Sunday, January 20, 2013

Knowing when to stop renovating

Knowing when and where to stop your renovation.

A lot of people buy homes, second homes or cottages that are fixer-uppers. They decide that the price they are going to pay is reduced enough that they can buy the place and then renovate it to their standards or to at least liveable standards.

There are several reasons why you would only renovate the building to liveable standards;

  • You have a limited budget.
  • You plan to flip the house quickly.
  • You have to live in the home so you have to make sure that you can live there while the renovation is proceeding.
  • You have a limited window of time to do the work.

One of the hardest things to do when you are planning your renovation or once you have actually started the renovation is where to stop the work.
Once you start renovating you will find things that need to be repaired that you didn’t anticipate, this eats up your budget and slows down the speed of your renovation. Unless you are just repainting bedrooms usually renovating or re-designing one area of the home affects the other end of the home. You could redo a room on one side of the home, which could consist of doing electrical, plumbing, re-trimming, moving walls and generally creating a lot of dust and then you will end up with parts of the home that are unfinished or look drastically in need of renovation because you now created a new area.
More then a few people have gotten so deep into a renovation that when they turned around they were out of money, they were only half done the project and were forced to stop renovation and live in the mess. In the worst case scenarios people can end being forced to sell the home to try and re-coup there money. This is a scenario that you do not want to get caught in, you are almost guaranteed not to get your money back from it.

Here are a few simple things that you need to know about renovating;

  • You need to come up with a plan, a plan that gives you the image of what the entire house will look like when you are done.
  • You need to budget that whole plan.
  • Decide on how much you can afford to do in one go.
  • Make a 1 year plan, a two year plan, a 5 year plan and a final plan. If your doing extensive renovations on a limited budget then you will definitely need the multi-year plan.
  • Figure out what parts of the house you can do and still leave the rest of the house alone. There will be a little overlap with unfinished spaces but you should be prepared to live with that especially if you can't afford to do the whole project at once.
  • Before you start make sure that you have everything you need to complete whatever part of the house you are renovating. For example you need all the plumbing fixtures before you start a bathroom renovation.
  • Hire professionals to do the job. It might sound like a great way to save money by doing everything yourself, but remember you get what you pay for. The worst thing in the work is to do the plumbing yourself and have the room all finished and have one of the joints in your plumbing come apart, destroying all the drywall and flooring that you just paid for and installed.
  • Patience. You will need a lot of this, there is a reason that they call drywall dust “divorce dust”. Renovating always takes longer then you think it will take and costs more then you budgeted.
  • When you budget you need to set aside 20 % of your budget for cost over runs and unforeseen problems.

Remember that if you fail to plan then you should plan to fail.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

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