Home Renovation Series: A Quick Guide to Whole Home Renovations

A whole home renovation is a big project. It’s a lot more complicated than just upgrading a room or retiling a floor. There are a lot (and we mean, a lot) of factors to take into consideration, both pre- and post-project. Despite your best efforts to research and prepare yourself mentally, physically, financially, and emotionally, remember that all home improvement projects are different. Your renovation experience will be totally unique.

And that means the obstacles you run into will be unique, too.

Don’t despair! We’ve put together a handy little guide to whole home renovations. Below, you’ll find the benefits and trends of current home renovations. At the end, we also give you a quick list of what to expect when you start renovating your home.

BENEFITS

Why should you renovate your home? Three reasons:

1. Potentially Increase Your Home’s Market Value

This is especially true if your house is substantially old or dated. Statistically speaking, more homeowners are attracted to properties that look new or fresh. Aside from the fact that they typically have better aesthetics and curb appeal, newer-looking homes give the impression of comfort and efficiency.

When prospective owners see an older home, they see a home that’s going to need a lot of work to be livable. A newer home, in contrast, is reassuring simply because of its “newness”; it hasn’t been subjected to wear and tear yet. The homeowners won’t have to put in much work—if any at all—to fully enjoy the home.

By improving your home through a whole home renovation, you also improve your property’s overall market value and—by extension—your potential return on investment.

2. Improve Your Own Quality of Living

Of course, market value and potential ROI shouldn’t be your only motivators for remodeling your home. A more personal benefit would be your own comfort and happiness. If you’re only “enduring” your home—and not “enjoying” it—then you should definitely consider making some changes.

Of course, it will take time and planning for the renovation push through. But all the effort you put into it will be worth it once you experience a home that seems truly catered to you; your preferences, your predilections, and your personality.

Your home should be a place where you feel safe, happy, and comfortable. When neither is the case, a home improvement project might be just what you need.

3. Save on Maintenance & Upkeep

Another bonus to upgrading your home—and all the furniture, appliances, and home systems inside it—is keeping the amount of money you could have potentially spent on repairs, replacement, maintenance, and upkeep. In the long run, investing money in improving your house as a whole will prove to be more cost-effective than constantly paying for repairs.

Here’s a sample scenario: let’s say you spend about $200 every three months on plumbing services, because there’s always something going wrong; a pipe burst, a faucet’s leaking, another drains clogged again … and so on. In a year, that’s $800 for plumbing services on top of what you already pay for water and utilities. And that’s just for labor. Every now and then, you pay a little extra—whether it’s $50 or $500—for parts and more extensive procedures.

The reality is that our homes are made of parts with shelf lives. They wear down as time goes on, and they wear down even faster with constant use. Items that consume energy are not as efficient as they once were, causing them to consume more just to meet performance standards. Minor issues left unattended can create major complications down the line.

A whole home renovation can address these issues before they get out of hand, ideally saving you a bundle on dealing with the drawbacks.

TRENDS

What do homeowners want right now? What will lend the most aesthetic value to your home? What about the most use value? We list 2019’s top trends, right here.

1. Faux Hardwood Floors

Home Renovation Series A Quick Guide to Whole Home Renovations1Hardwood floors are gorgeous; no argument here. However, they’re also insanely expensive in terms of acquisition and installation. Maintaining them is also expensive. Genuine hardwood floors need a lot of attention and constant TLC—requirements that not a lot of homeowners have the time, knowledge, or resources to fulfill.

This is why engineered flooring has become so popular. In fact, engineered wood, vinyl, and laminate flooring have completely edged out genuine hardwood floors. They’re easily a fraction of the price, they’re so much easier to install, they don’t require extensive maintenance, and— They look just as beautiful as actual hardwood.

Engineered wood, vinyl, and laminate offer homeowners quick, easy, and affordable flooring options without forcing them to compromise on visual quality and aesthetics.

2. Mixed Metal Finishes

Back then, home design trended towards uniformity. You picked one color scheme and one finish, and you stuck with that decision throughout the entirety of your home. If you used mahogany or dark wood furniture in the living room, chances are your bedroom drawers and hallway cabinets were mahogany or dark wood as well. If your kitchen cabinet handles had a chrome finish, chances were all the metals in your home had a chrome finish.

