Thinking about updating all or part of your home? Here are seven things you’ll want to think about first.
1. What You Should Renovate
Plan your renovations carefully if you want to get the most bang for your buck. Think long-term, not just in the here and now.
The Houston residential property management and realty group, Green Residential, warns that some renovations may not be worthwhile.
“Every renovation you make should be calculated to raise your property value, at least if you want to sell your home someday and land on your feet,” an article on their blog reads. “However, some home renovations don’t add the value homeowners expect them to. In fact, some updates can actually lower the value of your property.”
You certainly don’t want to lose money on this project, so avoid things like adding solar panels, using too much wallpaper and texture, installing wall-to-wall carpeting, spending too much on your kitchen, and a few other expensive updates that yield little return.
Instead, focus on things like curb appeal, bathrooms, minor kitchen updates, additional square footage, windows, paint, and modern flooring.
2. Where You’ll Stay
Renovations are messy and can take several weeks to complete. If you don’t mind breathing in construction dust and having limited access to your home, you can always stay there with your family. It’s certainly the more affordable option, despite the inconveniences.
There may be some situations in which you can’t or shouldn’t stay in the home while it’s being renovated. For example, if you have asthma the dust might cause a health problem. Or, if you’re renovating essential systems like plumbing or electrical, living-in might be impossible. Arrange for housing with a family, friend, or a rental/hotel before starting construction.
3. What You’ll Spend
Renovations always cost more than you think they will, and if you don’t want a surprise at the end, you’ll set a budget at the very beginning. Let your budget dictate the renovations you make rather than the other way around.
If you’re planning on obtaining financing, such as a home equity line of credit or a personal loan, know how much you’ll be approved for before drawing up plans. It’s no good planning a renovation that you can’t ultimately afford.
4. Who You’ll Hire
Will you hire an interior designer? Their retainer fee may be pricey but think of the finished product. Plus, many homeowners discover that their designer saved them money because they worked more efficiently and got better pricing on materials.
You’ll also need contract laborers to handle specific projects. You could hire a general contractor or hire individual contractors for each area of specialty (i.e., electrical, plumbing, drywall technician, painter, etc.) Whichever option you choose, vet every contractor carefully.
There may be other professionals worth hiring as well. These individuals might hold positions you’ve never heard of, but you’ll find they’re indispensable to your operations.
For example, interior design Kim Nielsen told HGTV, “Lighting is everything…A designer or lighting specialist can help you figure out the correct size, quantity and spacing for pendants to go over an island.”
5. What You’ll Do Yourself
You can save considerably by doing some of the labor yourself. You might even enjoy doing it! Don’t be too ambitious with the projects you choose to tackle. Stick to things you’re comfortable with. It’ll be more expensive to have someone else fix your mistakes than it will be to have them do it right the first time.
6. How You’ll Design
Whether you’re using an interior designer or making the plans on your own, you’ll need a blueprint of the updates you want to make. This includes details about the renovation, estimated costs, inspiration photos or color swatches, a timeline, and any other details that will help your renovation come to pass quickly.
As you design, have a clear idea of what you like. “I suggest my clients spend time browsing Pinterest, flipping through home decorating magazines, and watching design shows on TV to assemble a ‘visual wish list,’ which helps them get a handle on their design direction,” Oregon-based realtor Barbara Mount told Realtor.com.
7. How You’ll Handle Change
DIY renovator Jillian Harris shared her experience of a recent home renovation, underscoring the importance of rolling with the punches. “I changed our entrance to the walk-in closet THREE times mainly so that it was more functional and made the most sense layout-wise for us,” she said.
You’ll probably change your mind a time or two during the renovation process, and that’s okay. Just go into it with a flexible mindset, being willing to make changes when necessary. Otherwise, you’ll be frustrated and unsatisfied with the result.