What Everyone Should Know Before Renovating a Home

What Everyone Should Know Before Renovating a Home
  • Opening Intro -

    If you’re planning a home renovation project, you have a certain “end” in mind.

    That end, or result, likely includes one or all of the following: you want to improve your living space, enhance your home’s appearance or increase its resale value.


Certainly, your goal may be to simply enjoy the new benefit of having a finished basement and you aren’t worried about whether you’ll ever see a return on your investment. After all, it is the usability of a home that appeals to you and little else.

Still, there are some things you may want to consider before taking on a home renovating project including some matters very few people talk about:

Renovating can be a major inconvenience

— Gutting a kitchen can produce some wonderful dividends including an improved food preparation area, new appliances or perhaps an expanded eating area. But, these projects take time to complete and often do not work out quite the way homeowners imagine. Your contractor may say that the job will take 10-14 days to complete, but if there are any hang ups, you could see a month or more of having to do without a kitchen. Ordered counter tops may be delayed, your town’s inspector may be away on vacation or a structural problem may require that a subcontractor be called in to shore up a sinking floor or handle a wall that must be moved. Expect inconvenience and surprises along the way — be prepared to deal with problems as they crop up.

Cost overruns are common

— You’ve budgeted $50,000 for your renovation project and when all is said and done you’ve been handed a bill just north of $65,000. Why such a discrepancy? For many reasons including the sharply increased cost of copper, labor cost overages because of the subcontractor called in to handle an unforeseen problem or maybe you decided that granite counters looked better than laminate. Unless you budgeted for the increased expense you may find yourself scrambling to pay for the excess costs. Can you go back to your bank and get your credit line increased or will you be forced to raid retirement savings to pay for the added cost?

Some projects aren’t what you expected

— Unless you are working with a general contractor and have detailed blueprints and plans in place, you may find your home renovation project just isn’t what you had expected. Which is why you need to be able to visualize as much as anticipate what you’re getting and being available to check on the project’s progress frequently, in person. Going away for a few weeks while workers add a second floor to your home may seem like a wonderful way to handle a renovation, but you still need to check in to see if the job is progressing as planned.

And there is that matter about resale value

— You may not think benefiting your home’s resale value should be a major concern, but you might want to reconsider that approach especially in these days of falling home prices. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t renovate your home now, but it does mean that you should carefully plan your project to get what you want without needlessly tackling something that just isn’t right for you. Making changes later on adds to your inconvenience and increase the cost of your project.

So, there you have it. Some points to consider as you plan your renovation project. Certainly, if you can be out of the house when the work is done, your inconvenience level will be minimized. Just stay in contact with your contractor and plan to stop by from time to time to monitor progress.

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Categories: Home Renovation

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".