You see it all the time. People pay outrageous amounts for their imported granite, or hardwood floors, and even for high tech toilet seats.
All that is fine if you really want it and can afford it. If you pay for it with credit cards or a home equity loan it's a different thing entirely, especially if you plan to sell your house and want to get all the money you have put in to it back and then some more.
While it's true that you need to polish up your house if you want to resale, it is not true that any buyer will pay you a dollar for dollar price for all the money you have spent. They won't. They want granite at a discount. It's human nature.
They say all the time on TV that if you remodel a kitchen you will get a 90% return. In the context of this quasi factoid is the real information everyone ignores.
Whoever paid for that kitchen had a 10% loss!
They really lost 10% of the money they invested, and it's likely that the imported granite is what made a reasonably good investment into a loss.
People who are remodeling want to have an open-ended budget, effectively no budget at all and it never works. It didn't work when real estate seemed to be rising at an incredible rate and it really won't work now.
And then there is another issue.
Fashions change. Nothing, not even granite will stay fashionable forever. People are already starting to rip it out of houses and send it to the dump. If you are ripping it out of your house, don't send it to the dump, please, and recycle anything else that can be reused. The transportation and mining costs of granite are very high. It should never be thrown into a dumpster.
Your remodeling investment is especially risky if you miss the mark that most potential buyers want in their new home. Sure you may love orange granite, but no one else will.
It's important from an investment standpoint to remodel wisely. Bathrooms and kitchens wear out and need repair and updating. But it's important to do the work with an eye toward resale.
Keep most fixtures in the original places. Choose neutral colors and finishes. Think classic style and reuse cabinets if possible. Paint is always the cheapest way to update a space, but don't go crazy with color.
Every buyer who is looking for a new home says, "I want something light and airy."
Don't think they will like your dark space. They won't. It's part of the reason we are so against granite. A lot of it is dark and it often looks busy with the random patterns of natural rock. Kitchens are visually busy anyway and the extra pattern in some granite just adds to the visual confusion. Just think. If you saved between $2000 and $8000 by not purchasing granite, you could buy something else.
It makes sense to remodel old, ragged kitchens and bathrooms, both for your own needs and for resale, but there is a limit to how much you should spend.
For baths the limit should be between $1,000 and $7,000. For kitchens you might go up to $15,000 but I wouldn't. And pay cash. Don't finance the remodel. Interest will choke your financial health.
And finally reuse, recycle and re-purpose things that you already own or can buy cheaply. Shop at garage sales and look for good used stuff. It can save you lots of money. We once completely refaced and remodeled a kitchen for $1,200, because the kitchen did not match the architecture of the house. It's really important that the outside character of a structure and the interior decor match. The outside attracts a buyer who expects the interior to look similar. Fulfill their expectations. When we put the house up for resale it sold to the first couple that looked at it, for the asking price, and without granite.
Ron Stone is a financial specialist. His company buys private mortgage notes including non-seasoned mortgages. Learn more about note selling at his websites, Sell My Note and Sell Deed of Trust