Considering a Home Renovation?

Whether you have just bought your home or have owned it for 10 years, there will come a time when you consider a home renovation or  remodel. Here are some quick tips:

1.) Does your home need updating or renovating?
Many times a "face lift" is all a home needs to give it a new home feeling. Consider what it is that needs to be updated verses a full renovation. Is it the bathroom, the kitchen? Replacing wallpaper with a fresh coat of paint, removing popcorn ceilings are easy updates you can do yourself. Updating light fixtures, outlet switch plates, cabinet hardware and faucets are other simple improvements which will modernize a home for fairly inexpensive. So before you dive head first into a full-on renovation, give careful consideration to how updates might just do the trick!

2.) Consider low-cost alternatives:
Even if you are on a budget, there are plenty of options for your home improvements. You do not always have to select the most expensive product to have a winning outcome. For example, in the bathroom, you can look at acrylic tubs and sinks as a more affordable alternative to fiberglass or marble. Or if you are considering granite, you can shop around for granite tiles instead of slabs which offer a similar feel but for a fraction of the cost.

3.) Go Green?
Long term "green" updates hold their value. At resale, window replacements recoup roughly 76% of their original cost according to Remodeling Magazine's 2009-10 Cost vs. Value report. To replace windows in a home ranges between $11,000 to $18,000 which, although seems like a lot on paper, could in the long run save you even more in utility expenses. Plus, depending on the age of your home, real estate resale values could be positively impacted when considering an older home with updated windows. Other options include replacing your appliances with Energy Star rated appliances, energy efficent tank-less hot water heaters and LED lighting, which will cut your monthly expenses, while lending a helping hand to the environment. If going green is something you are thinking about doing, make sure you check into your local government tax incentives!

4.) Stick to your decisions:
Indecisions can cause an expensive remodel nightmare! Before you begin your home renovation, make sure you have carefully planned everything out. Ripping apart a project half way through can cost thousands of dollars in not only lost time but in non-returnable items or lost deposit money for special orders. Ask for a mock-up, or other visuals of how the completed project will look before you make any final decisions. Take your time, do your home work and don't be afraid to ask for help or suggestions or to try different options before you commit to the project. Once your decisions are made, consider them final - otherwise you could be in for a long, costly road ahead.

5.) Value verses Quality:
Although it seem that paying less for something is a good idea when trying to stay on a remodel budget. But remember the old adage, "you pay for what you get?" You should make your product selection and renovation plans based on value and quality - not just price. You will be better off in the long run paying slightly more for a better product then you will by going cheap and having to replace the product in a few months. Price should always be a consideration but not the final determination in your decision.

6.) Be creative and have fun!
Don't let stress take away the joy you will receive from making your home beautiful again. Although its good to have a plan, you will want to implement a little word called "flexibility" as well. If something doesn't go according to the exact plan, that doesn't mean the whole project is ruined. Allow your creative side to come out and roll with the remodel punches. There are plenty of options and multiple solutions to accomplish a design objective, a paint color scheme or a bath reconfiguration. Keep your mind open to the variety of options available and you will have more fun, less stress and the end result will be a beautiful home you love! 

7.) Shop around for contractors:
If you are consider more than "do-it-yourself" improvements, then you will need to shop around for a contractor. Get at least 3 separate bids for the job. You can ask your friends, relatives, neighbors or Realtor for recommendations. There are also plenty of great contractors to be found online. Keep in mind, a contractor bases bids partly on their work schedule. The busier they are, the more they may charge. But if they aren't busy at all, then you may want to consider why and the quality of their workmanship. Beyond the cost, make sure you research the company - check for current licensing and insurance. You can also check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints filed against them. Ask for reference of previous customers. Call those people to see about the quality of work and their overall experience working with the contractor. Trust your gut feel - if what they are quoting or promising you seems too good to be true, then is probably is! Make sure you get all bids in writing before you agree to anything.