Renovating your home or building a new addition is an exciting, yet sometimes overwhelming project.
We see many of our customers getting caught up in small details (like light fixtures and paint colors), when really the big pictures should be evaluated first.
So how can you stay on track when planning your next big project? And how do you ensure you’re making the right decisions?
Read on for our top questions to ask before diving into your renovation or addition.
WHY DO YOU NEED TO RENOVATE OR BUILD AN ADDITION?
Usually, the answer to this question is simple. Maybe you’re expecting a child and need more space for your growing family. Perhaps you really enjoy entertaining and would like a more open floor plan between your kitchen, living room and dining room.
When there are multiple factors motivating the renovation or addition, it’s important to truly assess your family’s needs and prioritize. Let’s say you need more storage space, want to completely renovate the kitchen and finish the basement.
All of these projects are important, but it’s likely that there’s overlap — for example, the storage space could be in the newly finished basement. When considering multiple projects, determine your priorities to allow for realistic budgeting and time frames.
Your first meeting with your contractor will be more productive if you’ve already taken the time to sit down and consider you needs, separating them from your wants.
CAN YOU AFFORD THIS PROJECT?
We often see customers who are able to afford the renovation or addition project, but not to the standard of luxury they were hoping for. This comes back to priorities — it’s important to note that once the project is done, it’s unlikely that you’ll come back and do more work to the remodeled room.
Maybe you’ll upgrade light fixtures once the funds are available, but you aren’t going to upgrade the countertops once they’ve already been installed. It’s for this reason that we recommend being able to afford exactly what you need before starting your project.
We recommend completing the remodel or addition exactly how you want it. In our experience, we think it’s best to put another project on hold instead of skimping. For example, if you want to remodel your kitchen and finish your basement, but can’t afford to do both projects the way you want — pick one.
You can come back to the other project later when the funds are available. But if you go half way on each project, you’ll feel disappointed and still won’t have the space you wanted.
HAVE YOU CHECKED WITH YOUR HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATION?
You own your house, so you can do what you want to it, right? Not necessarily.
If you live in a neighborhood, there’s a good chance there’s a home owners association (HOA). The HOA may have ordinances on renovations and additions. For example, some HOA’s require that homes be at least 2/3 brick.
In terms of additions, some HOA’s (and city building codes) have restrictions of the total square footage of a house versus the size of the lot. We recommend getting the rules in writing from your HOA — and then getting approval for your project in writing. If you don’t have an HOA, but live within city limits, learn the zoning laws as you prepare for your project.
Similarly, if you live in a condo, you’ll likely have to follow the rules of the condo association when remodeling — even if you’re just updating a bathroom. Likely, the condo association will have restrictions on work hours and the total duration of a project. This is to ensure that your neighbors are minimally impacted by the noise and commotion of the project.
While it can be frustrating, remember that you’d want the same courtesies if your neighbor was renovating their unit — you don’t want to hear hammering at 5am!
IS YOUR TIME FRAME REALISTIC?
If you want to complete a big kitchen renovation before the holidays, don’t reach out to the contractor for the first time in September. Be realistic — and if you have a specific completion date in time, like a holiday or major family event, make sure you let the contractor know.
Remember, if you want a specific type of imported tile for the kitchen that is going to take two months to arrive, the contractor has to wait for the materials before they can complete the project. Your contractor will be able to help you source materials and let you know how long they’ll take to arrive, allowing you to decide whether you’re willing to wait for specific materials.
Your contractor will be able to provide you with a realistic time frame for your project that ensures safety, quality and thorough completion of your project. Having a plan for the renovation or addition is important — if you’re renovating the kitchen, how will you prepare meals until the project is complete?
Finally, you want to use a specific contractor, we recommend meeting with them sooner rather than later. The best contractors are in demand for a reason — their work is top-quality, and they consistently deliver on their promises. Meeting with them sooner will allow you to schedule your project, so it’s completed in a timely manner.
DO YOU PLAN TO STAY IN THE HOUSE LONG-TERM?
If you plan to stay in your house long-term, you can pick details that are more personal to you. Should you be planning to move in a few years, we recommend selecting colors and finishes that are more neutral, so they appeal to a wider range of potential buyers.
Another major consideration is the accessibility of the home. If you plan to live in the house through retirement, have elderly relatives or a disabled family member, the accessibility of your house is important.
Planning ahead is a smart move and can prevent the need for future renovations. Don’t hesitate to discuss accessibility with your contractor — the details that make a space accessible can easily be added into the scope of your project.
Click here to read more about ensuring your house is safe and accessible.
About Elite Custom Builders | Residential Contractor
Elite Custom Builders set the standard for residential contractors in the North Central West Virginia region. From renovations, to home additions and completely custom new homes, we have the experience to bring your vision to life.
We stand behind our work, allowing you to rest-assured that your home is in good hands. We use quality materials, hire fully-trained and experienced staff and never cut corners.
To discuss your next renovation or addition project with us, click below.