Here are three factors to consider:

  1. Even if you’re not planning a move, ROI is an important consideration. Life is full of surprises and you never know when you may need to sell. ROI is as important for the young millennial family who just moved into their first home as it is to the Boomer couple looking to age in place. By choosing the correct projects, you can enhance the functionality, livability, and beauty of your home while increasing property value at the same time.
  2. Not all remodeling projects are created equal. Purchasing a home is often the biggest investment any individual makes, so it is wise to carefully consider any work that affects that investment. The improvements should be in line with the value of a home, just as the cost of a home should be in line with the neighborhood it’s in. So, while a homeowner might enjoy heated floors and imported tiles in her master bath, the cost of the renovations may exceed the value in the long run. By researching the value of specific renovations, homeowners can avoid unpleasant surprises when it’s time to sell the house.
  3. ROI can vary significantly depending on the local market and local buyer preferences. Generally speaking, remodeling a lower-priced home will increase the home’s value more than remodeling a higher-priced home. A brand-new kitchen in a starter home will stand out more than an upgraded kitchen in a luxury mansion. In higher end neighborhoods, installing a swimming pool may add more value. In colder areas, attic insulation may make more sense. Local variables need to be considered.

Should you do it? Back to our kitchen renovation example: what I’m seeing in the marketplace is buyers who are looking for HGTV-ready kitchens that are modern and beautiful, and also highly functional with state-of-the-art appliances, attractive light fixtures, and new hardwood floors. What’s more, today’s lifestyles center around the kitchen. It’s understandable that a completely renovated kitchen brings homeowners joy, and from my experience, an updated, sparkling kitchen can help seal the deal when it comes to selling your house.

My advice? Talk to your realtor about the local market. Balance your immediate desires with the big picture. Choose remodeling projects wisely. Avoid lavish lighting and ornamental wall finishes that are on trend today but may be out of date in a few years. The cost of highly personalized additions such as a children’s theatre, elaborate home gym with rock climbing wall, or indoor hot tub may never be recouped. In addition, steer clear of custom finishes. A large nautical star in your entryway floor may appeal to the boat lover in you, but not to a potential buyer with Western ranch on his mind.

If you’re planning to stay in your house for a very long time, and remodeling will enhance your enjoyment of your home, it may make sense to follow your gut on renovation projects. But ROI should always be a consideration. And remember, it’s not a one-size-fits all model. I’d be happy to help you evaluate your potential projects, and to talk to you about what’s selling in the Rye and Westchester real estate market.

For more information, call Fiona Dogan at 914-414-5147 or email her at Fiona.dogan@juliabfee.com

Looking for New Construction Homes in Westchester County?

Buying a brand-new home is an appealing prospect for many house hunters. Modern architecture, whether the style is contemporary or traditional, features a strong connection between indoors and outdoors. Many new construction homes feature open floor plans, property views, and plenty of natural light.

Today’s new homes also have higher energy efficiency standards, with “green” systems and appliances that may help save on utility bills. They’re also engineered with materials that are more cost-effective to maintain. What’s more, when purchasing a newly built home, you can move right in! No renovations needed. You can decorate freely and create the home of your dreams.

If you’re looking for a new home built in the last year or two, there’s plenty of inventory on the market in Rye, New York! There is an array of price points, even in the best neighborhoods in town. Located on the scenic shore of the Long Island Sound, Rye offers top-ranked schools, warm and welcoming neighbors, culture, entertainment and dining, waterfront recreation, shopping, and much more.

Wouldn’t you just love to move into one of these beautiful turn-key homes? Contact me to schedule a showing. For more information on any of these homes, give me a call at 914-414-5147.


1. Rye City, NY
Listed at $1.999 M









2. Rye City, NY
Listed at $2.195 M








3. Rye City, NY

Listed at $2.3 M









4. Rye City, NY
Listed at $2.395 M









5. Rye City, NY
Listed at $2.495 M








6. Rye City, NY
Listed at $2.599 M









7. Rye City, NY
Listed at $2.65 M








8. Rye City, NY
Listed at $2.695 M








9. Rye City, NY
Listed at $4.295 M









10. Rye City, NY
Listed at $6.5 M

Newly Constructed Dream Home on Market in Rye

The newly constructed dream home at 135 Highland Road in Rye has everything a new homeowner could ever wish for – from the 20-foot-high entry foyer to the magnificent chef’s kitchen to the luxurious mahogany-paneled office. Beautifully designed to combine an elegant New England Colonial exterior with striking contemporary interior design, this 7900+-square-foot home also features seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms, ten-foot ceilings, and five fireplaces.

Dream home at 135 Highland Road, Rye, NY, Aerial View

“From the moment you open the solid mahogany front door and take in the two-story entryway and sweeping staircase to the second floor, you are surrounded by luxury,” says Fiona Dogan, Realtor at Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty. “The home features custom millwork and cabinetry built on-site by master craftsmen and has the finest quartz, marble, and granite countertops throughout. In addition, the builder has utilized the most upscale and up-to-date amenities, including Smart Home Lutron lighting, radiant heat, and high-efficiency, multi-zoned heating and cooling systems. It’s fantastic!”

Dream home at 135 Highland Road, Rye, NY Kitchen

And that’s just for starters. The extraordinary level of custom detail includes a gourmet kitchen with two islands, a 36” Sub-Zero refrigerator and 36” Sub-Zero freezer, two dishwashers, and a butler’s pantry. The home also has formal living and dining rooms; family room with a coffered ceiling; private mahogany office featuring an “entertainment gallery” with built-in bar and Sub-Zero wine storage; den/playroom; and a bedroom and second office/mudroom – all on the first floor.

Upstairs, there’s a majestic master bedroom suite with a gas fireplace, tray ceiling, his/her walk-in custom closets, private outdoor balcony, and Dolomite marble master bathroom, along with four additional bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms.

The lower level features a rustic wine cellar area and a fully finished recreation room, and there is also a three-car garage fully outfitted with GarageTek-style cabinetry, storage, and epoxy floor. Set on a magnificent private level one-acre parcel, the home has an extensive outdoor BBQ/TV/bar area, covered bluestone patio, and room for a pool.

Dream home at 135 Highland Road, Rye, NY Outdoor grill and patio

Another added benefit is the home’s in-demand location in the heart of Rye’s Indian Village, just steps away from downtown shops and restaurants, and the Rye train station, and extremely close to Rye Country Day School and the Apawamis Country Club.

This dream home was constructed by DT Custom Home, which has successfully designed, built, and sold multiple luxury homes in Rye since 2003. Their homes have been featured on the Rye House Tour in 2009 and 2012, and they have deep family and professional roots in the local community.

More information on 135 Highland is available at: http://dtcustomhomes.com/current-projects.html and by contacting Fiona Dogan at fiona.dogan@juliabfee.com or 914-414-5147.


Let Fiona help you sell or find your dream home. Contact Fiona at 914-414-5147 or email her directly.