Thursday, November 26, 2015

Home Renovations

As couples get older and the kids move out (or even if they don't) thoughts turn toward home improvements or renovations.  A few extra dollars means that the horrible carpet can finally be pulled or the green tile in the bathroom can be eliminated.  However, once you go beyond painting walls, big money can be at stake so take a few minutes to consider the following:

For whom are you renovating?

None of us know for sure what the future holds; however, we usually have some idea of what we would like to have happen.  Are you planning on staying in your house for the indefinite future, or do you plan to move in a few years?  If you are not planning to move, plan your renovations to make YOU happy, without much concern about resale value.  If you plan to move, plan to make your home appeal to as many people as possible. 

We do not plan to move.  When we renovated the kitchen we put down vinyl floors because I like them.  We used laminate countertops because I did not like the alternatives enough to pay for them.  While I was told time and again that ceramic tile floors (too cold and hard for my taste) and granite countertops were more durable, my vinyl floors and laminate countertops  have been there for fifteen years and neither needs to be replaced due to wear.  If I get tired of the color/pattern of either one, I do not have my life savings invested in them and can replace them.  When we renovated the bathrooms recently, we used vinyl on the floors and I am loving it--it sweeps clean easily, or I can quickly run a damp mop over it.  When I had those horrible cold hard ceramic tile floors with white grout, I could spend hours scrubbing those floors.

Do you know how long it takes to scrub a white tile floor with white grout?

I LOVE this floor

On the other hand, I realize that most people want ceramic tile floors and granite countertops; if we were planning on selling in a few years, I would probably have made different choices.

How much can you spend?

We've all read that home renovations always cost more than you think they will.  Make sure you have more money than you think you will need.  Shop around online, go to home shows and have some idea of what you want before you start talking to professionals.  

What is really important, and what can you let slide?

Spend a few hours watching HGTV or perusing Houzz and you will fall in love with all the high-end decor.  Reality is that most of us can't afford it.  My house has 1970's style soffits in the kitchen and bathrooms.  Do I love them?  No.  Would I put them in if I was building a house?  No.  Am I going to pay to have them removed?  No.  I am also not going to remove ths stained glass mushroom in my kitchen--again, not my taste but not so bad as to make me want to spend money to remove it.  On the other hand, I despised my bathroom floors and the tile around the bathtubs had to go.  We could have gone with the acrylic liners that go over the current bathtub and wall tile and saved some money, but many things I read suggested that problems down the road were likely.  We gutted to the studs and they found enough water back there to make me glad we pulled all that out.  The 1970's paneling in my den is next on the elimination list.

There is no (family friendly) word to describe how much I hated that grout
A prior artistic effort; luckily covered by a shower curtain

What will you do, and what will you leave to the professionals?

Some of us are handy; some of us are not.  For some, time is more valuable than money; others have more time than money.  Some people get a real sense of accomplishment from DIY projects; others just want to finish, and if the finish isn't perfect, so be it.  

Before tackling a big project, try a similar small one.  Did you just read a great blog article saying how easy it would be to paint your kitchen cabinets?  Before you try that, try buying an unfinished cabinet and painting it (surely you can find a place for it somewhere, like your garage).  If it goes well, if you are happy with the result, then try it on the real thing.  Looking at expensive mistakes for years is no fun; hire a pro unless you are sure you can do a good job.  We had professionals paint our bathrooms and they look great.  Then I got the bright idea of painting the frame to the mirror in my bathroom.  Oops, I got few specs of dark paint on my light walls.  I'm going to try to get it up, or cover it, but that professional wouldn't have let that happen, and while I like the painted frame better than I liked the shiny metal one, I can tell it wasn't professionally done--and I'm far from the pickiest person on the planet.

While some people may question whether owning a home is the smartest use of your money, I love having a place I can change to suit my tastes.

Have you done any home renovations more extensive than painting?  Do you have any advice?

Check out my other posts this week:  From my Kickfurther Store:  LorettaRose, L.L.C. and Loyal3 Lunch.  

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich and, A Disease Called Debt and *

1 comment:

  1. I actually love how that laminate looks in your bathroom! It warms up the room.

    My parents were just renovating and picked things they liked, but with a solid resell value, since they'd like to move out in the next 10 years (hopefully before renovating again). It's been really interesting to watch their process.