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Renovating Survival Guide

Clients on both sides of the real estate wall may be considering renovating for one reason for another, as I explained in my most recent blog. While this Survival Guide can be put to use for both buyers who have purchased a “fixer-upper” and are creating their perfect home or for sellers who are making major or minor changes to increase the value and/or sellability of their home, we are gearing this blog towards the former – people who are renovating for themselves, not just to market their home.

Buying to Renovate – A Survival Guide

Step 1: Determining Your Wants & Needs

We will go through a process of outlining the basic wants and needs for your next home. These will be our guideposts as we move forward through all other steps.

Step 2: Finding Where You Want To Be

Since during the process of renovation, we will work to make the house be exactly what you need it to be, it is essential that we are smart when it comes to the thing we can’t change during renovation — the neighborhood. In some cases, being open to a “fixer-upper” may get you into a neighborhood that you previously thought was out of your price range. In any case, the neighborhood will be the neighborhood long after the construction is over and you are moved in, so let’s take the time early in the process to determine exactly what your needs are for your next neighborhood.

Step 3: Assessing the Potential

As your Realtor, I’m happy to facilitate as Interior Designer for you when it comes to your renovation. I will use my experience in renovating and interior design to help you assess if the home you’re looking at will be able to meet the end goals we set. During this process, it’s important we consider:

Your renovation budget: what will we realistically spend to get the home how you want it?

The home’s bones: are they in good shape? Are there large issues that you don’t have the budget or sheer will to work through?
Cosmetic updates: what are easy upgrades that won’t be very expensive but will make a big difference?

Once we’ve talked through these and determined that the home you have selected has the potential to become what you desire, we are ready to move forward and finalize the purchase so we can get started!

Step 4: Get the Plan in Place

After we’ve made sure the house you like can meet your needs, let’s turn it into a plan! We outlined your needs and wants in Step 1, and we made sure the home you picked in Step 3 (in a neighborhood you selected in Step 2) has the potential to meet those needs. Now is the time to get with a General Contractor (GC) and outline all the details. I can help facilitate this with you. Plans and budget will be drawn up and we will tweak it until it is just right.

Step 5: Select the Right Team

Selecting the right team to complete your renovation is imperative. The difference between having a good GC and not could mean months added to your renovation and potentially more money. Here are some things we should consider when picking our GC.

Licensed, bonded and insured: these are important boxes to check to protect yourself throughout the renovation process.

Match the project with the right GC. The scope of the job and timing is important when choosing a GC. Is the job too big or small? Do they have experience with a project like yours? For instance, if your condo or home requires stringent adherence to HOA rules, it is essential they can handle that. If you home is older, working with a GC that has worked in older homes, and not just new construction, would benefit you and the project the most.

Experience & reputation: we want a GC that has the experience and a good reputation. Luckily, in 2020, it is easy to read prior customer’s reviews on a lot of review platforms. These can come in handy if you don’t know anyone personally who has used the GC before.

Pricing: can they work within your budget?

Timeline: are we all in agreement that the timeline they’ve lined out for completing the project is acceptable?

Step 6: Go to Work

Let the GC and his/her teamwork through the plan. During this process, it is important you maintain some level of involvement to be sure everything is happening on a reasonable timeline and within your budget constraints. Don’t expect everything to go smoothly! There are always unexpected events throughout a renovation; sometimes there are hangups that delay the timeline and sometimes there are kinks that affect the budget. But as long as you stay patient and involved, you will end up with a good result!

Step 7: Move In and Enjoy!

Cheers, you made it! Time to get yourself in there and put on the finishing touches. With my interior design experience, I can help you select finishes, paint, artwork, and furniture so we get the feel you desire. Then it’s time to enjoy your own personal paradise!

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