Adjusting to life as a homeowner is full of ups and downs. With the far greater responsibility of taking care of your own home also comes an incredible amount of freedom. Not only is there no landlord to tell you where you can and cannot hang pictures, being entirely in charge of your house also means that you can renovate anything in the home. Want new carpets, new wall colors, or built-in shelves in that corners by the television? No problem!
Continuous Home Improvement Projects
In fact, many homeowners choose to begin an enjoyable and potentially profitable hobby of starting a new home improvement project once a year or every few years. These projects can be random, just little things that you want to change, or follow a long-term goal to unify the interior design in a completely new style. You might renovate the kitchens one year, the living room floor the next year, or redesign your landscaping instead. You can build new things, take out old things, make replacements, or design something completely new.
However, while personalizing your home and making it more comfortable for your family is the primary goal, don’t forget that the design decisions you make today will influence the value of your home on the market, should you ever decide to sell it. Starting a home improvement habit is a fantastic way to continuously raise the property value of your house. To do so effectively, affordably, and with projects you and your family will love, it’s also important to keep in mind a few key considerations.
Age of House
How old is your new home or the one you’re considering buying? The year a house was built in, along with when specific aspects were last renovated, should have a considerable impact on what and how you plan your home improvement projects. As time passes, technology and materials to build homes has increased meaning that older homes can often stand to see a lot of improvement to bring them up to par with the rest of the real estate market.
They also tend to be built of more solid materials as opposed to the light-weight and more efficient solutions we use today. This means that you may be able to mount more on sturdier walls, but could also indicate a certain amount of frailty because old materials are more likely to have deteriorated. Old houses also tend to have more enclosed floor plans so if you want an open living area, consider taking down a few interior walls.
Newer homes will be built out of today’s materials and techniques meaning that you will have an easier time working with or replacing features. The newer your home is, the less likely it is to need seriously large improvements which gives you a blank slate for creative improvements instead.
When thinking about how to renovate and improve your house, we have one very helpful tip that almost on one thinks to share with first-time homeowners. Think about who will buy your home when you are finally ready to sell. Whether this is a starter home for you and you have always planned to move up or if you’re incredibly happy with your family home and never plan to sell, remember that property always eventually sells. You may choose to sell after a few years when your true dream house comes onto the market or it’s possible that your children might sell the house together if you leave it to them.
The key is to know who that sale will be targeted for. There are certain standards by which demographics tend to follow. Once you figure out who the ‘target audience’ is for our home sale whenever that will be, you can keep this in mind when planning for your DIY home improvements. Homes in great family neighborhoods will drastically benefit from fun and child-friendly improvements while an already senior-friendly home in a quiet neighborhood would see a higher return with a few handrails or ramps. Houses in or near college towns might be bought as a student house later on so trendy modern designs may be a more profitable way to go.
The next consideration to make before you make a single solid plan is to know what your neighborhood is going to say about the improvements. If your home is located inside an HOA (home owner’s association) as so many homes are, it’s important to know your neighborhood policies for both interior and exterior renovations. Most HOAs are fine with homeowners doing whatever then want inside the house or behind a privacy fence in the backyard but the primary concern of an HOA is to preserve the entire neighborhood’s property values.
If you are part of an HOA, the most likely issue to worry about is changing the home exterior. There may be limitations on what colors you can use, some things you can and cannot do to the yard, and sometimes HOAs even try to enforce having a ‘nice enough car’. Whether your HOA is one of the crazy ones or are completely reasonable, be sure to understand the local rules before making any major changes to your exterior.
Budgeting is a huge part of planning a successful home improvement project and no two projects are alike. One thing to remember is that no home improvement plan goes without a hitch. There’s always some kind of setback, a silly mistake, or a serious miscalculation that can lead to additional time and expense to complete the projects. Never budget your home improvement projects down to the wire. In fact, whether you’re saving money for a big project or taking out home renovation loans, always make sure to leave an additional 20% of your project budget as ‘wiggle room’. This way, whether the setback is accidental or circumstantial, you’ll be able to recover and complete the project still mostly on-time.
Costs to Consider
- ex: Power drill, hammer and nails, paintbrushes and rollers
- ex: Timber, drywall, tiles
- ex: Lights, Faucets, and every handle in the house
- Installation Supplies
- ex: caulk and painter’s tape
Of course, you don’t have to buy everything you use for your home improvement projects fresh from the hardware store. Tools, in particular, can be incredibly costly to stock up on, especially if you only need them for one or two projects. Fortunately, we live in a very DIY-enthusiastic society which means that there is a very high chance that someone you know has all the tools you need and would be willing to lend them to you.
Check in with family and friends who live nearby to see what they have lying around unused in their garages and you should be able to find most of what you’re looking for. If not, consider asking a few of your friendlier neighbors who might be interested in your project and happy to lend you the tools they won’t be using this year.
The Sharing Economy Question
DIY has been the solution for hands-on homeowners on a budget for centuries. If you have the knowledge, skill, and physical ability it is possible to save thousands of dollars on every improvement project simply by doing things yourself instead of hiring a contractor. However, the key to enjoying your renovation projects and getting the most value for your home is knowing where your DIY abilities hit their limits. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to shell out contractor prices. Instead, look to the sharing economy.
The sharing economy, also known as the ‘gig economy’ is built on the idea that normal people can provide for the needs of others usually fulfilled by companies. Several sharing economy platforms allow you to hire a local handy-person to come help you DIY. While the sharing economy involves a certain amount of risk, doing your research about and sticking with your neighborhood pro can still keep your costs down. Of course, if you’d feel more comfortable with a professional or feel the job is too important for amateurs, don’t hesitate to start shopping for local services.
Improvements That You and Your Property Value Will Love
When a homeowner plans to renovate, the reason is almost universally that they wanted to personalize the design and have an even more enjoyable time at home. Considering what we have talked about, this means finding an interesting ‘happy medium’ between what you could do with a dream home and enhancing the selling points of your property effectively increasing its value. Anything that bosts the look and appeal of the landscaping is a great plan, as is subtly increasing the utility of the home with friendly details like better-designed kitchen cabinets, corner shelves in an otherwise unusable space, and utility-efficient fixtures.
Beyond basic functional improvements, let your imagination run wild. Build a dream house for your children to grow up in, the perfect home office, or a garage-den to die for. These little touches will only ensure that others who share your tastes will be even more interested in the house should you ever decide to sell. For more helpful first-time homeowner resources, please contact me today!