Perhaps people are beginning to realize that investing in their homes is always a good thing, whatever the vicissitudes of the real estate market.
In my seminars and workshops, I often stress “maintenance” as critical to insure that you’re not hit all at once with repairs that need to be done. From a new roof to a kitchen or bath, it’s a lot easier on your budget, and life, to “fix what’s broken” as it arises. It’s clearly a mistake to wait for multiple projects that may each cost thousands to pile up. If you maintain your home, it will keep its value and improve your chances for a quick sale, should you decide to move.
So, what’s the best way to approach a renovation project, keep your sanity as well as a few sheckles in the bank?
- Make a list of what’s needed to create your perfect home using existing spaces before thinking expansion.
- Bring in a designer or architect, if needed, to "concretize" your goals and do a feasibility study.
- Get a “ballpark” figure for costs to determine if renovation or decoration is the proper solution, based on age and location of house.
- Interview general contractors, get references, and visit some of their client’s homes.
- Create a budget spread sheet and explore appropriate ways for financing, giving yourself leeway for extras and overages.
- Establish a realistic time frame for the project including time for drawings, filing and permits, etc., as well as the construction/decoration phase.
- Make provisions for where you will stay while your house is “under siege”, ie: trailer (fun for about two weeks), renting a nearby house, your mother-in-laws (fun for about ????), or the basement, with a microwave, hot plate and bunk beds.
- Leave enough time to plan the project properly and schedule for Spring, Summer or early Fall so you won’t experience delays related to weather.
- Make sure all contracts spell out exactly what you are getting, no assumptions. Whatever is not in the contract is not going to be included.
- Make decisions in a timely fashion so the contractor won’t be held up and tempted to leave your job for another.
- Make sure you make careful and prudent selections on permanent improvements. They’re there for the long haul and difficult to change. Wait, if need be, on replaceable furnishings.
- Most of all, expect some delay in completion, and plan for them.
The process may not be easy, but it’s worth it. Your home, the way you like it, will give you years of enjoyment and provide a positive living environment for you and your family.