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7 Insider Tips For Planning Major Home Renovation Works
There comes a point in every home-owning adult’s life when a decision has to be made to either move to a new house or stay in the existing one.
And I’m not just talking about simple relocations without any real commitment.
I’m referring to the type of decision where the motivations behind it is to finally live in that dream home the person had always dreamed about.
When you are standing on the crossroads of this dilemma, you would be looking at the horizon of 10 to 20 years of living in a house. Maybe even beyond that.
This is why serious considerations have to be taken or such a major decision.
If the decision has been made to stay, then the construction project of converting the existing house into the dream house commences.
This is when key ideas towards planning for major remodeling works can be critical for the smooth execution of the plan.
If you have decided to stay and currently facing this renovation scenario, do take the following things into consideration before kickstarting the building project.
1) Does it fit into the neighborhood
You might not really care about whether the value of the house goes up or down since you are approving the renovations to build the “ideal” house in your mind.
However, do take a step back and review this. Even if it’s just for your own entertainment.
It’s not a good idea to have the biggest and most glorious house in a low-end neighborhood. This is because if the houses in the area of in really bad shape and the households there have little interest to give their homes a facelift as well, the value of your remodeled house will potentially be stagnant.
The value of the neighborhood can very well hold down the value of the house even if it looks gorgeous!
And if the value of real estate in the area are already decreasing, don’t for a moment think that you can reverse that trend due to the remodeling. It does not work that way.
Macro factors will trump micro factors 9 out of 10 times.
It won’t feel good at all to spend $50,000 on remodeling and then seeing the property value drop.
Being the biggest and poshest house will also make it the target of burglars and vandals.
2) Avoid overbuilding
You might be tempted to maximize the available living area as much as the building code allows.
While having a bigger living room and extensions can induce the feeling of luxurious living, building more than necessary is generally not a good idea if it does not make practical sense.
A house that is too big will inevitably be neglected one way or another.
Because after the euphoria of having more living space, inhabitants will eventually grow tired of it and spend little time in those extra space… Creating an empty ambience in certain rooms and areas.
Yet housekeeping has to be continue in those neglected areas. That can really be a source of frustration and annoyance.
And also think about the resale value again.
If and when you intend to sell the house, potential buyers might simply walk away because they have no need for such a big house and the various add-ons that don’t interest them.
3) Have a cash buffer on top of your budget
If you have had the experience of a few renovation projects under your belt, you will know that going over the budget is almost a certainty.
So never think that this is the moment that you will finally put your foot down on the budget and stick to it like there’s no tomorrow.
It won’t happen.
A lot of impromptu situations are going to arise during the course of works-in-progress and you will have to make decisions that will affect the total construction costs.
And since you are undertaking the project of building the dream house, the odds are that you are going to lean towards better quality and materials, leading to more expenses.
Remember the the renovation budget is just an estimate. Movements from the figures you have worked out tend to go up rather than down.
Keeping a cash buffer of about 20% above the budget to accommodate unforeseen expenses is a good idea.
4) Do not bet on completion within the schedule
Seldom, if ever, will works be completed right on time as per the schedule.
Contractors know this and have no reservations with agreeing to a schedule in the first place. This is because there are always clauses in these contracts. And these clauses will always be triggered.
You see… builders and contractors know that there will always be changes like add-ons as mentioned in point #3 that will come into the picture during the works.
These changes are reason enough to extend the projected completion date as more time will be required.
Even if there are no written clauses stating these delays and time extensions due to changes, the reasonable person in you is expected to understand the circumstances as it is you who requested the changes and add-ons.
5) Staggering renovations
There are a lot of logical explanations why homeowners choose to spread out renovation works over the course of a few years.
They would do up the common areas like the kitchen first, then move on a bedroom next year, and another the year after, and so on.
If it is within your financial means, I strongly suggest against that. It is better to have everything done at one go.
This would allow contractors to charge less due to bulk orders and economies of scale.
It would also help you avoid the bad situation of having that contractor unavailable to take on your project the following years.
Having a new contractor continue the works done by a previous contractor can open a new can of worms for all parties involved. It’s just a very bad idea.
On top of that, it is better to live with the inconvenience of having remodeling works done at home once for an extended period, than to have to go through it over and over again.
6) Licenses and permits
It is no longer straight forward to conduct renovation works at home like it was decades ago.
These days, a lot of different permits and licenses are required for different types of works.
Make sure you at least understand the basics of these requirements to adhere to.
Homeowners usually leave these details to the contractors. So if you are doing that as well (which is very likely), ensure that you hire a contractor who is reputable and reliable… at least in the local community.
These days, you can hire a main contractor who will take on and deliver the whole project for you.
They do all sorts of task like interior design, wiring, plumbing, etc, by hiring their own network of professionals and experts in their particular areas of expertise.
You can then have the main-con as the point of contact.
However, if you decided to hire and put together your own team for the projects, do understand that you are taking on a real mess.
Unless you have experience in building projects, it is not advisable to be your own project manager. Even if you cousin is an electrician who insist on taking on the wiring job for you.
Finally, remember to get at least 3 quotations from 3 different contractors before deciding on one. For some reason, price quotes in this industry can vary in a high degree.