High end finishes in a low end area-
Concern one is make sure you understand your home and its market value! Not planning on selling? Doesn't matter, you still need to know. Why? Because not knowing what your local housing market is doing with regards to improvements and finishes can come back later on to bite you. Always, always do what you love, but understand what you love may not always pay off later, even if you aren't trying to sell. High end finishes are beautiful and seem like the way to go provided you have the budget for it but if no one else in your area are doing high end finishes don't assume your high end finishes will necessarily command top dollar. The bathroom photograph to your left shows improvements made to a starter home. No high end finishes were needed, just an improvement in this homes function and pleasing to look at was all it took to get this little starter home sold after three showings. Incidentally this bath renovation was done under the assumption that the homeowner was not moving any time soon. However, as this post states, life can change on a dime, and this renovation was done in keeping with what the market in the area would bear, and thus paid off.
Your home's "potential price point "-
Your potential price point may suggest that most buyers will not necessarily expect nor want to pay for high end custom cabinets, etc. Still think you don't need to -concern yourself with what a buyer may want? Remember the future is the great unknown. Life changes on a dime, sometimes we're forced to sell due to illness, changes in lifestyle, jobs, etc. So even if you don't think you're in the market, design and plan your renovation as if you were, it's just smart thinking.
Your home's "potential buyers" -
Know your potential buyer. Again, regardless of whether you think you are going to sell or not this is a good guide in place for your renovation reality check. Ask yourself if your home would likely sell to well established large families, couples just starting out, or something downsizing retirees would gravitate towards. Why is this necessary? Well a big home with 3 or more bedrooms would likely appeal to a family with teens, and middle aged parents, a smaller home with 2 or more bedrooms would appeal to young first time buyers, a home with 2 or less bedrooms and on the small side might appeal to downsizing retirees. All ages will have different expectations with regards to form, function, layout and finishes. Young first time buyers may want modern looking upgrades, but not necessarily expensive high end. Chances are if it looks modern, even if it isn't expensive they will appreciate it. Middle aged established families will notice the size and bedrooms of your home and no doubt expect a little better quality in the design and finishes. Not necessarily high end, but cheap will get passed by.
Don't go on a sentimental journey-
Knowing your homes market value is tricky. Do not let sentimental value effect your judgement. This can mean loss of money not a gain. Check online realty sites like Zillow.com, Trulia, etc. and look up homes in your area. Many that are for sale have multiple pictures. Focus on the homes in your area that are same size square footage and are similar with regards to bedrooms, etc. Study the photographs, what sort of finishes are they using in their homes for the price they're asking. Try to be analytical, not critical. Notice what selling features are mentioned in the listings. Does your home fall inline with these features? Whether you go high end or not, as a homeowner you can not afford to make costly errors in judgement.