With new home construction prices still out of reach for many homeowners, an addition or remodel to an existing home can be a great investment and provide the excitement of something new and fresh. Remodeling a portion of your home can also pay for itself in a future sale. High return areas include kitchen, baths, porches and decks, and landscaping.
However, home remodeling and additions are stressful. From strangers in your living space to money worries, it can present a difficult situation. Throw in schedule and cost over-runs, and you may wish you had not started it at all. The good news is that 80% of the people who remodeled say they are glad they suffered through it.
Ready to begin? Here are seven quick tips to navigate the process smoothly.
- Get everyone in on the advice. Hold a brainstorming session with your family or friends to come up with the best ideas. Write everything down and then consider the pros and cons of each idea. This also works for designs. From bringing the laundry room upstairs to building a bump-out dining area, this session is fun.
- Choose a professional contractor. If this is your line of work, then have at it. Otherwise, I recommend you use licensed professionals. You may pay a little more for this level, but you’ll all but eliminate the nightmares of shoddy and unsafe work, an injury at your home that is not covered by insurance, financial irresponsibility, and not providing follow-up service and guarantees.
- Consider simple changes. While you might wish for a large addition, it’s expensive. Consider removing a non-structural interior wall and unnecessary doors to open up space for a great room, a much less expensive remodel. Use the guest room as a double duty media room or game room. Expand the deck or porch and enclose half of it for year round living.
- Add 20% to your budget. Whatever the remodeling plan is, help head off financial surprises by upping your budget allowance. Maybe you’ll have something left over for decorating.
- Don’t skip the contract. A handshake deal is OK for simple chores when you know who you are dealing with, but having a detailed written agreement for large jobs is critical. Read the contract carefully, ask questions, and make sure everyone has signed it. This is a legally binding agreement if things go wrong.
- Don’t fall for the Fad of the Day style or color in your decorating. Stick close to the colors and styles you have already, but move a few creative steps out. Completely changing the theme of one area will make it appear disjointed from the rest of the home.
- Get rid of junk. A lot of “stuff” around the house makes the spaces look small. Why not clear things out just before the holidays? For the things that you cannot part with, build bookcases on several walls with doors on the lower shelves. You’ll be amazed at how much hidden storage you will get, and just how much space is available on the shelves. Shallow shelving works wonders in a small kitchen too.
We all enjoy change from time to time. If you just need a fresh perspective and don’t have much cash, consider fresh paint and rearranging the furniture!