by Janice Salone
on Monday, September 16th, 2019 at 1:23pm.
If you’re anything like me, your relationship with your home is like a marriage. First, you fall in love at first sight. Then, you get married (buy the home). You go through this wonderful honeymoon stage when you just can’t wait to have family and friends over to show off your new home. And then it happens, you reach year 10 in your home and wonder how in the world you stayed this long! You look around and realize that there are some things you would like to improve for functionality, space, condition, or just plain “prettying up” (updating). I am currently at this stage of life with my home and there are a few things that need to be updated, a lot of things that need to be repaired due to wear and tear, and there are even more things that I just flat out want to scratch and just do completely over! This remodeling or renovating itch is intensified when I am working. I am a Real Estate Agent, and showing pretty houses is an occupational hazard! You see these shiny new homes and then you go back to your 10 year old house in its current outdated state, and you just shake your head and say, “I’ve gotta do something with this house.” This is a little snippet into my current renovation journey and I hope it helps.
Where Should I Start?
Make a list of the repairs and renovations you would like to do in your home. I went to my husband in a tizzy saying, “We need to fix this house, NOW!” Since we have been in this home, we have many changes to our family dynamic which affects the functionality of this home in its current state. So I ramble off a list of things that I want to change. We sat down, made a list of repairs and renovations that we would like to do and the things that needed to be fixed. My husband and I then looked over the finances to see how much money we had to put toward these projects at that time. We are not fans of financing, so we decided to use cash-on-hand to complete the project(s). This option fit us, but it may not fit all.
Necessity Over Want
There is a long list of renovations I want to do to this house, however I had to look over that list and see which of those “wants” was actually a “necessity” for functionality and the overall condition of the home. That was a no-brainer…the kids’ bathroom! My home has 2 full bathrooms (master and additional). The kids’ bath has a tub/shower combo and a separate area with the vanity. Now here comes the tricky part, what are we going to do? Well, we knew that we would remove the slab marble that surrounded the tub, that was the easy part. My husband then muddies the waters and suggests, “Hey, what if we just remove the tub and make a big shower?” This was a great idea and makes a lot of sense for my family. My kids are older now, and they only take showers anyway. There is a downside to this though. Making the space a large shower would mean adding to the budget that we had already set, and this was not an option. Making the shower would mean that the contractor would have to remove the tub, pour concrete, build the shower floor, and the big cost….the shower door. Despite the facts, I was still a little torn between what I “wanted” and what made sense, so I polled my social media friends! It was funny to me how the answers were divided. I had my real estate friends telling me the logical information that I already knew which was to keep the tub for resale value, and then I had my other friends on my shoulder telling me to go for the big shower. In the end, reason won over my desire to accommodate a personal preference. I had to strongly take into consideration that we will eventually put this house on the market and more than likely, the family buying our home will be one with small children who are not quite ready for taking showers instead of baths.
Things I Learned During the Renovation
Know what you need before you start buying! Did you know that every brand of bath fixture has its own unique sized valve? I am changing the tub and shower fixtures. I thought I could just go to my local DIY store and just pick out a set of fixtures and I would have instant pretty. Yeah, not so much. The next day when my contractor returned, I had my new set of fixtures on the counter and I thought we were ready go. Nope, to use my nice, new tub fixture, I would have to cut out the pipe from the wall and change out the valve box. Translation: $$$$$$. This would require a licensed plumber and anytime they have to cut out a pipe, it’s going to be pricey. I opted not to blow my budget and find a store that still sells the brand of fixtures that I currently have.
It’s very easy to go over your budget! I had to make sure that I didn’t go overboard when choosing materials for my renovation. It was very hard to contain myself in a store of so many shiny, new things, but I had to keep in mind that I needed to stay within my means to complete the project.
Do what makes sense! When considering your renovation, know whether this is your long-term home or if you will be making another stop in your homeownership journey in a short timeframe. If you will be in your house for while (3 or more years), go all out! Personalize to your heart’s content. However, if you plan on sticking a “For Sale” sign in the yard soon (6 months-1 year), take into consideration that your personal tastes may not be palatable for a future buyer so go with something neutral. If you’re not sure what the current tends are for the area of your home you are renovating, call your trusted real estate agent for advice.
Know the value that your renovation will bring to your home! In my case, renovating my bathroom was more maintenance than an upgrade. There are some renovations such as additions or amenities that will increase the value of your home. Think of it like this, changing the oil in your car regularly does not necessarily increase the value of the car, however it does ensure that you will more than likely receive the full value of it because it was well maintained and is operating properly. Much like this bathroom, if I were to put it on the market with warping cabinet doors, paint chips in the trim, and mold from poor ventilation, I can guarantee that I would not receive any offers for the full price that I could ask once everything has been cleaned and made nice again.
Although I ran into a setback during this process, I am satisfied with the end result. It was worth the frustration of figuring out what I wanted to do, who was going to do it, and the temporary inconvenience of having to share a bathroom with five other people.