Get a fixer upper they said, it will be fun they said… so we did. Originally, I had images of beautiful open spaces with clean walls and hand scraped hardwood floors, while my husband, who is a Carpenter (Mr. Reality Check), kept saying “sounds beautiful and will cost us about $60,000” –so I had to re-evaluate.
With all of the DIY television shows, visual ideas or blogs on Pinterest I am not surprised that most of us (myself included) are EXCITED to roll up our sleeves and tackle home renovations on our own. Although the final product is STUNNING, what these resources don’t tell you is how long, dirty, expensive and exhausting renovation can be.
Below are 5 renovation REALITY CHECKS… I mean tips… to consider before you start your renovation.
- FOREVER HOME OR FLIP: If this home is a “forever home” then making design decisions directly related to your personal taste are OK! However, if this a “flip home” then keeping the entire home’s palette neutral and away from trends will serve you better when it comes to re-sale. Instead use accessories, like pillows, carpets and wall décor to add trendy colour.
- SET A REALISTIC BUDGET: Budgets are essential to a smooth running renovation. Set an overall budget, break it down per project, then add a 10% contingency fund for the unexpected or just in-case you MUST have that crazy expensive pendant light (this happened .. don’t judge). Having this budget works like a buffer between you and the contractor or in my case, husband. The rule is, if it isn’t in the budget then you can’t have it OR you have to sacrifice somewhere else to get it. If you are wondering where to start, ask your realtor for their advice. We did just that- our realtor looked at comparables in the area of what upgrades were completed and offered us a maximum amount we should invest in our home.
- HIRE A PROFESSIONAL: Yes you can “Google it” but DON’T – YouTube is wonderful for decorating tips, but not a good idea when trying to re-wire the electrical in your home or opening up a space. There is a reason that the trades are a profession. If you want to dig in and get dirty, talk to your contractor about how to cut labour costs or projects that you can do on your own time.
- MAKE ALL YOUR DESIGN DECISIONS BEFORE YOU START: This may seem OCD but indecisiveness can affect the cost of a renovation exponentially. You may think it is “just a faucet” but without the faucet you can’t complete items like: the plumbing, install the countertop, install the cabinetry, cut the countertop, decide on the backsplash and the list goes on and on. Moral of the story make your decisions in ADVANCE, it will save you money.
- HIGH END LOOK for LESS: LOVE a $6 sq.ft tile but it is waaayyy out of your budgeted price range? (been there) One tip would be to use the more expensive tile as an accent or boarder, then pick a less expensive tile for the main part. Also, keep in mind that paint can work wonders, sometimes a full renovation isn’t needed, a fresh coat of paint and some refinished furniture will do the trick.
Comment below if you have renovation tips or questions!
– Kristy Hurley
Public Relations, ’09