May is National Home Improvement Month! And there is no better time than right now to start planning your next home improvement project. Upgrading your kitchen or building a patio are just some examples that you can do right now with some vision and preparation. As you think about the improvements your home needs, keep in mind the following tips to make the whole process a little less daunting.
1. Stay Away from Over Personalization
The purpose of most home renovations is to increase the value of the home. If you have an exceptionally personalized home (for example, your basement is dedicated to Coke collectables, or you’ve paid a premium for hand painted bath tiles, or you let your teenager splatter paint their bedroom in neon paint), you’ll find that it can lower your resale value, or narrow the scope of interested buyers. It’s important to feel at home in your home, but it’s also important to be able to recover your investments when you do decide to move by making the renovation aesthetically pleasing to as many people as possible.
2. Keep your climate and culture in mind
Here’s an obvious example: A swimming pool is a must-have in Florida, but if you’re living in Vermont, would you be able to use it often enough to make the investment and upkeep worthwhile? Even the most obvious climate circumstances are disregarded by some homeowners, like building a deck right out on the ocean in windy Cape Cod. The same principle applies to outdoor barbecues in the rainy Pacific Northwest. Changes to your home won’t change its innate weather conditions. Be sure to take into account the climate and culture of the neighborhood to select an outdoor renovation that will be worth the investment and that will be able to be enjoyed for as much of the year as possible.
3. First Impressions Count
As with people, first impressions are significant with homes. If you took the time and expense to install a new heating and air conditioning unit, but left the original siding on the exterior, then buyers will think they’re getting into a home that needs a massive overhaul. Keep in mind that good-looking homes sell themselves. An easy update like a fresh coat of paint or some landscaping will reap rewards in every situation.
4. Make Changes All in One Go
It can be overwhelming to take on a big project in one go, so homeowners tend to make each decision as it comes up. Renovations always go better and faster when you can depend on a plan. Without a plan, contractors can get gun-shy and you will waste money by them having to wait on you for direction. So many details come up as it is in a renovation project that having the basic plan hammered out will be a life saver in the midst of the chaos.
5. Set a Realistic Budget
Sweet talking yourself into budget short cuts will only lead to disappointment in having lower quality materials than you were expecting, or having to pay more money in the long run than you anticipated. Work closely with your contractor when possible and realistically take in their estimates-they’re the professionals and have done this many times before. Good work and materials are worth the investment. Having a realistic budget planned out is crucial to getting these things, even if it means setting the project back a few months to allow yourself adequate funds in your savings account.
6. Hire Professional Help
If you’re not a designer or architect, hire one. It might cost you money to get a good set of plans, but you’re assured that they work. Professionals know the right process to go through to get licenses and permits. Never wait for the building inspector to show up and find out that you broke environmental restrictions, or that you lack permits. The expression “it’s better to ask forgiveness later than permission now” is absolutely not true when high dollar projects are in the works. Do your homework before you start and you will thank yourself for it later!
7. Utilize Local Vendors
Buying local can save you money and time, and will most likely give you a unique piece for your home. There are many vendor shows going on around the nation that are perfect for inspiring your next project. Vendors and small entrepreneurial businesses are always willing to collaborate and brainstorm with you about how to incorporate their work into your home. You never know what you’ll find or the inspiration that spending time with local creatives will bring to you!
8. Staging a Home
Utilize resources like Pinterest or home improvement blogs to get a vision for what your space could look like. You’ll want to appeal to as many buyers as possible if you are in the market to sell your house. You’ll want your house to be a blank canvas to potential buyers through your paint choices and the way you utilize your space. You’d never want to turn away a buyer because of something as simple as a neutral couch clashing with your living room carpet or paint. Bright open spaces, fresh flowers, inviting aromas will make it easier for your guests to feel at home and for potential buyers to envision your space as their new home.
With some research, collaboration, and up-front planning, you can easily make your remodeling projects go smoothly and help ensure that you will end up satisfied with the results. And most importantly, make sure that you have fun!