The decision to renovate your house is one of the most personally and financially rewarding actions you can take this year. But it may seem improbable if you’ve never done it and don’t even know where to start. Believe it or not, the dead of winter is a great time to make that dream a reality. Need a little prodding? See if any of these warning signs that you’re about to go mad if you don’t get started, sound familiar.
Five Signs that You’re Ready to Renovate
1. Your Pinboard is Jammed
Today’s consumer is far more educated about design concepts that even five years ago. Our Pintrest or digital “idea folders” are crammed with images from House Beautiful, Houzz, Veranda, Dwell, Traditional Home, HGTV.com, and probably a dozen more. Like any good researcher, you’ve reviewed multiple sources for inspiration and information. Maybe you’re old fashioned and have torn magazine pages and paint swatches on your wall. Either way, you are surrounding yourself with ideas. In marketing this is called “visioning” and it’s the first step to turning an idea into a concrete plan.
2. You can “See” the Transformation
As you gaze out over your coffee cup into your kitchen, you have visions of bright, new cabinets. You can imagine how much more space your family could have if just a wall here or there were knocked out. Every time you drive by that one house, the one with the grand addition you slow down (or even stalked it with a couple snaps). Maybe friends just completed a great renovation and you’ve interviewed them endlessly about the project. Perhaps you’re doing all of the above on a regular basis. This is a sure sign you are poised to convey these ideas to a professional. The truth is that almost anything can be changed and improved in a house. Budget and imagination will drive your reality. Become a customer, not an observer.
3. You Found or Inherited a Great “Fixer Upper”
Every now and then an old or dilapidated house comes on the market for a bargain. You may have balked about taking a risk and buying it in the past, but now it’s something you feel confident enough to go for. Or maybe you’ve come to inherit a property that sat untouched for decades. In either case, it’s absolutely providential to make a decision. If you are lucky enough to come by a property like this, the great news is that you most likely won’t be living in it while its transformed. This is always ideal. Not only are you and your family not terribly inconvenienced, but you maintain perspective throughout the design and build process. A little distance between you and the nails helps manage expectations and see it from the outside in. The added-fun-value is that the neighbors will instantly love you for fixing the street’s eyesore.
4. You’ve Done It Before and Loved It
Sometimes the people who have renovated and lived to tell are the best customers. As with any project or achievement in life, we would all do something a little different if we could. Maybe you renovated your kitchen and added square feet to your den, but in retrospect should have included a breakfast nook. Maybe you knew that but couldn’t afford it at the time. Presumably the renovation you’ve already done has upped the value of your house. If real estate in your neighborhood is moving fast, it might be a great time to look into a Home Equity Loan or a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) to go back to the drawing board. Obviously do a lot of research (we will be publishing a blog about this soon). Outside of your lender, a few good, agnostic resources are Consumer Reports, Money magazine’s “Tips from the Pros” real estate series and Investopedia. We don’t get a lot of second chances in life, but with a renovation you absolutely do.
5. Your Family is Bursting at the Seams
Every Sunday there are thousands of open houses. You sneak out and wander the halls of strangers, picturing your family entertaining there. But no matter how perfect the house, you always have items on your wish list not fulfilled. That’s because you’re considering buying someone else’s ideal. Not yours. Also, you know moving is disruptive and expensive. According to Home Advisor, moving costs can average upwards of more than $1,700. Then of course there is the cash needed to transact the purchase, which Realtor.com reports, “For a $250,000 home, your closing costs would amount to anywhere from $5,000 to $17,500.” You love the location of your current home and maybe its bones, but you need more room to live, entertain and enjoy each other. You want what you want and through a renovation you can have it.
There may be a zillion reasons why you want to renovate your home. And there are probably a zillion reasons why you’ve hesitated. But listen to your inner voice and connect with a design and build professional and say it out loud. It’s time.