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To Sell or To Renovate? That Is The Question...Part 2

Renovation: Transforming Your Existing Home into Your Dream Space

In the first part of this series, we explored the dilemma many homeowners face: Whether to renovate their current home or sell it and move to a new one. In this second installment, we will delve deeper into the renovation option, providing you with comprehensive insights, practical advice, and expert tips to help you make the best decision for your home and lifestyle.

Before and after photo of a home renovation showing a living room transformation. The 'before' image on the left features a dated living room with yellow carpet, a stone fireplace, and old-fashioned furniture. The 'after' image on the right showcases a modernized living room with hardwood flooring, a contemporary fireplace, stylish furniture, and updated lighting. The new design includes a cozy seating area, round dining table with upholstered chairs, and large windows letting in natural light.
Ever Home Before & After Photo

Understanding Your "Why"

Before embarking on a renovation project, it's crucial to understand why you want to make changes to your home. This introspection will guide your renovation decisions, assist your design & contracting teams to better serve you, and ensure the final result aligns with your needs and desires.


  • Functional Needs: Is your home no longer accommodating your growing family? Are you frustrated with the current layout or flow of your space? Identifying specific functional needs will help prioritize areas that require attention.

  • Aesthetic Desire: Do you crave a space that reflects your current style and interests? Whether it's updating outdated decor or creating a more modern, luxurious environment, aesthetic changes can significantly enhance your enjoyment of your home.

  • Combination of Both: For many, it's a blend of both functional and aesthetic needs. A well-planned renovation can address both aspects, transforming your home into a space that is both beautiful and practical.


Benefits of Renovating Your Home

Renovating your home offers a unique opportunity to create a custom haven perfectly tailored to your lifestyle. Here are some key benefits:


  • Customization: Unlike moving to a new home, renovating allows you to design and personalize every aspect of your space. From selecting finishes to choosing layouts, you have complete control over the final result.

  • Location Loyalty: If you love your neighborhood, the size of your yard, and the friendships you've created, renovating allows you to stay in a place you cherish while upgrading your home.

  • Increased Property Value: Strategic renovations, especially in high-demand areas like kitchens and bathrooms, can significantly increase your property's market value. This investment can pay off if you decide to sell in the future.

  • Improved Functionality: Renovations can optimize the use of space, making your home more functional and efficient. This can enhance your daily living experience and accommodate your changing needs.


Steps to a Successful Home Renovation

Floor Plans & Engineering


  • Importance of a Solid Plan: The foundation of a successful renovation is a well-drafted floor plan and obtaining the necessary engineering assessments. A solid plan serves as a detailed roadmap for your project, ensuring that all stakeholders are aligned on the vision and specifics. 

  • Drafting the Floor Plan: Work with an experienced designer or architect to create detailed floor plans that capture your vision. These plans should include dimensions, layouts, and specifications for each area of your home.

  • Engineering Assessments: Structural engineers play a crucial role in evaluating the feasibility of your plans. They ensure that the proposed changes are structurally sound and comply with local building codes.

  • Avoiding Guesstimates: Without a solid plan, contractors can really only provide "guesstimates" rather than accurate estimates. Detailed floor plans and engineering assessments enable contractors to give precise quotes, reducing the risk of cost overruns and project delays.

  • Change Orders: Change orders to your plan later in a project can add significant time and expense. For example, if you decide last minute to add a second archway opening into your dining room, there are potentially 10-12 parties that need to be involved in making that happen. The engineer might need to get involved if it's a load-bearing wall, requiring an update to your plans and a submission to the City for approval. Additionally, you'll need to consider the impact on electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and gas lines, and what is required to move those. The framer will need to frame the new archway, which will also need sheetrock and baseboard added. If changes absolutely need to happen outside of the planning phase, the sooner that decision can be made, the better. Early decisions help minimize disruptions and keep the project on track.


Budgeting


  • Establishing a Realistic Budget: Once you have a detailed floor plan, you can start budgeting accurately. Consider all aspects of the renovation, including materials, labor, permits, and contingency funds for unforeseen expenses. Review the estimates thoroughly to ensure that they aren't missing parts of the scope of work. Make sure you, your designer, and contractor review the scope of work together prior to the estimates creation and then review the estimate to ensure all aspects were considered during that process.

  • Prioritizing Expenses: Identify which elements of the renovation are essential and which are optional. This helps you allocate your budget effectively and make adjustments if needed. Working with your designer and potentially a real estate broker can help assist you in determining the order of importance based on your desires as well as the considering the future value of your home.


