It seems as though no matter one’s price range or interest, American culture has been thoroughly infiltrated with DIY and home renovation. Investors buy properties, renovate (“flip”) and sell, homeowners seeking to improve their lifestyle will take on project large and small, and those looking to reap substantial profit from their real estate invest in sometimes extensive remodeling. No matter where you fall on the scale (even if you’re just a fan of HGTV), one thing is for sure – if you renovate, you’ll need to recuperate – and if done right, you WILL be able to celebrate!
Let me tell you how, and why …
Just as real estate’s mantra of “location, location, location” holds true for property, once you are in a home, every professional will tell you: kitchens and bathrooms make (or break) a sale. That said, one should add as a close runner-up, flooring, as like our skin, it is everywhere and always evident to the eye. While there are endless upgrades one can make to a home, these three will, if done well (I’ll explain), not only greatly improve your lifestyle as a homeowner but can provide you significant profit on the funds you invest on the project.
As but one example, if you have two bathrooms and renovate them thoroughly, perhaps you would spend $10,000 – and that’s not small change! However, how would you feel if that investment increased the value of your home by $15,000? That’s a 150% profit and if the reno is done well, very conceivable. Where else can you make 150% on your money and enjoy the results too?!?
Here is what you need to do …
· PLAN. Consider the condition of the area(s) you want to improve and seek the advice of a trusted professional (realtor, general contractor, appraiser, home inspector). They can provide you market-wise information on how your property compares and what improvements could substantially increase its value (whether or not you are renovating to sell or to enjoy its benefits as the ongoing homeowner).
· DESIGN. Again, here is where professional guidance is crucial. There are endless choices when considering kitchen, bathroom, and flooring changes – and so many of them are both affordable AND will put a smile on your face. However, making choices that both please you AND will most effectively increase your home’s value are key to getting the “win win win” out of your project.
· HIRE. Unless you are professionally suited, please – hire a pro. I can’t tell you how many times I (and so many of my colleagues) have seen “home-grown” renovations made with lots of “blood, sweat, and tears” but unfortunately appear as amateurish, even to the untrained eye. Using a trusted professional to do work on the most major investment of your financial assets simply makes good sense.
· PLAN. Know that no matter the extent of the renovation, two things will occur: 1) there will be something unplanned, whether a problem uncovered or a repair not feasible; the more you are emotionally prepared to accept the reality of a “problem,” the easier that will be, and 2) because of this, budget 10% overage, just in case … and be thrilled when you don’t need to use it, because you’ve hired a real pro, and you’ve been lucky!
· PLAN. Are you getting the picture? Any renovation will be an inconvenience to your normal lifestyle, to some degree. When you plan how to mitigate that, you increase your tolerance level (e.g. using the microwave instead of the stove, doing dishes in a bathroom sink, etc.).
· WATCH, LISTEN, LEARN. During the renovation, trust your professional – but be present. Ask questions, be a careful observer, and you will be amazed at what you learn and how you feel much less overwhelmed – but rather, partnered into the process with your professional.
· PLAN. Again?!? It is rare that the time-frame for a project will reflect its actual construction/completion schedule. Be sure you have not scheduled that “I gotta have it party” just 2 days after you are told the expected length of the project.
· CLEAN. Whew – it’s done – the workers are gone – time to pop the cork on the champagne? Not yet. Be sure you have your home thoroughly cleaned (including ductwork in your A/C system); there is no end to dust particles from flooring, grout, tile cutting, etc. Once your project is complete and your home is cleaned, you are GOOD TO GO!
Finally, I confess – I know this so well because I just went through it. We fully renovated three bathrooms, re-carpeted three bedrooms, and changed out the flooring on several of the living areas. What we were told would be 4-6 weeks became ten trying weeks, but it’s done, the house is clean, it is GORGEOUS – and we have surely reaped that sweet 150% profit margin when sale time approaches (not too soon – we’re enjoying our home too much).
Best of luck and write me with your thoughts,