1. What is the goal of the project?
There are many reasons why you might want to renovate your home. You may want to refurbish or expand an old room, just repaint the walls and switch out some furniture, or transform one of the rooms in your home into a different kind of room. If the project is for you and your family, you can pretty much do what you want and stick to your personal needs and aesthetics.
However, if your goal is to raise the resale value of your house by doing some renovations, then it's a different question altogether. If that is the case for you, you mustn't invest more in the renovation project than is average for your neighborhood. In addition to that, you shouldn't renovate by replacing furniture and making aesthetic choices. Instead, improve universal practical elements that every buyer will appreciate like replacing an old water heater, improving the insulation, and basically turning your home into a blank canvas for those who will move in next.
2. Have you created a realistic budget plan for the project?
Not having a realistic budget in place or not adhering to it is a dire mistake many homeowners make. "I think the two biggest mistakes are, number one, not knowing your budget, and not having contractors who adhere to a budgeting process," stated Robin Kencel, a real estate broker with over 20 years of experience, in a statement to the Insider.
So, before you decide to tear down any walls or floors and get rid of old furniture to make room for new ones, count precisely how much you're willing to spend on your project, and if it's enough to replace, fix, or refurbish everything you want. In addition to that, experts say it's best to also have a separate emergency budget for any unforeseen expenses, too.
3. Is the property worth the investment?
If you're planning on selling the property in the near future, it's best to be smart about any expenses you make. After all, in some cases, the buyer will likely be interested in your house for the sake of the land and will want to tear down the old structure itself. If so, there's no point in you investing in home renovation at all.
Similarly, if you live in a neighborhood with a lower resale price, renovating your home will not make a significant enough difference either. Try to set aside your emotions and be honest with yourself about your property. For a non-biased opinion, it may also be worth consulting a realtor, who always has the most up-to-date information about the ever-changing real estate market and will be able to help you optimize your return on investment.
4. Are the professionals you'll be working with reputable?
Chances are that your renovation will involve contractors, and big projects like bathroom improvement and property expansion are virtually impossible without the help of professionals. But before you let someone you found through an advertisement mess with your property, you must make sure that they know their job and will be able to provide the services within the deadlines and with the budget you set.
This is why you should always check for referrals from the contractors themselves. Many, if not most, interior design companies, architecture firms, and other professionals have an online presence these days, too, with examples of their work and reviews from previous clients listed on their page. So it won't hurt to do a Google search of the company before you start working with them, too, to make sure that they're a good fit for you.
5. If it's a DIY project: are you capable of doing it from start to finish?
Yet another common mistake people make when renovating their home is being overly optimistic about their handyman abilities. Of course, there are people who are fully capable of transforming their homes without much extra help, but if you have very little or no experience in the specific renovation project you're planning, it's best to give up the parts of the job you're not familiar with to professionals.
For example, if you're doing a bathroom renovation and you know very well how to replace faucets and paint falls, but have no idea how to lay tile, you can hire someone to do just that one task and do the rest yourself. After all, fixing any mistakes will usually cost you a lot more than doing the same job from scratch.
6. Which parts of the project are necessary, and which ones are optional?
Home improvement is exciting, but envisioning the new room or entire home with all the dreamy features you've always wanted to have can lead you down a path of overspending. Be clear about the renovations that require your attention and investment right now, and don't be too quick on installing extras that you might end up regretting shortly.
To do so, write a list of necessary and optional renovations, and gauge how much time and money you have to realize the project starting with the necessities. If you're confident that you have budget left for something on the optional wishlist, by all means, enjoy and do that, too, but avoid starting with the optional improvements, or else you may end up with a Japanese fishpond and a wine cellar, but a leaky roof or malfunctioning garage door.
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