Making the Renovation Decision

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Top Factors Smart Homeowners Need to Consider

If your home just doesn't fit your family anymore, our guest blogger Declan Kemp shares some best practices in making the decision to renovate or remodel.

If you are thinking about remodeling or renovating your home, you should take some time to consider some important factors associated with a project of this scale. You'll also need to develop a smart plan for managing your home renovation. The following tips can help you plan accordingly and develop renovation project that is sure to complement your home--and your finances!


image of house model with money

Like so many aspects of life, it often comes down to money whether you push forward on a project or not. When contemplating a renovation for your home, you'll need to decide whether it's actually more lucrative to simply move to a new home with the floor plan you're looking for, or if it's more cost effective to stay put and make those alterations. (Editors note: Don't forget to add in any intrinsic value you have on staying in your neighborhood or community.) You'll need to seriously consider the cost of moving versus the cost of renovating your property. In the UK, you may wish to consult to find out about property values and the going rate of houses that you'd be interested in purchasing. (Don't forget that In the Twin Cities, you can get a great feel for the actual cost of a new home by using our Parade of Homes new home filter.)

Smart Investment

One of the reasons in favor of performing a home renovation is that it can be a wise investment in your home. If your renovation is likely to add value to your home, you'll actually be adding to your wealth even though you may be draining your savings account to fund the project. The problem is that not all renovations will make bank if you decide to sell your home. Renovations like kitchen and bathroom upgrades do tend to increase the home's value, but you can't always depend on something as dicey as the real estate market. Be sure to do some research to gauge whether your renovation project is likely to have a positive return in the long run.

Decide on the Scope of the Renovation

blueprints with model home image

Once you decide to renovate, you'll need to map out what that really means by thinking about the scope of the project. For instance, you may decide to renovate your kitchen, but to what extent? Do you want to enlarge it? Do you want to work with the space you have? Do you want to move your sink or enlarge windows? Moreover, you might decide to add a walk-in pantry or French patio doors as long as you're tearing up the space. All of these details will impact the cost of the project; however, you may wish to make all the changes at one time to avoid construction projects down the road.

Choose a Reputable General Contractor

It's tough to make out a budget for your project until you have lined up your remodeler or general contractor. Your contractor can inform you about the going costs of materials and help you select materials in your price range. Your general contractor will also let you know what sub-contractors will be needed along with the cost of labor. Be sure that you choose a reliable and trusted remodeler who has the experience and expertise to complete the type of renovation you are after. (In the Twin Cities it's easy to find the right professional contractor. You can see recent remodeled projects with the Remodeled Home search under Tour above, and learn more about area remodelers using the Remodeler Search.)

Stay or Go?

Depending on the nature of your renovation project, you might want to remove yourself and your family to a temporary location. This is naturally going to increase expenses unless you have family or friends who are willing to take you in for a time. Many people do remain in their homes even when kitchens and bathrooms are being renovated. It can be inconvenient, but it can also be a cost savings. Your contractor can help by providing a schedule of tasks. You may find that you can remain in your home for much of the project and may only need to rely on an alternative abode for a day or two.

Renovating your home can be exciting and certainly add to its value, but you have to think about all the ins and outs before moving forward. These tips can help you make positive decisions so that your project works out in the end.

*Declan Kemp earns a living providing property maintenance services and enjoys being able to share his tips and suggestions online. He is a regular contributor for several property and lifestyle websites. *


dj's picture

We are trying to make a decision on whether or not renovating our home is the best decision at this time. My husband and I are 50 yrs. We have 5 children ranging from 16 to 29 yrs At present we have only 3 kids with us We live in a small bungalow 840 sq ft. It is approx. 60 yrs old We spoke to a contractor whom will do a 2nd floor and side addition which will bring the house to 2700 sq ft but it will cost 500,000 dollars The questions that we are asking ourselves are 1) Is it worth going into an additional debt of 500,000 at this stage in our life 2) The children will soon leave home making this big living space lonely 3)Should we just spend a few thousand dollars and fix up the present bungalow without any major construction 4)I am weighing the pros and cons but still cannot decide Please help
wdanks's picture

It's definitely a big decision to spend $500K on a renovation project. Every family is different, too, so there's no pat answer. We always recommend talking to your financial planner first, and then a mortgage banker to get the financials figured out. You should also chat with a realtor in your area (or do some research on your own) to figure out how a much more expensive home would fit in the neighborhood. If your neighbors have been upgrading and improving, it might be well worth it, but if your home is in a neighborhood of small bungalows that will sell for a few hundred thousand and yours is at 800K, you'll have a harder time selling when you are ready. Good luck!

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