Real estate agents know that one of the best ways to build equity in your home is to invest in it with “sweat equity.” In other words, you personally put your own elbow grease into a project that ultimately improves the value of your house. Home remodeling can often be a fun and practical way to build equity without investing a ton of money. Home remodeling does not necessarily mean a complete face-lift; it could simply be a small make-over, such as a new coat of paint, new light fixtures, or new bathroom fixtures. Even power washing the exterior and washing the windows is a great way to improve the look of your home.
Have you ever seen Design On a Dime, one of HGTV’s popular shows? They make home remodeling look so easy, but they also demonstrate how to create a great face lift with some imagination and a little vs. a lot of money. Better Homes and Gardens magazine often illustrates some great remodeling projects using before and after photos. It’s so much fun to see pictures of worn-out kitchens, out-dated bathrooms, or too-small family rooms, and then see the photos of the same rooms after the remodeling was finished. The difference can often be staggering. It is amazing how remodeling just one room can completely change the character of a home.
You know the real estate saying, “Location, location, location,” right? Well, you might have the location of your dreams, but the house of your nightmares. You can change the house but not the location, unless you move. If you really love your current location, it’s worth considering a face-lift or make-over, if that’s what it takes to be happy where you’re presently living.
Bring in the Pros
Sometimes a home remodeling project becomes more than just sweat equity and requires professional design and construction skills. If you are not trained in this field, plan on hiring a design/builder or an architect to assist in the creation of the vision and educate you about the costs.
I am listing two homes for sale, where both owners hired professional help and achieved remarkable results.
In this case the home remodeling was remodeled by a contractor that worked with the owners on creating their design. The end results is a remarkable changeover from a small colonial to an open and gracious home that is totally updated to today’s needs and desires. (Check my next blog which will have amazing before and after pictures of this home!)
This house was remodeled by the owners, an artist, and a contractor. They took a one-and-a-half-story rustic cabin and turned it into a contemporary colonial style home with tall ceilings and lots of open rooms. A detached two-story barn serves as a heated work shop or garage with attic space above.
The most common and the biggest bang-for-your-buck remodel projects are kitchen and bath makeovers. You might know your kitchen or bath belong in the 1950s, but you might not know what the heck to do to improve them. To get some ideas, look at home remodeling magazines, watch HGTV, or go to www.HGTV.com. Visit local open houses to see what others have done. What is it that appeals to you? Do you like a different countertop than the one you have? Maybe built-in shelves would work well in the bathroom. Maybe the way to transform the kitchen is to install an island.
A good friend of mine once said, “Get the entire picture in your mind, so you can combine everything for one cohesive final project.” Look at colors and combinations of colors with counter tops and cabinets as well as flooring. Then you can do it all at once or take it one step at a time as funds allow.
My husband and I bought a home 20 years ago. It was brand new and little by little we have upgraded and replaced several things. The advice my friend gave me regarding the entire picture has helped us move towards our ultimate home remodeling vision. Every five years we make a new list of what we will get done and we do it. We are now closing in on the final projects and I am already in love with our almost complete kitchen. It inspires me to work in it now. I love my new range, frig, and countertops, and the high-end appliances are so totally worth it. I now enjoy cooking again. (Psst… the new appliances are all Viking, purchased at Cocoplum Appliances in Essex Jct. Vermont.)
So… To remodel or not to remodel? That is your question. I hope this helps with some answers.
My next blog will show the before and after photos of the newly remodeled 29 Pleasant Valley Road. Come back and check it out. You will be amazed, for sure!