Final Material Selection


  • Choosing Materials: Select high-quality materials that align with your design vision and budget. This includes flooring, cabinetry, countertops, fixtures, and finishes to name a few. This process can become daunting with the amount of details that need to be considered. Working with a good designer will cut down on the time and brain capacity this step can take. Every project has thousands of details to consider, so bringing in the right professional for this step is worth its weight in gold. 

  • Supplier Consultations: Work with trusted suppliers to understand the options available and the best choices for your needs. Sometimes you may love a particular product, BUT it may not fit your specific need based on its specifications. These individuals are great at quickly assessing what products will work best for you.

  • Sample Testing: With your designer you can create design boards that will visually group together all the finish elements for a space. This will help you see how everything will come together. The next step would be to obtain any available samples of materials to see how they look and feel in your space before making final decisions. These 2 steps will allow you to feel confident that the finish materials you have selected will work together and create the exact style and feeling you want for each space. 


Choosing Your Contractor


  • Researching Contractors: Look for contractors with experience in luxury home renovations. Check their portfolios, read reviews, and ask for references. Ask them to show you how they organize their projects and what they have learned from their past years of experience in ensuring a smooth experience for their customers.

  • Conducting Interviews: Meet with potential contractors to discuss your project, review their previous work, and gauge their communication style. Do they feel like the right fit for you? Do you trust them? Many people make their biggest mistake at this point, oftentimes motivated by cheaper pricing. You want to ensure that who you work with will value you as a customer, is knowledgeable in their craft, and can deliver a quality experience. These individuals will never be the cheapest price upfront, but will save you a lot of money and headache in the long run.

  • Reviewing Contracts: Ensure that the contract includes detailed project specifications, timelines, payment schedules, and warranty information. It's also never a bad idea to have an attorney review the documents and suggest potential changes. This is a major expense and decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. 


The Construction Phase


  • Setting a Timeline: Develop a realistic timeline for the project, considering potential delays due to unforeseen issues. When renovating an older home there are many unknowns that may be discovered along the way. It is important to know this and to also plan for this. New home builds are very different from a renovation in this regard and should be considered when creating a timeline.

  • Managing Living Arrangements: Plan for how the renovation will impact your daily life. You may need to arrange temporary accommodations if the project is extensive. There will be loud noises, dust, debris, and smells for an extended period of time. Many of these crews start work early and stay late to get things done. Consider these questions; Do you have a separate space that you can live comfortably within the property during this time? Are there phases you can do the project in so you can move back and forth within your home? Is there another place you can temporarily stay or rent? Don't trust what you see on HGTV. A home doesn't get a full renovation in a matter of days. Be sure to review your living arrangement with your design and contracting teams so that everyone knows how to work accordingly. 

  • Quality Control: Regularly inspect the progress to ensure that the work meets your standards. Address any issues promptly with your contractor and designer. Make sure you have documentation of passed city inspections and it's never a bad idea to hire an independent inspector or your engineer to review various phases of the project.


Effective Management


  • Regular Communication: Maintain open lines of communication with your contractor and project team. Regular updates and meetings help keep the project on track. It's important to let those you hire know what you are pleased with, displeased with, or unsure about. Allowing these things to go by unsaid have a snowball effect on potential issues. Oftentimes these issues are much easier to address sooner than later in the world of construction. 

  • Tracking Progress: Be sure there are project management tools in place to monitor progress, timelines, and budgets. This ensures transparency and allows for quick adjustments if needed.

  • Handling Issues: Be prepared to address any issues or changes that arise during the project. Flexibility and proactive problem-solving are key to a successful renovation.


Additional Considerations


  • Energy Efficiency: Consider incorporating energy-efficient upgrades, such as new windows, insulation, and HVAC systems. These improvements can reduce your utility bills and increase the overall value of your home.

  • Smart Home Technology: Integrate smart home features, such as automated lighting, security systems, and climate control. These modern amenities can enhance convenience and appeal to future buyers.

  • Now Vs Later: If you are opening up walls and doing an intensive remodel it's important to consider what upgrades you need to do now vs later. You may have a list of things you want after the walls are put back together, however, what is happening behind the walls should take priority. Oftentimes, that shiny upgrade you wanted doesn't fit in the budget with what you really need to upgrade. For instance, it makes sense to upgrade your wiring while the walls are exposed rather than buying some of the new furniture you may be wanting. Prioritize that which adds value and safety to your home first and then the other items can be saved for a future time. 


Ever Home: Your Renovation Partner

At Ever Home, we understand that renovating your home is a significant investment. Our team of experts is here to guide you through every step of the process, from initial planning and design to the final clean-up. We specialize in luxury home renovations, ensuring that your project is executed with the highest standards of craftsmanship and attention to detail.

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