Love It or List it? A Tale of Two Remodels

Remodeling your home to sell is a completely different beast than remodeling your home to stay.
So which choice is right for you? Should you Love it or List it?

As much as we all love trolling open houses and dreaming of buying our next home, sometimes it just makes sense to stay put and love your house rather than list it. Case in point, on the HGTV show “Love it or List it”, how many times do the homeowners actually list their property?

The Realtor on that show is batting 1 out of 100 on average (granted, I have only caught an episode here and there), with the odds seriously stacked against him. Why does this always happen, when he seems to find some great houses for these homeowners? Here are my takeaways and some great reasons you may want to stay put too:

  1. Moving is the Worst
    What is more agonizing than having to pack up a life’s worth of your stuff and schlep it? I read somewhere that only fear of death and public speaking are more traumatic than moving. Personally, I would take the mic over moving, any day.
  2. Mo’ Money
    Let’s face it, if you bought your home at least a few years ago you’ve already started building some nice equity. With a new house, you’re going to pay current market prices AND have to start building equity all over again. Even if you need to remodel to stay in your current home, chances are you’ll still be saving some big Bens.
  3. Familiarity
    This comes down to personality type, but most people feel safer by staying put as opposed to change. You know your local dry cleaner, grocery store, and Dan the guy at the wine store always saves a couple bottles of your favorite organic red for you before they hit the shelves. Moving equals uncertainty and starting all over. So even if there are a few things that make you eye roll emoji: that neighbor that makes a rukus taking his trash out at 5:30am every Tuesday morning etc, often it is the devil you know that feels more comfortable.
  4. Time
    House hunting. Escrow. Inspections. Insurance. Property Taxes. Changing your address. Writing an offer and maybe (maybe not) getting accepted. Unpacking. Dealing with all the issues that come up during the new house and move.
    Oh, and don’t forget to keep living your life, doing your job, taking care of the kids, pets, and so forth. Are you exhausted yet? Moving is a huge time and energy vampire.

Have I convinced you yet? Hard to believe I have my real estate license, isn’t it? Let’s presume you DO want to stay in your current home and have the money to spend to take it from “Eww” to “Ohhh”.

Which btw, is why Mr. Realtor keeps losing on the show, because Ms. Designer is mad talented and shows the homeowners that under all their clutter and horrific design choices is really the home they always wanted. But I digress.

The question here is: how should YOU remodel when you’ve opted to stay instead of leave? I’ll cover the staying in this post, and then you can read the second half of this post here, on how to remodel if you’ve decided to sell.

Because these are two TOTALLY different remodels.

Keep in mind, even when you are staying put, you will be selling eventually. Maybe that will be 20 years from now, but my point is to ALWAYS remember your house is an investment when doing any kind of remodeling. Which means, keep your MAIN (main=hard to change=expensive) choices classic, like your flooring, countertops, cabinets, etc.

Pulls, hardware, lighting and of course all your styling can be switched easily, so those are your SECONDARY (less expensive to change) choices, and the place where you can have a little more creativity and fun.

If you have the cash, upgrade your design choices from average to better to best, when you can AND when the design calls for that decision. Since you’re not planning on selling anytime soon, pick the colors and finishes that YOU love.

Repeat after me:
“It’s all about me, it’s allllll about me, me me me.”

When remodeling to stay, it is all about you. This is the time to expolore that design-of-the-moment sofa, crazy sconces, and fun accessories. Love that goth Damien Hirst wallpaper that everyone else hates? Who cares about them, stick that bad boy in your powder room. Want to create a David Bowie themed family room, complete with lighted disco ball and karaoke machine? Yes please do, and can I come over?

The biggest point when you’re planning to stay is that the design choices are really all about you, what you like, and what’s best for how you live. So splurge a little, push that creative envelope a bit and enjoy turning your current home into a “new” home that you’ll love!

Need help sorting through all the choices to create that epic design plan? Check out our packages here, or contact us at for more information.

And now, on to the second part of this post, Remodel to List it!

The Love It Board

Splurge worthy, Love It items, clockwise:

Jonathan Adler Puzzle Sconce, Single, $695

ILVE Majestic Range, $12,200

Kelly Wearstler for Ann Sacks Clemente Liason Tile

The Tile Shop, Geometric Floor Tile

Kohler Ombre Titanium/Rose Gold Faucet, Single, $934.50

Facete Grande Pendants from TECH Lighting

Damien Hirst Wallpaper, £205 per roll

David Bowie by Andy Warhol 24″ x 24″ print on canvas, $32.50

*Some of these items may contain affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission should you choose to purchase. This is at no cost to you.*