How to Survive a Remodel and Add Value to Your Home

By ForSaleByOwner

Any home remodeling — from a mundane coat of paint to a massive kitchen overhaul — poses challenges. If you’re not agonizing over colors then you’re fretting about budget. Regardless of the scope of your remodel, here are a few ways to jump-start the process and get you comfortable with the commitment.

Define the purpose of your remodel. The first step when deciding to remodel is to define why you’re remodeling in the first place. Is it for resale value? Personal taste? Expansion needs? This will aid in deciding just how much of a remodel you should undertake.

The added home value after a remodel is a major advantage. If you decide to sell your home later on, your home will be worth much more after remodeling. For most homeowners, the rewards outweigh the costs when it comes to remodeling projects. And while remodeling may seem like a lot of work, it’s rewarding to sell your home for a higher price because of your hard work.

Decide on a budget. Make sure when you’re building your budget that you leave 10 to 20 percent of “what if” money for any underlying problems that may pop up. You never know what’s lurking beneath your floorboards until you pull them up! Once you assess the budget of your project, you’ll be able to decide if you need to continue saving money or if you can start your project right away.

If you’re always looking for ways to save money, a helpful option is to buy or sell your home through ForSaleByOwner. By managing the process without a real estate agent, you’ll be able to put the money you save towards a remodel.

Figure out a timeline. Is the remodel going to take place while you live in the home? If so, does it affect a key area of the home such as the kitchen or a bathroom? Make sure you build two timelines — one for if everything goes according to plan and one accounting for any “what if” situations.

Use review sites to find reputable contractors. Looking at other people’s reviews can be very helpful when deciding what contractor to use. Don’t be afraid to interview multiple candidates to find the person you think will be the best fit for you and your needs.

Set expectations with your contractor up front. Before you start working with a contractor or craftsman, have them do a realistic timeline and budget and a “what if” of both. Surprises and delays are inevitable, but at least you’ll have a better idea of how these situations will be handled sooner rather than later.

Get going! If you conduct proper due diligence in advance of the remodel, keeping in mind the points above, you’ll be able to remain level-headed throughout the process and, better yet, enjoy it when it’s done!

Where to Invest in a Remodel  

With any remodel, you need to keep your house’s value top of mind. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to remodel beyond the worth of their home, pricing themselves out of their own neighborhood. Do a remodel comparison within your neighborhood before you get started and try to keep your value similar. A bit more is OK; a lot more is bad.

One room that’s always a safe bet to redo is the kitchen, the heart of the home. Investing in this space will pay dividends with future owners. Kitchen remodels can range from a few hundred dollars for minor aesthetic tweaks to tens of thousands of dollars for a full demo. Your total will also depend on the complexity of your design and the quality of materials you want to use.

Regardless of your budget, you can follow this simple formula to ensure you’re allocating it correctly:

Design fees: 4 percent

Installation: 17 percent

Appliances and ventilation: 14 percent

Cabinetry and hardware: 29 percent

Countertops: 10 percent

Lighting: 5 percent

Flooring: 7 percent

Doors and windows: 4 percent

Walls and ceilings: 5 percent

Faucets and plumbing: 4 percent

Other: 1 percent

Countertops and fixtures are easy places to start, as they’re some of the most visible items in your kitchen and are often the first things people see. Upgrading your countertops and fixtures has the potential to improve your resale value tremendously.

Another place to invest in is your bathrooms. If you have a bathroom pre-dating the year 2000, you’ll probably need a remodel. Your cost allocations will be the same as for the kitchen, but your total cost will be closer to a few hundred dollars to about $10,000, depending on the size of the space.

How to Make the Most of Your Remodel

One of the biggest misconceptions regarding any remodel is that you have to pay a lot to get a big payoff. That’s not necessarily true. Here are a few tips for getting the wow factor you want on the budget you need:

Get creative with sourcing your materials. There’s a treasure trove of online resources where you can find leftover materials from other projects. For example, granite normally sells for thousands of dollars per slab, but maybe there’s only enough left for a bathroom sink so the price gets slashed to a few hundred bucks. Major savings; big wow.

Don’t get stuck on a single material. Nothing is on trend forever. It’s more about what works with your space (and what you actually like). So if granite is too heavy for you, look into quartz. Equally as durable and snazzy.

Draw inspiration from nature. A lot of recycled and sustainable resources can be used in a home remodel and purchased for a fraction of the price of manufactured.

If you go into a home remodel with your eyes open, you should be able to avoid many common pitfalls.

Do your research and set reasonable expectations to ensure you get the most out of your efforts — and the most from your home’s (eventual) sale.