Sur­viv­ing a home ren­o­va­tion

The Prince George Citizen - The Citizen - Real Estate Weekly - - Front Page -

Home­own­ers in­vest large sums into im­prov­ing their homes to make them more com­fort­able liv­ing spa­ces or to in­crease their odds of sell­ing quickly. The Re­mod­el­ing Fu­tures Pro­gram at the Joint Cen­ter for Hous­ing Stud­ies of Har­vard Univer­sity pre­dicted U.S. spend­ing on home ren­o­va­tions and re­pairs to peak at $327 bil­lion in 2017.

Whether one is do­ing a large ren­o­va­tion or a small re­model, life may be turned up­side down dur­ing the project. Fur­ni­ture may be moved out of the room, walls may be de­mol­ished, wa­ter or elec­tric­ity may be turned off, and ap­pli­ances may be miss­ing or not hooked up. Home im­prove­ments of­ten drum up dust and dis­ar­ray. Such projects can try the pa­tience of any home­owner, and things may get worse be­fore they get bet­ter.

Even though re­mod­el­ing can be tax­ing, the end re­sult is of­ten worth it. Here’s how to look for­ward to the sil­ver lin­ing and come out un­scathed.

Dis­cuss the project be­fore it starts.

All fam­ily mem­bers should be in agree­ment be­fore the first ham­mer is swung. De­cide on as many de­tails as you can ahead of time and have a firm plan in place. Es­tab­lish backup choices for tiles or color schemes in case the items you want are out of stock. Try­ing to make de­ci­sions un­der duress may re­sult in bad choices.

Do one project at a time.

It’s tempt­ing to want to im­prove as much as pos­si­ble at once to max­i­mize mo­ti­va­tion and ren­o­va­tion ma­te­ri­als. How­ever, hav­ing no place in which to es­cape the mess can el­e­vate stress lev­els. Do not think about ren­o­vat­ing kitchens and bath­rooms all at once, or you will not have any work­ing fixtures for tasks like wash­ing up.

Be­fore de­mo­li­tion even be­gins, have build­ing ma­te­ri­als bought and stored, con­trac­tors and sub­con­trac­tors lined up, and see what you can do to min­i­mize the time work­ers need to spend in your home.

… but expect de­lays.

In a world where things move at light­ning speeds, ren­o­va­tions have not got­ten the memo. Home projects take lots of time and will likely take longer if you are do­ing the work your­self in your free time. Build lots of ex­tra time into the project so you are not dis­ap­pointed when de­lays hap­pen — even when you’ve done your best to avoid them.

Plan an es­cape zone

Con­struc­tion en­vi­ron­ments can be messy, loud, smelly, and a host of other un­sa­vory ad­jec­tives. The chaos that en­sues when life is turned up­side down can be over­whelm­ing, par­tic­u­larly for the per­son who spends the most time in the home while work is be­ing done. Build es­cape mo­ments into the plan and make sure ev­ery­one else at home is on board. Dur­ing the real grind of the project, a night or two at a ho­tel may be a wel­come respite.

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