Now? Experimentation is in. Homeowners are no longer afraid to mix it up a little. It’s not uncommon for newer homes—and newly renovated homes—to boast mixed metal finishes in every room. Design favorites include:

  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Gunmetal
  • Chrome
  • Pewter
  • Aged metals
  • Matte black

Designers recommend picking one type of metal as a dominant hue and one type of metal with a contrasting tone to complement it. If you choose copper or brass as your dominant metal—which are warm-toned—pick a cool-toned metal to contrast it, like pewter or silver. You can also experiment with finishes, such as using largely polished copper and then complementing it with aged silver. This amalgamation of contrasting metals can give any home a more curated look.

3. Aging in Place

One of the latest, widespread trends in whole home renovation right now is “aging-in-place,” or the act of creating a room that can easily be used by people of all ages – also called Universal Design. That means that the ease with which you use your kitchen now should remain constant as you grow older.

Some examples of aging-in-place include installing support bars or grip bars in the bathroom. They can double as sources of support for aged residents and towel racks for everybody else. There’s also widening walkways and installing ramps for wheelchair use. Installing counter lighting can make it easier for people with vision problems to prepare food in the kitchen. And swapping out a raised breakfast bar for a lower kitchen island will make it easier for people of all heights to enjoy snacking in the kitchen.

WHAT TO EXPECT

New to renovating? That’s okay. Just prepare for these three eventualities:

1. Scheduling Will Be Your Greatest Enemy

Most homeowners new to home renovation often expect things like pricing issues, last-minute change orders, and client-company relationships to be substantial obstacles in the project’s completion. While not untrue, they’re overlooking one of the biggest factors that dictate whether or not your home gets renovated on time.

Yes, synchronizing schedules for a home renovation is near impossible—more so if you aren’t working with a design-build company.

A design-build company is a company where one team handles the design and construction portions of the renovation. This leaves you with several schedules less to coordinate, and it also eliminates the risk of miscommunication, scheduling errors, and a lot of he-said, she-said, back-and-forth shenanigans.

However, if you’re working with one company for design and a different company for construction, then a lot of coordination needs to happen. A top notch design build company will do all the hard work for you. They’ll coordinate all the electricians, plumbers and HVAC contractors, and keep you informed of the schedule.

2. It’s Normal to Spend a Little More Than You Planned

Homeowners who have never experienced a home improvement project before—let alone a whole home renovation—may be a little caught off-guard by the sheer amount of money that goes into it.

Here’s a hint: it’s usually a lot.

Of course, the impact can be mitigated by preparing an extensive financial plan and consulting a professional regarding the expenses and potential “extra” charges. And a lot of research always goes a long way, so try interviewing homeowners who have recently gotten their homes remodeled, or else search for related literature focusing on your area (i.e., current trend reports or expense reports).

Regardless, the surprise over the prices often leads to a boost in unhealthy anxiety. So brace yourself and take deep, calming breaths as often as you can. Just know that spending more than what you planned for is very, very typical. It doesn’t mean you managed your finances wrong or that you were led astray. In fact, 2019 has brought with it a bit of a hike in the average remodel cost, so trust us; you’re not alone. These things happen.

A seasoned design build contractor will minimize surprises by informing you every step of the way as to what is happening and why.

Be prepared to have some challenges, and a little extra cash on-hand for minor last-minute purchases.

3. Change Orders Will Mess Up Your Financial Plan Even More

There’s expecting the unexpected, and then there’s expecting the change orders.

In home renovations, change orders are basically last-minute changes made to the original scope of work stipulated in a contract or agreement between two parties (usually the client and the company). These last-minute changes can be either adding something to the existing workload or taking something away from it.

The contract may or may not be altered depending on the magnitude of the change order. It may or may not also alter other areas of the project like timeline or overall cost.

Of course, change orders are expected, but there’s no way to account for them specifically. You’ll never know what changes need to be made to the schedule or the design. For instance, you can’t exactly predict the weather. You can’t exactly control it if your contractor’s supplier runs out of stock of a certain type of resin that your designer recommended. You can’t do anything if your spouse decides, at the last minute, that the eggshell color you picked out for the bathroom isn’t at all flattering—which means you’ll have to get the creamy beige tiles instead.

Always account for change orders. There’s no way around them. A good design build company will discuss changes with you, and have you approved, in writing, any changes that you approved or are needed to repair unforeseen items.

In the end, a home renovation is definitely worth all the time, effort, resources, emotions, and frustrations you put into it. If done right, the permanent benefits of a remodeled house far outweigh the temporary setbacks.

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