Home renovations, this can conjure up images of that new bathroom, or kitchen, or that movie theatre basement. But don't forget, this also means, dust, dirt, late contractors, leaking plumbing, and learning to camp in your own house!
So, before you plan any home renovations, you need a strategy plan. You also need to decide just how far you are going with these renovations. If you pick one room, then you may be able to still live there, and get to work each day, not looking like you slept in your clothes or having to shower at the gym.
But many people take on more than one room. They get stuck in that "while your at in syndrome" Everyone knows that one.. the one where a contractor or yourself included, will say something like this "well, since we are taking apart the kitchen, you might as well push that outside wall out further, and since we will have to dig foundations outside for this wall, then you might as well put in a in ground pool, since the back hoe will be here anyways, and this will all save you money, instead of doing it later!"
Next thing you know, you have a second or third mortgage on the place, contractors all over the place, and you are forced to live in your garage, car or your grandma's house, wondering how it all came to this, when all you wanted was an updated kitchen!
It happens, you get excited and want it all NOW. But for you to win at home renovations, you have to play the game. The game I am talking about, is the game where you get out your pad of paper and draw what you would like to see, or list what you will need to buy to do this renovation. The next part of the game is where you get out your bank account balance or line of credit balance, and see if the list you made, can be purchased with the money in your bank account!
If not, then you either need to trim your list, or if your house is really in need of serious renovations, then you need to make a plan to take to the bank. If you need to impress the bank, then you are going to need some drawings, a budget, and some research. The bank is not going to accept your drawing on the pad of paper you created with your wish list beside it! Going to the bank, is almost like going to a job interview. You have to dress nice, bring all your notes, and prove to them how good you are.
Sometimes it is worth getting a loan from the bank for some renovations, especially if it will add value and safety to your home. If you roof is caving in, or your toilet is leaking to the floor below, then you HAVE to do something now, but don't go overboard. The bank will most likely value your house as it is now, and then come up with a value based on your home renovation ideas. If they feel you are going to out price yourself, then they will trim how much they will lend you. They don't want you to be the most expensive house on the street, just in case, you lose it while living in the garage and walk away from the whole thing! They will need to be able to sell your house to get their money back. This is what they look at.
You may be looking at how gorgeous it will be after, but they look at worst case scenarios. So before you go to see them, have all your ducks lined up. Including where you will stay or live while this is going on.
I always thought it was funny, that a brand new house can be built in less than 4 months in many cases, and yet a home renovation can take up to a year! So be ready.
But if you don't see yourself going down this road, and do want to improve your property value but without a loan. Then look at simpler home renovations. Keep all the walls where they are, and work with what you have got. Change wall color, change cabinets or hardware, change flooring. Anything you do will make an impact on your home's look. Sometimes, it is worth just getting another set of eyes to look at your place, such as a good interior decorator, for example. They can give you some ideas for colors, furniture placement, or clutter control, that you may not have thought of. This is much cheaper than ripping apart your home.
Try and be very careful with the "while you are at it" syndrome. If you do this within a budget, you can pick a room a year and work with the money you have. But if you want it all done now, have an alternate place to live, and are willing to let contractors go nuts in your house, then get a good drawing done first. Spend the money and work with a architect. They will help you with structural walls, and different ideas for home renovations. Ideas that you may not have even considered.
They will take your ideas into consideration, and then produce a set of drawings that your contractors, or yourself can work with. Otherwise, you are going to be making changes along the way that are going to add dollars to your home renovation. Things that may not have been taken into account, such as property laws, sewer lines, utility mains, neighbors and more. So, it may be worth the price of the architect right from the beginning of your project.
Home renovations can be exciting or they can send you around the bend. But if you plan for as many case scenarios as you can, then things should go smoothly. If you can take care of your basic needs per day, then you can live with home renovations, if not, you need to move out while this is going on, and how much will that cost? Add that to the price of your home renovations.