Many of you have read A Diamond in the Rough, Part I, where I begin talkng about my experience in purchasing my first condominium. This continuation of my experience picks up by asking, “did you ever hear that you should remodel your kitchen and bathrooms for best returns on your investment?” Well I did, and guess what, I went with what people told me this time. And, this was my second mistake.

I say that this specific remodel was my second mistake, not because the remodel was a bad idea, but because I used poor judgement in financing it.

I looked at my second mortgage to first fund my remodel. Specifically, I wanted to increase my credit line on my home equity line of credit (HELOC) since it was a low interest rate. But since I was less than 6 months from the time of purchase of my property, I wasn’t able to do anything with that. At the time, I figured my next best option was to fund my remodel with credit cards (thinking back, I should have just waited till the 6 month term and pulled from my equity line). This is why I say remodeling was my second mistake. My credit card balance went from $0 pre-construction to approximately $20,000 post-construction. I have included a few pictures of the remodeling to give you a sense of what $20,000 gave me.

Here is a before picture of my living room.

After I was done with it…

Below is a before picture of my tiny master bathroom. As you can see, it’s not very master at all…

After. And much more spacious may I add…

Before master bath shower. It was a pre-made shower stall with no bath tub…

After…Fit for a queen!

These photos should give you a picture of the amount of change and value I added to this 2 bed (really 3 with the loft)/ 2 bath condo. Or did I? If you remember in part I of A Diamond in the Rough, I said “location, location, location” and that couldn’t have been more true in this case. In part III, I will go into some of the struggles I went through in trying to manage my credit card debt accumilated from this remodel, show you some more pictures of the remodel and the difficulty I had selling. Stay tuned…

Rich Dad Says: “Think of BUDGET when remodeling!”

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Comment by Joey
2007-01-02 14:22:21

20k sounds like a bit much but at least the after pics look great!

Comment by Jane
2007-01-02 14:57:03


You are quite right! $20,000 is a bit much for the remodeling of 2 bathrooms and minor kitchen work. I can’t stress enough the importance of setting a firm budget. Thanks for the feedback!


Pingback by Toronto Lofts, Toronto Condos, Radu’s Toronto Real Estate Blog » Location, Location, Location – First Time Buyers Beware
2007-01-31 19:34:14

[...] Jane’s articles: A Diamond in the Rough Part 1 | Part 2 [...]

2007-03-03 21:42:20

[...] National Association of Realtors.� Before reading this article, you might want to look back on a remodeling project Jane May did� a few years back.� She also pointed out some “do’s and [...]

Comment by wagi Subscribed to comments via email
2007-03-14 10:17:25

I’m thinking abour remodeling my home but I’m realy scared on the contractor I choose. What kind of research you did to find your contractor?

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