Renovating your dream home as a first time home buyer
Many first-time and move-up buyers are opting to purchase fixer-uppers with the intention of renovating. Not only is this an ideal way to purchase a property at the lower end of the market price, but it’s also a great way to customize the space to suit your design aesthetic and lifestyle, while increasing the home’s value. You will need to enlist in a professional inspection to ensure the property has good bones and structural integrity, with everything up to code. As a prospective home buyer, it’s easy to get carried away with visions of grandeur. Home renovation projects like a new patio, garage, or addition involves permits first and the process could be as quick as a few days or weeks, depending on the project and your city’s specifications. A new deck or patio, for instance, can take months if conservation or board of variance hearings are required.
You are about to spend more than you ever thought possible, it might as well be for a correctly-designed home. Good professional help is worth the money. That means design as well as construction (design-build). Be willing to pay for a good contractor, and be wary of the one who’s cheap and available right away. Just because someone is a good designer doesn’t mean they’ll be a good fit for you. Do you have the same aesthetic? Priorities? If he or she doesn’t ask you a lot of questions about your needs, desires, and the way you live, find someone else. Listening skills and curiosity are crucial.
Keep it simple. A complex design can result in complicated and expensive construction. Whether you want to build on to your home, change roof lines or reconfigure interior space, consult with a professional renovator on the impact of design on construction and budget. Less complex designs will often let you achieve the same goals. Don’t just focus on the upfront cost. Renovation is a further investment in your home. Consider the time, energy and cost required on ongoing maintenance and possible replacement down the road. A well-planned renovation can reduce these future costs. Don’t cut corners to save a few dollars, or you may not get the results you want. There may be ways to stretch a limited budget or you may be able to scale down your project or alternatively, do it in phases over time. But don’t compromise on quality-it’s always better to do less and do it well.
Work with the strengths of your home and save money at the same time. Check under existing carpeting and sheet flooring for old hardwood flooring. Refinish old trim and molding rather than replace it. Resurface cabinets rather than installing new ones. Turn a large landing into a child’s play area, a quiet reading area, or a small home office. Bumping out a couple of walls to create an open floor plan may not seem like a big deal. It’s just removing two walls, right? Budgets are always an important component of any project, no matter the size or scope of the project. Enlisting the help of a contractor as early as possible is the best approach. The process works best when the contractor can see the proposed project and get ballpark figures together for the homeowner before the contract is drawn up for the home.
Should this be a heritage property, do you wish to maintain the original structure? As this could aid in the idea of curb appeal. You may not be planning on renovating to sell anytime soon, but it’s important to think ahead regardless, just in case. Is this a place that you can see yourself living in for generations to come and will it accommodate changing needs? It’s a great idea to bring with you a list of needs, wants and what would be nice – both for the house as is and things you’d like to see done to it. Your consultation will help you work out a budget estimate for the sort of money it is going to cost to implement these ideas for your dream home. They can also help you in finding a builder that will offer a real fixed price. Now let’s talk about the actual design of your fixer upper. With some knowledge of current trends, unattractive properties can be transformed into desirable homes. You alone may see the design potential where others see only a crumbling old home. Now it’s time to make your mark on it and transform dreary old rooms into desirable and inviting spaces.
The latest home renovation trends embrace energy efficiency, low maintenance exteriors, and double-duty space. Today’s home renovation trends show that we like our houses to work harder and smarter for the money we invest in them. We no longer want bigger; instead, we want space that’s flexible, efficient, and brings order to chaos. We’re watching our wattage with monitors and meters, and guarding our weekends with maintenance-free exteriors. Renovating trends that improve the way we live could be maintenance-free siding, convertible spaces and storage space.
Your renovation is your investment as well as your work of art, so you’ll want to do it right. During the design phase, it’s a good idea to speak to a professional as they know what will work and what won’t. For instance, does the style you desire work with the architectural style of your new home? An interior designer will have a lot of tips and tricks up their sleeve that can really transform your living space. Once the designers have an idea of how the space should function, they mesh those requirements with the client’s desired aesthetic and atmosphere, to create a concept for the space. They also understand how color, lighting, room size, scale, and placement all affect how items look in a room. They can determine what will make or break a room design. Here are what some design trends to look for when purchasing your first home:
This trend has been emerging for years now, and I’m constantly seeing home buyers look for open concept floor plans during the home buying process…or else they are checking to see which walls are load bearing and what they can knock down the week after they close on a home. Open concept floor plans have so many advantages. Not only do they make your space look larger, but they also make the cooking, dining, and gathering spots more informal, flexible and cozy.
