When shopping for your first or next home, renovations are almost always a given. Whether it’s a matter of personal taste or improving the general quality of the home, deciding to take on the task of giving a new home a facelift before moving in can be costly and time consuming — but often worth it!
However, determining if your potential new home is worth the investment of both your time and money is always important to consider before taking the final plunge.
Before You Swing That Hammer…
Getting ready to move into a new place that needs work is equally exciting (you get to tailor the house to your personal needs) and also challenging. Organization is going to be key. To avoid feeling overwhelmed by all the projects, costs, and inevitable mishaps, sitting down to plan out as many details as possible is a great idea. Of course you may not be able to plan for everything, but it never hurts to have a plan B.
According to home renovation experts at Life Storage, “Whether you’re planning an entirely DIY home renovation or hiring contractors for the work, there is a lot to organize before getting started.” They recommend six important factors to consider before going forward with your renovations in order to get the best results:
- Determine Your Scope of Work and Timeline: After deciding on all the areas of your house that you want tackle, put together a rough timeline for each task and try to stick to it.
- Should You Be Your Own General Contractor?: In order to best evaluate (and answer) this question, gauge the size of each project and how much money you’ll be investing into it.
- Interview Contractors and Get Quotes: It’s OK if you aren’t 100 percent sold on the personality, style, and price of a particular contractor, even if they come highly recommended. It’s important to get at least two quotes in order to weigh all your options and find the best company for you.
- Set a Budget: Think big and small when setting your budget; include everything you can possibly think of. This includes contractor fees, materials, inspection fees, truck or trailer rentals for hauling, tool rentals, and more.
- Open a Bank Account for Your Home Renovation: In order to keep your renovation finances and your other finances separate and accounted for, dedicate an account solely to your renovations. It’ll save you a lot of confusion.
- Clean, Purge, and Demo: Take this opportunity to truly refresh your space by giving it a good clean and purging it of all the things you no longer have a need for. In conjunction, as you move forward with the demolition phase, you’ll really begin to see your renovations take shape.
Surprisingly, there is a lot of work to do before actually starting the renovations. It’s important to feel confident and comfortable with the level of renovation your future home needs, as it clearly will be quite a time and money sucker.
Finding the Easy Fixes First
With all of that in mind, not everything necessarily has to be a part of your renovation plans. Some things on your list might just need to be cleaned up and treated with some classic TLC. Some good rules of thumb can actually be taken from traditional home-staging tricks. Home staging is, of course, used in an effort to sell a home, but many of the (affordable!) tips can be used when taking on the task of your fixer-upper.
For example, your front door is an easy and quick portal to add some charm and elegance to your house. Painting your front door with a focal point color that contrasts and coordinates with your house can really amplify the look of your home. Don’t forget about the front door knockers, knobs, and other hardware; replacing them if they’re worn or outdated can freshen up the front area as well. Safety is another thing to be taken into consideration. Ensure that any stairs and handrails are in good shape — and don’t be afraid to add a fresh coat of paint to them too.
Furthermore, if you’re really looking for a quick but impactful fix, consider these other home-staging tips:
- Rearrange your lighting so that each of your rooms are well lit at, day or night.
- Judge the view of each room in your home from the doorway. Consider adding new (simple) arrangements such as an eye-catching chair or lamp that are partially visible from the door.
- Examine your walls, trim, doors, windows and other woodwork for dirt and chips and give them a refresh.
- Enlist a friend whose decorating opinion you admire to take a tour of your house and provide you with creative, constructive criticism. A second pair of eyes can do wonders for your home.
Cutting Corners Where You Can
Not everything can be fixed with a fresh coat of paint (unfortunately). But that’s what your budget is for! Discovering that you need to replace the floors in your future home can often conjure up a sense of dread. Not only is this process usually expensive, you’ll likely have to hire a professional, adding to the overall cost.
Luckily, there are some more affordable options on the market these day that are cheaper than traditional flooring like hardwood — without sacrificing style. As Ambient Bamboo aptly describes, “hardwood flooring can cost $5-15 per square foot … bamboo flooring is only around $3-$5 per square foot shipped. Plus, it actually holds up better than hardwood floors over the course of a lifetime, saving you more money. It’s 3 times harder than oak, has the tensile strength of steel, and is way more eco-friendly than any hardwood.”
Having to completely replace something in your home can cut into your budget, so it’s worth looking into quality but more affordable options. Wallpaper offers a wider range of styles but is way more costly than painting. Compromising by painting some unique, funky, personal style yourself may cost you more of your time but will save you some serious cash — or at the very least considering wallpapering only one accent wall and painting the rest.
Ambient Bamboo also suggests opting for shower curtains in your bathroom, “While shower doors may seem like the obvious [low-cost] choice, many shower curtains actually prevent just as much water leakage and only cost about $20. Plus, shower curtains can add a pop of color or personalization to the bathroom.” At the end of the day weighing the pros and cons of those major purchases will be what saves you money. It might require a few compromises, but you also might end up being more pleased with the affordable option anyways!
If after budgeting, planning, and poring over the finer details, the renovations end up seeming like too much pressure on your wallet and time, then the house might not be right for you at this time. That’s OK!
Sometimes, it’s smarter to realize when it’s not the right time to commit. Knowing that you gave it your best consideration and effort to make it work is extremely valuable, and perhaps in the future you can try again. Moreover, if it is the right time, being meticulous in your plan might not help you anticipate all surprises, but it can at least help soften the blow. Clearly, organization will be your best friend through this difficult but rewarding process. Good luck!