Article of the Week – Taking Advantage of What you Already Have

Part II in our 'Planning a Renovation' Series

Try to work the project to take best advantage of existing situations. For example, if you are opening up an attic and are going to include a bathroom, where should it be placed? It makes sense to line it up vertically with a bathroom immediately below, since there already is supply and waste plumbing up to that level.

Since people change houses on average every four to five years, it is wise to consider the improvements that add maximum value to your style of house, even if you have no intention of moving. Plans have a way of changing. Walk through the neighborhood, talk to your friends, consider what attracted you to the house and what features are generally popular over the long term.

If you do not plan to sell in the near future, be wary of fads. Many home improvements are popular for only a short time and may not add lasting value. Laundry chutes were considered a luxury for some time, but now that people are moving laundry facilities to the second floor, a chute may only be wasted space. Sliding glass doors, for example, may be popular one year and wooden French doors the next. Avoid doing a renovation that may not be right for your home just because it's the 'in' thing to do.

Generally speaking, the improvements with the highest returns are modernized bathrooms and kitchens, or projects that add a bedroom, bathroom, or family room to the house. It is important that additions and improvements be consistent with the style and character of the home. For example, a Victorian style house with a modern ranch-style addition will look odd.

Be wary of overimproving the property. We can help advise what renovations may be appropriate. While saunas and whirlpools may be quite suitable in one area, they may not add considerable value in others. It should be remembered that location is all-important in real estate, and that the best house on the street will probably not command as high a price as it might deserve. An old axiom is to buy the lowest-priced house on a really good street and upgrade it. The return on your investment is usually greatest in this situation.

In summary, the planning stage is all important, and a planning checklist is recommended, wherein all existing components of the house are considered and possible changes to improve deficient areas are thoroughly investigated. This is the time to move slowly, talk to lots of people, look at the future and, above all, to remain flexible.

-Sourced from Sears Manage My Home

Stay tuned for Part III: Setting A Budget

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