Real Estate: 4 Tips for a Seamless Home Renovation

I looooove renovations!  Having been through my fair share of projects — I can genuinely say that I do love them.  I’m probably in the minority for said affections since there are a lot of headaches and setbacks associated with home renovation projects.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve found myself wanting to pull out my hair at times, but I love them nonetheless. 

Also, don’t mistake my affection for expertise — time has likely made me somewhat more astute than your average first timer — but, I consider myself more of an “enthusiast”.  However, if you ask me, enthusiasm really IS half the battle! You may be asking, “What’s the other half?”…..That’s where a good plan comes in.  So here are a few tips to consider for planning your next project:

Tip 1:  Begin with the end in mind — you don’t have to have all of the answers, just at least ensure you’ve asked yourself all of the questions. Have a really clear vision of how your life flows, what’s most important to you and what you can’t live without.  Also weigh out items as what’s “nice to have” vs “must haves”.  Most importantly, your home, your domain is a reflection and a statement about you, your family, your lifestyle, your passions — what will you have it say?  During my most recent renovation, I knew that I wanted to have: a soaking tub, a fireplace and an open floor plan.  But more importantly, I needed to ensure that my home didn’t feel stuffy or seem like someplace where people can’t kick back and feel comfortable — or too museum-like, where I’d be afraid to let a baby have at it and let loose! 

Tip 2:  Shop for a great team, not just a great price tag — once you have a clear vision it’s time to assemble the dream team!  Admittedly, I’m a bit biased but while you don’t have to hire my hubby, hiring some form of a design professional to develop your vision on paper is the way to go.   They get into all of the technical aspects that you likely haven’t considered, and get you to maybe even push yourself beyond where your imagination first thought was possible.  That gives a contractor a more precise idea of your expectations, so that your quotes/estimates are as comprehensive as possible.  While a lot of people feel like cutting the design professional out of the process is an easy cost saving strategy, in the end it will cost more to fix things that hadn’t been planned out properly.  A good contractor is worth their weight in gold, but for the most part, he or she is executing on what they’re being told to do — so if you haven’t considered items that seem simple like where the light switches should go,  or how far from the fridge the edge of the counter should be to allow for comfortable traffic flow — you could end up spending more if things have to be fixed, redone, ripped out or reordered. 

Tip 3: Budget like a Baller…’s accountant — unforeseen expenses are almost always waiting to rear their ugly heads and rain on a project’s parade.  Being overly cautious at the outset makes for a smoother time when those bumps in the road DO happen.  At a minimum, add about a 10% contingency reserve.  If you don’t end up needing it, even better!  Splurge on that light fixture or piece of furniture that you’d been pining after — but if you do need it, you’ll be so happy that you didn’t have to sacrifice a part of the reno that you were really looking forward to.

Tip 4:  Celebrate the milestones —  The process can be a long one so you can often lose sight of where you’re headed but more importantly, where you’ve started out.  I cannot tell you how many times I speak to people about their reno’s and ask, “do you have any ‘before photos’” and there’s a resounding “aww, man –no–I didn’t think of it”.   In my experience, I’m able to relish the little milestones that my projects have reached by looking back at what got me motivated to get started and realizing how proud I am for where I’ve come thus far.

In the end, it’s a journey and it’s meant to be enjoyed.  When you’re ready to take a swing of the hammer, having your ducks in a row can just make it a bit smoother.  There will be bumps, there may even be some bruises — but relish in it all because you’re putting your personal stamp on your own little slice of heaven on this Earth…making a house you might’ve just purchased from total strangers, a HOME of your very own….Congratulations!

That’s all for now, let me know what you think and how your renos are going!  Share photos because I LOVE a good #beforeandafter!!! 

Tracy Clennon
Real Estate Salesperson
Rockville Centre Office
36 S. Park Ave.
Rockville Centre, NY

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