Master Bedroom Suites
The master bedroom suite has really become a true sanctuary, especially among luxury home buyers. The suite includes a larger and luxurious bathroom (often spa-like), his and her large customized closets/changing areas, a larger main room, and often an extra room which is sometimes used as an office or exercise room, or temporary nursery area.
Farmhouse and Rustic Decor
What’s old is new again, and nowadays, rustic and farmhouse style décor has been reinvented to the max. This style isn’t for everyone, but for those that love it, it’s more than just a décor style… it can become a way of life. Modern farmhouse style incorporates light, neutral and soothing colors from whites, grays, light blues and greiges, as well as shiplap walls.
Most busy households with kids are renovating the main entrance area for the kids into mudrooms with stylish tiles and comfortable sitting areas so that the kids can take off their dirty shoes (and boots) before entering the main area of the home. This makes cleaning and organizing much easier. Many are turning this area into a command center where each kid has their own cubby space and items for the next day can be stored in this area. And, for some, it also becomes an extra storage area for bikes and other outdoor equipment.
Whether it’s polished wooden floorboards, your ceiling of stripped timber, (which can also be known as a ‘fifth wall’), a reclaimed wooden coffee table, this can all achieve a look of warmth. Wood has a very rustic and organic, cozy feel to it.
Everyone is always so concerned about the floor plan (which is important) but nobody is ever as concerned about the ceiling plan! There are changes that you will make in your home that will affect how the ceiling looks, for example, heading into our bedroom the ceiling drops and it looks like a reno went down, so it looks a bit funny. Going forward I would keep the ceiling plan in mind and envision how a reno would affect the site lines of your ceiling. This is a really fun trend and in some cases, it’s an easy way to add some flair to a home without a major remodeling project. In rooms that have higher ceilings (or large double floor entryways), we are seeing more and more interesting and varied ceiling treatments. Sometimes this is as simple as adding exposed beams and woodwork, coffered, vaulted or tray ceilings, or elegant crown molding.
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to avoid mixing overall styles such as transitional, contemporary or traditional. If you want to have a creative mix, it’s better done with moveable soft furnishings. The foundational elements, things that are stuck down, should all look like they belong together. For example, a contemporary linear fire place wouldn’t work well in a traditional or transitional home. In today’s housing market, buying a solid fixer upper with great structure could be the best way for you to invest in a custom home that is all yours. There are lots of fun an interesting design trends that can really allow you to get creative. A professional designer will help you stay on track on what’s happening in the industry and help keep you on track with the design.
Be sure to check out the surrounding homes in the neighborhood. What kind of houses do you see? Are they contemporary or modern design? Mediterranean? Victorian? Having a comprehensive understanding of your neighborhood comps will help you gain insight into what homebuyers are looking for in that area. This will also help you manage your budget, plan for landscaping, and choose appropriate (and affordable) materials that will help add to the value of your investment.
Avoid cookie cutter renovation options. Homebuyers want special houses. They want architectural details and furniture pieces that look and feel one-of-a-kind, even if they aren’t. If you can avoid buying mass-produced pieces that can be found in hundreds of homes, then do so. Nobody wants bland, common, and inexpensive elements in their homes! Instead try to find more unique pieces that will appeal to a broad range of homebuyers’ design preferences.
Does the renovation make sense for your home’s value? Never make renovations that are disproportionate to the value of your home. How does your home compare with others in your neighborhood? If an addition will make your home much larger than others in the neighborhood, it may add less value. Is your home structurally up to the renovation you want? Not all houses can support a second story, for example. Or, if you want to move walls, you may find the project also will require new support beams or concrete footers. Be wary of doing major renovations in a house with foundation or drainage problems.
Will renovating one section of your home bring to light other sections that need work? A bathroom renovation, for example, could reveal old plumbing that needs to be replaced. Once a building inspector comes into your home, he may demand you bring other items up to current codes. How long do you plan to live in the house? If you’re in a two-bedroom house and plan to have three children, consider whether even the expanded house will be a good fit in the long run. If you’ve going to do a big renovation, you want to be there for seven to 10 years.