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Time to Renovate! A must read before you swing that hammer.

April 11, 2016

home renovationDid you ever turn on HGTV and think, “I want that chef’s kitchen in my home” or “I would love to have a spa master bath”? The good news is that with interest rates still relatively low and the housing market thriving in major cities, now is the time to consider renovations to your home. Besides, don’t you deserve that dream kitchen & bath?

Here are some tools to get you started.

Why are you renovating? Clarify your motivations. Are you renovating to fix? To sell? To improve utility? To create a comfortable home? To hike the value of your property? Articulating your goal can guide you in prioritizing repairs and improvements.

Draw up a plan: Prioritize the projects on your ‘wish list’. Experts advise that you narrow your project to one at a time because your needs may change. Choose and buy your material and tools for that phase and produce ‘construction documents’ only for that segment. Operating this way makes the work more doable.

Consider the costs: A good idea is to draw out your budget before you start. Extensive home renovations, which include design, construction, and securing permits, take approximately a year. Would it be cheaper for you to remodel or cheaper to move? Moreover, if you’re intending to renovate in order to increase the value of your property, consider the predictive value of your home and neighborhood. Would your house become too expensive to buy? A real estate agent and a general contractor could answer these questions. If you’re intending to buy a property to renovate, have a contractor estimate the costs first. You don’t want to find yourself out of pocket after you’ve pocketed the key! It’s also a good idea to pad some dollars to your budget. There’s bound to be speed-bumps along the way.

Find the potential: One of the blessings of remodeling is that you have the chance to polish some obstructed potential. Your house may have some hidden character that you may want to highlight such as a quaint stairway that has been covered by yellow paint, or a 19th-century historical architectural façade that was speckled over by whitewash. Remodeling gives you the opportunity to develop it. Consider hiring an architect or designer who specializes in residential renovations. They can point out property potentials and inadequacies and maybe help you find alternate solutions to problem areas.

Investigate constraints: If you’re considering an addition or extensive remodel, you may have constraints on height limit, lot coverage, or grading. Your property came with a title report that should describe covenants on the building. Some homes are ‘non-conformist’ which means you can remodel almost as you please but others have current land-code requirements or are located in historic areas. In all cases, check with your building department before smashing that sledgehammer against the wall.


Laurie Fisher

Personal Lines Account Manager

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