Remodeling is more than meets the eye

If you’re looking to remodel or renovate a home, you may want to take into account these important lessons I’ve learned about home renovation.

1. Renovations are serious business.

Compared to replacing furniture or basic interior design services, home renovation is a serious undertaking. So, I’d encourage anyone to begin a home renovation project with the end in mind. Is your goal to increase resale value, or will you be living there long-term? Know what’s a good return on your investment, for your area’s real estate market.


2. Renovations require a clear budget.

Establish a clear budget. This is one of the most important things in home renovations. Create a contingency fund for unexpected costs. Old homes in particular have a way of “discover” new costs after construction starts.


3. Homeowners and their possessions need a place to stay during construction.

Know where you’ll stay during the work. Will you remain in your home? Do you have enough space to live apart from the construction safely? Even small renovations typically kick up a lot of dust. So, will you do the cleaning yourself or hire help? Do you have kids or pets? How will they be affected? You’ll also need to move furniture out of the way and get rid of any clutter.


4. Scheduling is a major part of the job.

Look at your schedule for the upcoming months. Especially think through any holidays and upcoming events as you create the construction calendar.


5. Contract management is another important skill.

Review your options for general contractors, architects, designers. Great vendors can help you think things through, and provide additional insight into the steps and considerations. So vet the construction team. Ask friends and families how their renovations went, and find their “lessons learned.”


6. Experienced designers bring more than a “design eye” to the table.

Consider whether you need professional design assistance. Some projects you can do yourself. But what is your level of skill and experience managing construction? For example, a designer can prompt you to consider whether all details are included in the construction bids. You don’t want to have to keep dealing with details (such as outlet plates, door trim or knob hardware) that may not be included in the original bid. Interior designers can also help you prioritize decisions and manage the project, sidestepping common pitfalls.


7. The phases of construction matter. Plan for delays.

Prepare yourself for the various phases of construction — drawings, permits and so forth. Have a “plan B” for contingencies caused by weather, delays, and water and power outages.


8. You’ll want to consider all your options.

Renovations come with immediate, out-of-pocket expenses, whereas moving can put money in your pocket. Buying a pre-finished home with a set mortgage allows you to better understand the costs involved. Especially if you are renovating an older home, where surprises often appear. (Think mold, wiring, framing, etc.) If your current property is showing its age — like needing foundation work or a new roof — those major repairs can add up quickly.


9. Ultimately, you may find it easier to move to a finished house.

Do you love your current neighborhood and neighbors? Or are you ultimately wanting a new location? Have you simply outgrown your current property? Remember, if you buy an already updated home, you can avoid living in a construction zone.  And the whole house is done at once–before you arrive.

If you’re ready for a big change, buying a new home may actually be your best option.  You know what you’re going to get, in advance. You can see the quality of the craftsmanship. You know how the finishes will look, and whether the cohesive design fits your tastes. You know the budget.

I can’t wait to show you the home I’m renovating next.