Adapted from an article by Meredith Dunn, National Association of REALTORS® .
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The expected length of time homeowners stay in their home continues to increase, according to the latest Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Last year, the expected tenure was 12 years - this year, it jumped to 15. With tightened inventory in many markets, people are staying put in their homes for longer. As a result, remodeling one’s current home is an increasingly popular option for those who want their dream home, but are attached to their current home, or are unable to move. 

The 2017 Remodeling Impact Report shows that remodeling can bring more enjoyment to a home, and that certain projects have high returns both in terms of the joy they bring to the homeowner, as well as the amount of expense that is recouped when the home is sold. 

The projects that yield the most joy and recoup the most expenses might come as a surprise. According to REALTOR® respondents, the number one project is a complete kitchen renovation. The top reason homeowners renovate the kitchen is for better functionality and livability, according to 44 percent of respondents. When the project is completed, 91 percent of respondents have both a greater desire to be in the home and have a greater sense of enjoyment when they are at home. Overall, a kitchen renovation receives a 10 out of 10 Joy Score and REALTORS® estimate that an average of 62 percent of the cost can be recovered at resale.
Complete Kitchen Renovation
kitchen renovation

The second-most popular project is a kitchen upgrade. Like the complete kitchen renovation, upgrading worn-out surfaces, finishes and materials is high on the list of reasons to undertake the project – in fact, it’s the number one reason given by respondents, at 42 percent. When the project is completed, 81 percent report experiencing a greater desire to be in the home and feeling a major sense of accomplishment when they think about the project. Slightly less have an increased sense of enjoyment when they are in the home at 76 percent, but the project overall has a Joy Score of 9.6 out of 10. REALTORS® estimate that 57 percent of the cost can be recovered at resale.
Kitchen Upgrade
kitchen upgrade

The third project on the list of most popular projects is a bathroom renovation. Forty percent undertake the project for better functionality and livability, while 38 percent want to upgrade worn-out surfaces, finishes and materials. When the project is completed, 78 percent feel a major sense of accomplishment when they think about the project. The project has a Joy Score of 9.6 out of 10, and REALTORS® estimate that 50 percent of the cost can be recovered at resale.