Renovation Tips for Southern California Homes

Renovation Tips for Southern California Homes
  • Opening Intro -

    If you live in Los Angeles, San Diego, or anywhere else in sunny Southern California, you have a unique opportunity when it comes to home renovations.

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The top five highest real estate markets in the US are all in California, meaning that if you do the work of renovating your home now, it is likely to pay off significantly when your home is sold. 

Southern California residents have another advantage that their northern CA friends do not: good weather. San Francisco, the fifth-highest real estate market in the country, is known for its sunshine, but also for its persistent fog and damp weather. San Diego, on the other hand, is dry and construction-friendly year round. 

When you begin to plan your home renovations, think not only about your own needs, but also about the needs of future homeowners. Additions, for example, are always popular; adding an extra bedroom or home office space to your San Diego home will make it attractive to new tech workers, freelancers, or families. 

Playing to these three demographics — tech workers, freelancers, and families — is an important strategy for your home renovation plans, especially in sunny California, which is home to tech and new media companies from Facebook to Apple, as well as the numerous freelancers who make up the writing, acting, and other entertainment communities that populate the city. A 2013 report indicated that California was the state creating the most freelance jobs, for example, and all of those freelancers need home office space. Sometimes adding a room to your home is all it takes to catapult you into a better real estate market.

Of course, planning renovations for future tenants is smart, but don’t forget that you’re going to be living with the renovations yourself for the next few years, both during the construction process and after the renovation is completed. If you want a finished basement and wet bar more than a new office space, build the wet bar of your dreams. If you don’t need an additional bedroom, consider building a multi-function room that can serve as a workout space for you and a third bedroom for a future owner. 

When you start your renovation process, have a plan for how you’re going to live in your own home as it is being renovated. If you’re one of SoCal’s many freelance workers, for example, will you be able to continue working from home? You may need to invest in a desk at one of the many coworking spaces or shared offices that help Los Angeles or San Diego freelancers get things done. Some people who plan to make major home renovations simply bite the bullet and move out temporarily, investing in a short-term apartment rental or furnished sublet until their home renovation project is finished.

As always, make sure your renovations are strategic investments. Do not spend more money renovating your home than you can afford; even with real estate markets as high as they are right now, you cannot guarantee that home prices will begin to drop in the near future. On the other hand, California does not have a shortage of potential homeowners; in fact, its cities are known for their overpopulation. This makes investing in your home’s potential resale value a smart decision, although — as always — there are no sure things and no easy money. If you’re going to renovate your home, do it for yourself first, and future owners second.

And one final renovation tip: if you’re building a room addition, make sure you’ve got a few southern-facing windows. These not only let in the beautiful California sun, but can also reduce your home’s energy footprint, especially when you add a small awning. Keep that in mind as you start your renovation planning and work towards building the Southern California home of your dreams!

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