Remodeling vs. Renovation, Which one is Correct?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Kirby Fine Homes

 You see it everywhere, books on remodeling, renovation guides, and TV shows on how to fix up your home. When searching through the multiple listing service, I constantly see description notes stating that a home has been "completely remodeled" or "newly renovated". It got me thinking...just what is the difference between the two?

The Webster Dictionary defines the two as:

Renovate : to restore to a former, better state
Remodel : to alter the structure /use of

If I was to say I am going to "remodel" something, I would be changing the use of it. So if I had a floor plan that wasn't working and needed to reconfigure the whole thing, than I would be "remodeling". If I was just taking the current floor plan and adding new floors, new sheet rock, paint, etc, then I would be "renovating" as I was just replacing the old with something new.

Case in point, we looked at a home this weekend that was built in 1957. The MLS said the home had been remodeled. What we found was a basement, originally a cinder block underground space, that had been converted to living space. So it had been "remodeled", as the basement function was altered.

A good example of a "renovation" would be converting a multi-unit historic home, back to its original single family status.

It can get really confusing on the proper term to use because so many people use the two words interchangeably. I think it might be better to equate renovation with rehabilitation, but I am not a dictionary. I am of the nature that words mean something so I try and use the right term when needed. But with so much emphasis on housing the last four years, I doubt anyone will care or notice the true difference between the two words.

What do you think? Do you find yourself using the two words as one?

 

Minneapolis Real Estate

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Rainer
31,035
Nicole "Nicky" Sensale
Brooksville, FL
Florida Equestrian Properties
Good Info!
Jun 12, 2007 09:21 AM #1
Rainmaker
605,309
Teri Eckholm
REMAX Specialists - White Bear Lake, MN
Acreage & Lakeshore REALTOR Minneapolis St Paul
Jennifer--I use the word updates for renovation because that is what has been done...Remodel would really mean tearing out and making changes in my book. Good point. I don't think the words are used properly by all.
Jun 12, 2007 10:56 AM #2
Rainmaker
133,730
Jennifer Kirby
Kirby Fine Homes - Minneapolis, MN
The Luxury Agent
Nicole & Teri - Thanks for letting me know that someone out there thinks the words are not properly used. I was hoping to get more feedback from more readers, but alas, none.
Jun 12, 2007 09:22 PM #3
Anonymous
Anonymous
Val

Thanks for the very clear explanation. I did a renovation of my 1970s bi-level to imitate a turn-of-the-century Victorian/Edwardian and have been puzzeling over what to call it. I didn't make many structural changes but reskinned almost the entire space (except the popcorn ceilings - sigh! - which will have to wait for a further reno.)

Keep well,

Val

Nanaimo, B.C.

Jan 11, 2010 01:19 PM #4
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Rainmaker
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Jennifer Kirby

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