Renovating: What You Want vs. What You Can Afford

If your home no longer reflects your changing tastes and lifestyle, but your neighborhood is desirable, a few basic changes might make a huge difference; for example, altering your color scheme, converting a bedroom into a home office, upgrading the kitchen and bathroom. Not only are these practical home improvement projects, but they can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home. In addition, such enhancements will give you the biggest bang for your buck if you should decide to sell your home in the future.

Make Your Wish List . . .

No matter what your motives may be for improving your home, I suggest you start off by making a wish list with three categories:

1. Must have

2. Would like to have

3. Dreams can come true

When you’ve completed your list, consider the amount of money you have available or would like to borrow. Establish a realistic estimate of what you can afford. To do this, consider the following:

1. Are you planning major renovations requiring services of an architect or contractor?

2. Will you need an electrician, plumber, carpenter, or painter?

3. How much work can you do yourself?

It’s important to consider all of the above factors as you develop your list of affordable home improvements.

How to Begin . . .

Since every project should start with a plan, it’s a good idea to itemize everything you want and feel you can afford. Also, don’t forget to include the designing of rooms to be remodeled. If you are going to require professional help, start contacting contractors, plumbers and other tradesmen to get estimates. Although comparison shopping is smart, you should take into consideration that quality, experience and craftsmanship are the key ingredients to look for. If a contractor is less experienced, you may receive a lower estimate; but, beware, as the quality of workmanship may not be satisfactory.

Deciding on Key Projects . . .

The most important projects for your consideration should be those that not only meet your current tastes and life style, but also increase the value of your home. The most important among them is kitchen remodeling, and the second most important is bathroom remodeling. Not only will these two projects meet your tastes and life style, but they will surely result in a greater return for your money upon selling your property.

Good-bye Clutter . . .

Removing clutter from your life has been linked to huge benefits associated with not aesthetics but also with relaxation and well being. To do this, you may require adequate home storage that may involve additional cabinets, shelves and storage bins. However, sufficient strength of mine to discard a lot of junk, no matter how much you love it, may alleviate some of the need for additional storage areas. You may also want to consider purchasing some affordable decorative containers for organizing and concealing small items such as incoming mail.

In your yard, removing clutter may include getting rid of dead leaves, branches and trees, and raking the garden and lawn to create a neat and tidy environment.

Other methods of getting rid of clutter may include recycling, a garage sale, donations to charitable organizations, or just plain throwing it out.

Clean, Clean, Clean . . .

Of course, if you’re remodeling, the cleaning of your home will be the final step after the dust is settled. But what about the areas that aren’t being remodeled? If they’re cleaned, they too will look much better. Unless you’re painting or refinishing, think about cleaning your floors, walls, windows, tile, porcelain, stainless steel, cabinets. Not only will these areas look better, but the environment will be healthier – no more possibility of mold or mildew. Also, it’s a good idea to make sure your rooms are well ventilated while you are cleaning. And if you purchase any special products containing strong chemicals, you may want to wear gloves and a mask.

Interior and Exterior Painting . . .

One of the most popular home improvement projects is interior and exterior painting. Why? Because fresh paint makes your home look clean, bright, in style and spacious. Accent colors on walls also add a bit of pizzazz to any tired space. And don’t forget to add some life to that bland front door. Color can add warmth to an entry way.

High on Your List . . .

Remodeling your kitchen and bathrooms should be high on your list. Whether it be a complete overhaul, or the purchase of new appliances and fixtures (which will pay off in dividends when you sell your home) or just minor changes to update the look and/or create more storage, the positive impact will be tremendous. If you can’t afford to replace your kitchen cabinets, you may want to consider replacing just the cabinet doors. And if that’s not within your budget, you can consider having the kitchen cabinets painted. Although you may hear some negative comments about the final appearance of painted cabinets, a capable contractor will know the proper procedure regarding preparation in order to get a quality result. And newly painted kitchen cabinets can come out absolutely wonderful if done correctly.

If your kitchen or bathroom sink is outdated, or your tub, toilet or shower is no longer attractive, you may want to replace it. However, if your budget can’t handle that, you may want to replace some faucets and/or shower head with new up-to-date fixtures, perhaps add shelves, update your tile, and paint the walls and woodwork. Your contractor can provide you with estimates for any projects, large or small, but it’s important to know what you are or are not capable of doing yourself.

Additional Potential Projects . . .

Once you’ve decided on your most important home improvement projects, it’s time to consider window coverings and upgraded flooring. If you’re handy, you may want to purchase fabric for your window coverings, turn hems with iron-on tape, and buy attractive curtain rods that will allow you to dramatically drape the fabric over the rods. If your budget will permit, you may also consider a variety of shades or blinds which require no drapery and can easily be installed by your contractor.

Upgraded flooring includes contemporary hardwood flooring or laminate flooring. If your home has hardwood flooring, your contractor can sand it, re-stain it, or give it a new clear finish. Other types of new updated flooring options include tile, vinyl, stone, marble and textured rubber.

Adding or upgrading an existing patio, walkway or deck can also add aesthetic and monetary value to your home. From power washing, masonry and painting an existing deck to building and finishing a new deck or entrance way, your home has the potential to reflect your changing tastes and lifestyle.

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