It’s exciting to be the brand new owner of an older house with lots of 20th-century charm – your home is unique and has a personality all its own!
And it needs work. A fair bit of it.
A home renovation can be a very intimidating prospect, and below we have provided a few thoughts and tips to help you through the process so that you can avoid expensive mistakes.
Don’t ignore potentially expensive problems. A leaky roof or a suspicious water stain in your bedroom wall is not as exciting as having the latest tile installed in the master bath, just like you saw on Pinterest, but putting off those less glamorous types of issues could be devastating in the long run.
Do take realistic stock of all your renovation needs and the costs associated with them. Lists are your friend in this area; make a one-year plan, a five-year plan, and a long-term plan, and stick to it, no matter what. Remember, there are always things you will WANT to do, and then there are those things you HAVE to do.
Don’t hire the very first general contractor, roofer, or electrician that you talk to. Get at least three or more estimates on any work that needs to be completed. Get references and ensure that the company you may be hiring has a good reputation and expertise in working on (and completing!) homes that are similar in style and age to your home. Remember, the work that will be done to your home during this renovation will impact the long-term value of your investment!
Do consider what you will be dealing with before you start knocking down walls. Your general contractor will be able to talk you through this process. Electrical utilities, pipes, and structural elements are all part of the walls of your home, and they will need to be handled correctly once the plaster comes down.
Don’t hesitate to hire a professional general contractor. Let’s be honest; most of us just don’t have the time or the skills to renovate a home the way they do on tv.
Do paint. A few coats of quality primer and paint can be a very cost-effective way to breathe life into dark and tired looking spaces. Painting is something most of us can do ourselves, which will save you some money that can be used to hire a professional contractor to handle the more complex projects.
Don’t forget the HOA. If there are neighborhood guidelines, abide by them. There’s nothing worse than spending money on a project, only to have to tear it apart later, at your own expense.
Do get to know your neighbors. Ask them what renovation projects they have been through, what general contractor or other local professionals they have used, and how it is to live through a renovation. After all, you might be living next to these people for a long time. Might as well make friends!