When looking at homes for sale, you'll see lots of descriptions about kitchens and bathrooms. At first glance, words like "renovated," "remodeled," and "upgraded" may appear to mean the same thing. However, they do have distinct meanings.

"Renovated" means that the owner has not changed the structure of the room. Fixtures such as faucets, light fixtures, and window treatments may have been replaced with more stylish ones. The walls may be newly painted. Usually renovations cost less than a remodel. Keep in mind that "stylish" does not necessarily mean a higher quality, more expensive item.

"Remodeled" implies major changes such as knocking down walls, moving the plumbing, or changing the layout of the room. If an owner changes a room "down to the studs," it's a remodel. Remodels are costly.

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"Upgraded" can apply to both renovations and remodeled rooms. A room has been upgraded when the fixtures, appliances, tiles or flooring are replaced with higher quality items. If a homeowner replaces white kitchen appliances with stainless steel ones but does nothing else to the kitchen, that would be considered an upgrade. Replacing carpeting with hardwood flooring is another example of an upgrade. 

The correct use of these terms in home descriptions is important since they imply the relative value of the room compared to other homes for sale. If two homes in the same location with a similar number of bedrooms, bathrooms and lot sizes are for sale; the one that has a remodeled kitchen will most likely sell for a higher amount than the home with a renovated kitchen. It's important for home buyers to understand that nuances when deciding how much to bid for a home. 

Shannon Severin is a Realtor with Keller Williams Mid-town Direct at 181 Maplewood Ave., Maplewood, NJ. If you have any real estate questions, she can be reached at shannon.severin@kw.com or www.homesnearnyc.com.