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Three Things to Ask Yourself Before Renovating

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Deciding to embark on a home renovation is a big task. Depending on the size of the project, it could take weeks to complete and will be expensive. It's important to be sure the renovation is what you want for your home before signing a contract with the company that will carry out the work.

Prices and Value

There are several things homeowners should ask themselves before deciding to start a renovation. The first one may be one of the biggest determinants: cost. The price of the remodel will depend on the size of the change, the materials you wish to use and the features you want. According to SFGate, a typical kitchen renovation could cost as much as $100,000 or more. Retrofitting the heating, air conditioning and ventilation system could be closer to $10,000. While home loans are available, it's still important to consider the cost of the renovation.1

If a renovation is out of your price range with a good contractor, it can be tempting to seek out more affordable options. House Beautiful warned homeowners away from this, explaining it is usually cheaper for a reason. Instead, ask a respected contractor for a detailed estimate so you can see how much each item will cost.2 Then, ask other contractors for price estimates on each of these items. This way, it's easy to see where things are costing more for different contractors and where you may be able to save some money.

Beyond that, SFGate pointed out doing work on your home should add value to it. You may be planning on living in the home for many more years, but there will come a time when your home will need to be sold. At that point, how much value you added over the years will come to light. Most renovations are meant to add value, but it's important to consider how much it's actually adding.

Know What You Want

Once you've decided the home renovation is in your budget, it's time to get specific. Arthur Sadura, a New York City-based contractor, told it's important to know what you want the final product to look like and what materials need to make that happen.3

"My favorite clients know what they want at the end of the project and leave it up to the contractor as to how to get to that point," Sadura explained. "They're involved in the process more than most homeowners would be. They pick out their products beforehand."

Researching decisions like what kind of materials you want used will save time for the contractor and save time spent making decisions later on.

Style at Home explained it's also important to know what limitations you have, based on your current home structure. If your ideal renovation won't fit into what you physically have in place, you'll need to adjust your plan and things may end up looking differently than what you originally planned.4

Other limitations may arise from the current state of your house. Leaks and other damage could drive up the price unexpectedly, so it's a good idea to be prepared for this. SFGate suggested hiring a home inspector to detect any issues that could become a problem for the contractor later on.

Find Your Reason

Before jumping into a major renovation, it's important for homeowners to stop and ask themselves why the renovation is needed. This will help to determine if a project is worth it and how big of a renovation is needed to achieve the goal.

For instance, SFGate explained some goals can be accomplished through smaller projects. If you're considering completely changing your living room because you want a new look, consider painting the walls or replacing the floor. This will not only add value, but it will be less time-consuming and more cost-effective than a complete renovation.5

Another reason people may wish to remodel a home is to accommodate an elderly family member who wishes to age in place or one with a physical disability, Stuff, a New Zealand news organization, explained.6 If this is the case, it's important to know exactly what will be needed, such as changes in the bathroom to make it more accessible or installing a ramp as an alternative to stairs already in place. In this case, it is important to get into the fine details of the renovation. Hiring a contractor who has worked with clients in this situation may be helpful in making some of these decisions.

Of course, if your reason is specifically to increase the resale value of the home, such as the case when flipping a house or getting to rent it out, it's essential to ensure each change does improve the home's quality.

Making the decision to remodel a home is a big one and can feel uncertain at first. But, when you find the answers to these questions, going forward with your renovation will be it's important to know what you want the final product to look like and what materials need to make that happen.


1 SFGate
2 House Beautiful
4 Style at Home
5 SFGate
6 Stuff

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