Renovate or Remodel: What’s the Difference?


Many times when buyers purchase older homes they will consider doing some remodeling or some renovating. That said, some people haven’t a clue what the difference is, so let’s take a look.

When you renovate a home, you are upgrading some areas but not making complete changes. Possibly replacements of faucets, adding newer, more attractive baseboards, re-painting cabinets or walls. If you totally re-painted your kitchen, added new appliances and fixtures then you have renovated the kitchen. If you upgraded plumbing, put in a new upgraded fuse box, that’s renovating, that’s remodeling.

Remodeling, on the other hand, something very significant has been changed or replaced such as walls and plumbing. If the kitchen was outdated and small and the owner decided to expand it significantly then the kitchen has been remodeled.


When an area of a home has been modified in order to bring that area up to the expectations of the current market. An updated area should have a significant improvement in atmosphere and appearance and better functionality. This can include replacing components or refurbishing to come up to the current market expectations or demands. Renovations do not include major alterations to the physical structure of the room or home.


When an area is significantly altered or changed in order to increase its appeal and functionality and adding to the current market value. In some cases, older homes built in the early 70s might have rooms chopped up with walls of no significance and thereby removing them the rooms become larger and brighter. By either removing or moving walls will also add airier atmosphere.

Other alterations may include: bathtubs, bathroom tiling, relocation or upgrading of plumbing, cabinets or possibly a ceiling window to brighten a dark room.

Why Remodel?

A home that has significant remodeling can change a dark, outdated home into a buyer’s dream. Remodeling that old kitchen with expansion or lighter, brighter windows could set your home apart from other similar older homes.

Always give valuable information to your appraiser, along with any significant documentation so he or she will be aware of these changes. Some changes, like plumbing, will go unnoticed by appraisers because they will not see the plumbing.

The appraiser will need to add this information to the appraisal report. His or her report will state whether something has been renovated or remodeled. Having photos will help alleviate paperwork, making it easier for appraisers to clearly state various changes to the home. Photos do speak for themselves.

Making sure the appraiser is aware of the changes you have made to your home could make the difference of an increase in value or very little increase.

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