One of my oldest friends is about to purchase her 1st home. Before, I move on, can I get a
Hands in the air!
She’s lived in this home for years, loves the area and is willing to purchase it from the owner. Problem is the original owner, pretty much left everything in it’s original state. Right back to 1993!
Let that sink in for a minute.
She didn’t move in back then. However, when she started renting this home she didn’t look too closely at the appliances, countertops, windows or flooring. As a renter, you rarely ever do. Most of the time, you’re just happy to find something clean, bright and airy in a safe neighbourhood.
As a prospective homeowner, she is now seeing things a little differently. The appliances are old. The countertop has seen better days, the windows are leaky and the floor squeaks. Every deficiency she recognizes needs fixing. The mental calculations are rising and worry is setting in.
The costs she doesn’t know about
Conversations with neighbours who upgraded their units.
Malaise over the unknown
Well-meaning friends and family telling her to be careful
During our conversation, I’m thinking I should really tell her to grab a copy of the How To Create A Fabulous Multi-Generational Home guide. By no means is she creating a multi-gen home, but she could sure use the design and planning suggestions.
Major unease over costs
A couple of neighbours changed the main level flooring for a cost of $12K. Not a number she was ready to hear, especially for a 900sq ft area. I can’t blame her. It’s missing context.
Type of hardwood : real or engineered
Labour costs: remove old floor, dispose, install new floor…etc
Additional costs: repairs to the floor, changes, underlay pad….etc
Cost: the actual cost of the material
I recommended she start doing her homework on material pricing and labour costs. Cautioned her not begin with the main level flooring. Why? Simply because every level of the house and this includes the outdoor patio requires an update of some sort. Changing the main floor hardwood first is like an invitation for fear and worry to work their magic every time a workman comes into the house.
Home Renovations over time
For an antsy client like her, there is really only one solution – a renovation over time. Timing could be as long or as short as she would like it to be. Letting the dust settle between updates and watching her bank account replenish will slowly build up her confidence.
First up – I say windows. They are old. They leak and there’s water damage. Changing these out as soon as possible will improve the energy efficiency of the home. Costs? Again, depends on choice – double glazing, triple glazing, mullions…..etc
Some window styles perform better than others depending on seasonal (ak.a. winter) conditions. Any reputable window company should be able to explain the pros and cons of window styles. Wait times will probably be anywhere from 6-8 weeks starting from the time of measurement.
Next up the patio. The kitchen may need renovations, but an updated patio can serve as a temporary eating area during the kitchen renos. Moreover, updating the patio ahead of time will minimize the stress and worry of damaging a new main level floor.
Flipping to the front of the house and talking curb appeal - the front steps leading to the door. Two schools of thought. Leave them as is or repair them. I say repair them right away. She is updating, the windows and the patio. Might as well do this and be done with the exterior of the house.
Then comes the bulk of the renovations – the interior of a 3 floor townhome. Whether she begins with the lower or upper level it doesn’t matter. I recommend the main floor is the last to be renovated.
Finding your comfort zone
A methodical approach is perhaps the best way for my friend to tackle her upcoming home improvement projects. Completing one task at a time, letting the dust settle and taking a breather in between will not overwhelm her and she can still go on with her very busy life.
My friend can’t be the only person with renovation anxiety. It just happens that we’re friends and we can talk about it. If you’re holding off on much needed improvements because of fear of costs or apprehension about the process, you’re not alone.
Kalli George Interiors can help. We will work with you to alleviate that unease and help you get the home of your dreams quicker.
P.S. You’re here! It was a longer read, but I thought it was a topic worth addressing. No need to scroll back up. Here’s the guide link again.