You’ve decided it’s time to renovate your home. You’ve been compiling a list in your head but finally that one thing pushed you to the edge and now it’s time. Perhaps some repairs you knew had to happen really let you know, like those turned shingles actually turned into a leaky roof -or- those old windows reminded you winter was coming when you noticed the curtains moving voluntarily -or- maybe it’s just time to freshen-up a dated and tired looking bathroom or kitchen. Changes in your lifestyle, like the birth of a child or needing a home office for your business might also mean it’s time to renovate your home. But more often the reason for home improvements is a simple desire to update so your home is in tune with the times and the needs of your current lifestyle. Once you start thinking about it the process can sometimes be overwhelming. That’s often how minor repairs become big ones – you can’t decide when, where or home to get started so you don’t until you’re forced to. That is too late – it always leads to a time crunched more costly project. Here’s my Home Renovation Advice – may I suggest you take a little time to decide now what your home needs and how home improvements can make your investment and your life better. Here are a few steps to help you get started:
Take an inventory
Get those thoughts and wishes out of your brain and onto paper. It’s said the difference between a goal and a wish is simply the act of writing it down. Make this easy and fun part of planning your home renovations. Instead of stressing over it just think of it like a brainstorming session. List our everything you think your home needs or would things you would like to change. Create your list in three sections:
- Must do Repairs – What in your home needs to be repaires or replaced to maintain it’s value?
- Improvements – What are the things in your home that don’t work properly or as well as you would like?
- Assets – What are the things in your home you really like don’t want to change? This may seem odd but it’s an important and sometimes overlooked piece. Sometimes people have something removed without thinking about it only later realizing how much it meant to their day to day living enjoyment.
Understand your ‘Why’
Take your list and think about each item you have identified. Briefly describe how it affects your daily living – how it is a challenge or in the case of your assets how it makes your life better?This will give you a better understanding of ‘why’ things need to be improved and which ones are the higher priority – which have the greater ‘why’. Here are some examples that homeowners have shared about common problems that lead to a renovation:
“When we bought this house our kids were babies. But now we are a full grown family of four with two teenagers and two working parents fighting over one bathroom! Every morning I battle before I even leave the house!“
“We never use our living room. It’s just too formal for our lifestyle and personality plus it has smal windows so it’s too dark and feels uncomfortable.“
Sure, you may be the head of the household but everyone in your home has to live with it. Isn’t it best to strive for maximum harmony among your brood? Make it important that everyone in your home has a say and everyone participates in your home renovation project. As a Professional Renovator I often find that homeowners overlook many things in their home that make life annoying or inconvenient simply because they have become accustomed to them. I can’t stress enough how helpful it is to take the time to do this inventory homework, including feedback from all household members.
Think Long Term – You may be totally focused on that great outdoor project because the sun is shinning and there’s a long hot summer ahead but seasons change and you’ll be suing your home year round for many years to come. If you’re planning home improvements in the summer, pause and think about your home in the winter. Where your closets large enough and in convenient locations for all of your coats and boots? Where there any spots in your home that were drafty or hard to heat? Conversely, if your plans are happening in the fall or winter think about your life during the summer months. A balanced plan that looks to solve challenges and create comforts over the long term will offer the greatest amount of satisfaction and family harmony.
Download this Worksheet from the CHBA (The Canadian Home Builders Association) to help you being your home improvements plan.