Where To Begin With Remodels and Renovations

If you are really considering a remodeling project, how do you go about getting started?

This has been a question I have heard a lot lately. It is a very good question! Remodeling has certainly come to the forefront of homeowners’ minds lately. Most realize that this is not the time to sell and so they are questioning is it a good idea to remodel or wait or what???

I am going to give you some guidelines and some questions that you need to ask yourself to help you make some decisions.

Let’s begin by asking yourself some really important questions: How long have you been in your home and have you done any improvements on it in the time that you have been there? How long do you want to stay in your home? Do you like the neighborhood you are in? What is it about your home that you like and/or dislike? Are there areas of your home that don’t function well for your family? Answering these questions can help you decide whether to remodel or not.

If you have been in the house a long time and have done nothing to update your home, it would be a smart move to remodel. When you are ready to move, you will have an easier time selling because you will be competing with homes that are new or have been updated, plus you can enjoy your beautifully remodeled home for the time you have left in it.

One thing you really want to consider when thinking of remodeling is how much is too much and will I recoup any of the expense? Most remodels of kitchens and bathrooms can actually increase the value of your home and you will get back all, if not most of your investment.

I am sure many of you watch HGTV and the DIY channel. There is a lot of good information on those shows, but some make it look easier and less expensive than it really is. Remodeling can be very daunting. If you are a handy person and you want to do it yourself, great! However, I have been asked many times, “what is the biggest mistake is that homeowners make when doing it themselves?” The answer is easy… they don’t get professional advice! That is not to say that many DIY’fers aren’t knowledgeable. On the contrary, I have met some very savvy DIY’fers. But, there is a lot to be learned from someone who has “been there, done that!” One wrong move or choice can cost hundreds of dollars, if not more, not to mention the headaches! Also your professional has knowledge of the most current products available and can lead you where to look for just the right solution.

I know that when I consult with my clients, I always give them a few choices for them to consider. There are levels of quality and levels of budget. Good/Better/Best. Some areas are just fine with ‘good’ and some areas really may be better served with ‘better’ or ‘best.’ And there are times when best is not necessarily the most cost effective choice or even a good idea. Remodels don’t have to cost a fortune, nor should they if you are trying to stay competitive to sell in the near future. If you plan on staying in the house indefinitely, then you may want to be more customized and spend a bit more for say, appliances and such.

If you aren’t a DIY’fer, and are looking for a qualified contractor, get some references. Take a look at the quality of their work. Interview them and have a list of your concerns and your wishes. Don’t be afraid to talk budget!!! It is a MUST!!! Budget dictates EVERYTHING. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing the budget, you have hired the wrong person. You need to know that the contractor/designer will be sensitive to your budget and to your wishes. If there is a large discrepancy between contractors on price…beware! They shouldn’t be that far apart. If it sounds too good to be true…it probably is!!! What you don’t want to happen is that once into the job, everything is EXTRA! There will almost always be some hidden problem in remodels, just due to the fact that sometimes you run into some issues once you break into a wall. This is where trust in your contractor is HUGE!

Maybe a major remodel isn’t even something you may need. Sometimes you can get a different look just by simplifying your space. Paint can make a world of difference. Rearrange your furniture. Go thru each of your rooms and make a list of your likes and dislikes. What is the purpose of that particular room and does it work for that purpose? Do you even use that space? If not, why?

I had a formal living/dining area in my home that we never even walked into. We celebrated Christmas morning in there and occasionally when people came over, we would go in there, but I can honestly say it went unused about 90% of the time. However, my kitchen was always packed!!!! That is where we lived, but it wasn’t big enough. So, once I decided that I really liked my neighborhood and for the most part, my home, I realized that some remodeling made more sense than the move we were considering. In a new home, I would get a smaller house for more money and it still wouldn’t be everything that I wanted. So, I decided to knock the wall out between my kitchen and formal dining/living area. Best decision I ever made!!!

When I remodeled the kitchen, I had a counter height bar built between the two spaces and doubled the size of my kitchen, which gave more room for all of the crowds and all the living we do. I tell people all of the time… you can build a huge home and have many rooms for many things, but people will still end up congregating in the kitchen! It has been, and will always be, the heart of the home!

So, was the remodel the right thing for me? ABSOLUTELY!!! It made my home more livable for me and I will have many years to enjoy the decision that I made. Also, it increased the value of my home, much more than what the remodel cost me. I absolutely LOVE my kitchen! Now, that part of the house that was never used before has become a very active space in our home!

Don’t let fear be what stops you from enjoying your home to the fullest. I am sure you have seen many friends and family remodel and enjoy their home even more. Talk to them, get names of those professionals that you can interview and find the one that is right for you. If you aren’t enjoying your home and living in the spaces, figure out why and make some changes. Like I said earlier… it doesn’t have to be a major remodel for your home to function better. Sometimes, it just may take another “critical eye” to help you see its true potential.

I hope this has been helpful. Remodeling can be messy and a real pain, HOWEVER, when it is over… it can make your home/life so much richer. Live your life to the fullest. Enjoy each day and be grateful for the choices you get to make. Life is truly a blessing and your home is where you go to experience it. Make it the best you can! Research, plan, and enjoy!!!!

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