Renovating A Home

Renovating vs. Moving
The first step before renovating a home is to decide if it's best to renovate or move.

Deciding Whether To Renovate

  • Evaluate your needs. How long you plan to be in the home, space you many need in the future, etc.
  • Compare renovation and moving costs. It could be less expensive to move than to renovate and make home improvements.
  • Watch the total project cost. Be sure the improvement doesn’t raise the price of your home so much that it’s the most expensive in the neighborhood.
  • Weigh the pros and cons. Don’t solve one problem but create another. For example, converting a garage into an office may affect resale value.
  • Consult the experts. Talk to your REALTOR® and get multiple contractor quotes before beginning your home improvement project.
  • Invest wisely. Make sure the home improvement cost will be recouped in the eventual sale of the house.
  • Make small investments. Sometimes several small renovations yield a better return than a major remodel.

Planning To Move

  • Save for a down payment
  • Have good credit
  • Get pre-approved. Homes go fast. Use a REALTOR®.
  • Have inspections.
  • Keep your lender updated with home purchase status.
  • Be flexible with the seller on items that are not important to you.
  • Talk regularly with your REALTOR® and lender to avoid stress in the process, and don’t pick a home you can’t walk away from.
Planning Your Renovation
Paint brush on paint can with calculator

Let’s Plan Your Renovation

It’s important to plan your renovation projects in a strategic and efficient way to maximize your budget. For example, new paint and flooring should be done after major demolition and framing projects. Also, contractors offer buyers the latest design trends and home layout options.

Tour New Homes For Inspiration

Before planning your home renovation, tour a few new model homes to look at how new homes are being laid out. If you live in a neighborhood, take a look at how your neighbors have renovated. You may pick up some ideas you never thought about that are a perfect fit for your home.

Take Advantage Of Existing Resources

  • Online resources are available to help you plan and design your home improvement project.
  • Your REALTOR® can also help you prioritize projects and often will have a network of contractors who may be able to bring the cost of your project down.
  • Contractors will know what styles are trending and how other homeowners are renovating their homes.
Your Renovation Budget

When renovating your home, it is important to set a total renovation budget and stick to it. An important part of your renovation budget will depend on what parts of the renovation you must have and what parts you can live without.

What You Need To Know

  • Be sure to round up and add some extra money to your budget for any unexpected costs that may pop up.
  • You will want to secure multiple quotes for the project to compare costs.
  • If the project is not being paid for in cash, calculate the cost of financing.
  • Include the option of completing some or all of the project yourself if it’s something you are comfortable doing.
  • If you are completing a project on your own, be sure to research any required county building permits and neighborhood association approvals.
  • Read the fine print carefully when working with a contractor and review what is included in the cost. Also, be sure the project has a predetermined timeline for when it will be complete.

Be sure to keep all receipts, estimates, contracts and other paperwork associated with your projects.

Do it yourself

If you are able to do parts of the job yourself, be sure the contractor reduces the cost of the project to account for the portion you will complete.

Use your resources

If you know a reliable and insured handyman with references from past customers, this option could be less expensive than a contractor for some projects.

Know what shouldn’t be DIY

For big projects, going the DIY route or using a less experienced handyman can end up costing you more if a portion of the job is completed incorrectly and has to be fixed later.

Have enough saved

Hold off on the renovation until you have saved at least a portion of the projected project cost.

Swap skills

Barter services if you have friends or family with the skills to do some or all of your project.

Do projects in the off-season

Complete the project in the off-season. Significant savings can be gained by working with a company during their slow season.

If you have lived in your home for multiple years, you may have equity that can be used to finance your renovation. Home equity loans require appraisals, and the condition of your home is important.

Obtain the appraisal before you begin a project to ensure the current condition of your home doesn’t negatively impact the appraisal value.

You may also refinance your home mortgage to receive cash back. This is similar to a home equity loan but is not the same thing.

A credit card can also be an option for renovation costs, especially if you earn rewards and plan to repay the entire amount before interest accrues. You may also use an unsecured line of credit, depending on your credit rating and the amount being borrowed.

What You Need To Know

  • Be sure to round up and add some extra money to your budget for any unexpected costs that may pop up.
  • You will want to secure multiple quotes for the project to compare costs.
  • If the project is not being paid for in cash, calculate the cost of financing.
  • Include the option of completing some or all of the project yourself if it’s something you are comfortable doing.
  • If you are completing a project on your own, be sure to research any required county building permits and neighborhood association approvals.
  • Read the fine print carefully when working with a contractor and review what is included in the cost. Also, be sure the project has a predetermined timeline for when it will be complete.

Be sure to keep all receipts, estimates, contracts and other paperwork associated with your projects.

Do it yourself

If you are able to do parts of the job yourself, be sure the contractor reduces the cost of the project to account for the portion you will complete.

Use your resources

If you know a reliable and insured handyman with references from past customers, this option could be less expensive than a contractor for some projects.

Know what shouldn’t be DIY

For big projects, going the DIY route or using a less experienced handyman can end up costing you more if a portion of the job is completed incorrectly and has to be fixed later.

Have enough saved

Hold off on the renovation until you have saved at least a portion of the projected project cost.

Swap skills

Barter services if you have friends or family with the skills to do some or all of your project.

Do projects in the off-season

Complete the project in the off-season. Significant savings can be gained by working with a company during their slow season.

If you have lived in your home for multiple years, you may have equity that can be used to finance your renovation. Home equity loans require appraisals, and the condition of your home is important.

Obtain the appraisal before you begin a project to ensure the current condition of your home doesn’t negatively impact the appraisal value.

You may also refinance your home mortgage to receive cash back. This is similar to a home equity loan but is not the same thing.

A credit card can also be an option for renovation costs, especially if you earn rewards and plan to repay the entire amount before interest accrues. You may also use an unsecured line of credit, depending on your credit rating and the amount being borrowed.

Home Renovation Tips

Here are some tips to help you with your home renovation.

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