Home renovation

Real estate marketing and beyond

There are many reasons why people decide to remodel their homes. First-time buyers tend to buy older homes that may be outdated. Or maybe you’ve been in your home for over a decade and can’t wait to become mortgage free. Investors have made big profits with fix-n-flip remodels. Whether you are a homeowner or an investor, the idea of ​​repairing an older home has been popular for many years.

Analysis of US Census data shows that at least half of the homes in America are over 37 years old. New York State has the highest median home age at 63 and Nevada has the lowest median home age at 26. This means that many roofs, furnaces, flooring and appliances have reached the end of their life. Reports show that most people planning a renovation intend to spend $10,000 or more. For that kind of money, you need to do some pre-planning.

1. What is going on in your life? Before making major decisions, think about what you expect from renovation for tomorrow and the next 5 or 10 years. Conversion of a 4and Bedroom in an office probably isn’t a good idea if you’re planning a family or see yourself caring for elderly parents in the years to come. On the other hand, home offices have become very popular as more and more people work from home. Personal needs matter.

2. Preliminary research:

  • List the renovation projects you are considering.
  • Chat with friends, neighbors, and even real estate agents about their home improvement experiences.
  • Go to some open houses in your neighborhood to see what others have done. Do research on the Internet and in magazines to get an overview of possible ideas.
  • Look for rough estimates for the ideas you are considering.
  • Research how your planned renovations will affect the value of your home.
  • If you are planning multiple projects, prioritize them.

3. Cost and budget. Your primary costs are for materials, labor, and local market conditions. You are going to want a minimum of 3 estimates and probably recommendations from contractors hired by people you trust. However, you can calculate your rough estimate using online calculators such as https://app.mykukun.com/Home-Renovation-Costs. Online estimates are just the beginning, and you should expect significant cost variations based on your specific needs, wants, and decisions.

  • Once you have some estimates from the contractors, it’s a good idea to add an extra 30% or 40% to cover changes and contingencies.
  • If you are removing or adding walls or making changes to foundations, you need the professional services of a structural engineer.
  • If you’re concerned about recouping your costs when you sell, you can prioritize your listing based on which renovations are most profitable. Typically, in descending order, these are kitchen, bathroom, siding, master bedroom, and attic bedroom additions.
  • Look for financing options if you’re not paying everything in cash. Banks generally lend 20% to 30% of the value of the house (this varies depending on your equity). If the house is appraised at $300,000 and your credit is decent, you should expect to be able to borrow $60,000 to $90,000 for renovations.
  • Common financing options are home equity line of credit, refinancing your home (preferably to lower the interest rate), home improvement or personal loans, and credit cards (generally the least preferred).

4. Hire your contractor. Once you’ve decided what you’re going to do and how you’re going to pay for it, it’s time to hire a contractor. This is when you set the final estimate. But always keep a 20% to 30% buffer in your budget. Prepare a list of questions specific to your project to ask each contractor. General questions include:

  • List of references?
  • Experience with your type of project and experience near you?
  • Licensed, bonded and insured (their liability insurance to protect you)? Check what you are told.
  • Any comparable projects you can see? Preferably real finished projects but at least videos or photos.
  • Timing and budget performance?
  • What are the payment terms? Down payment, milestones, deposit + final payment, materials + milestones, initial total (not desired), etc.
  • What is guaranteed and for how long?
  • Will you have one contact person for status and how often will you receive updates?
  • How will any changes that may be required be managed?
  • Ask how other parts of the house/landscape will be impacted and protected?
  • Find out about subcontractors? Make sure the general contractor takes responsibility for subcontractors.
  • How do you accommodate family and pets (if living in the house during the renovation)? Be sure to mention if you work from home.
  • Call references to ask if they were satisfied with the results, budget and schedule execution, how issues were handled, how long the work has been done, and if they would hire the contractor again ?
  • Anything specific to your project and situation.
  • Listen carefully to all of his answers. Especially when it comes to changes, budgets and planning.
  • Ask for a written and signed proposal and contract before work begins. If in doubt, put it in writing. Make sure all specifications are included. Specify required permits and government inspections. Have a well-drafted final acceptance clause.

5. Plan how you will live during the renovation. How will you and your family live during the renovation? Are you going to move? Are you going to put a plastic tarp between your living area and the construction area? Are you going to eat out during a kitchen renovation? How will you protect valuables and heirlooms with household workers? Will you and your family be safe from open holes and other obstacles? Is anyone allergic to dust or chemicals (paint and flooring)? Do you need a storage shed? Will you be able to get in and out of your driveway? Make sure your contractor will clean daily. What else should be planned?

6. Manage subcontractors. Errors will occur. Special order materials will arrive late, inspection dates will be missed, and a wall might even be built in the wrong place. Mentally prepare for these and other issues during construction when your patience is likely running low. Talk to your contractor regularly and report these issues as soon as you find them to avoid a ripple effect. Keep a list and go back to make sure errors have been corrected. All changes must be made in writing and include costs. Keep all communications cordial. If you lose your temper, apologize. Expect the same from him or her.

Soon you’ll be cooking in your dream kitchen, showering in luxury, or enjoying a high-tech lifestyle.

What are your renovation tips? Please add your comment.

Additionally, our weekly Ask Brian column welcomes questions from readers of all levels of experience with residential real estate. Please email your questions, inquiries or story ideas to [email protected]