Buying to Renovate

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Buying to Renovate? Keep these tips in mind!

Because many areas are experiencing severe inventory shortages some buyers decide to buy something that isn’t quite perfect now, but they plan to make it perfect through renovation. If you are in that category, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • REALITY CHECK –If you remain living in your home while you are renovating, you will be faced with some level of chaos. There will dust and displaced household items and unfinished walls, drywall and flooring, and some people can’t handle that kind of environment. If that sounds like you, you may want to complete the renovation before moving in.
  • VISION –  Start with a list of things you would like to change and then make the list visual. I recommend putting together a vision board or PowerPoint of photos you like from sites like Houzz or Pinterest.  There is no better way to convey exactly what you want than by showing a photo of the type of changes you want.
  • PROPERTY/SITE ANALYSIS –Do a thorough analysis of the home site. Is there anything on the site that could be a restriction from doing the type of renovation desired? Check the title report, but also contact the local city or county planning and licensing department to find out what permits are required.
  • MEASUREMENTS –Everything from cabinetry, countertops, and even drywall needs accurate measurements in order to accurately budget for these items. There are many local companies and even home improvement stores that offer measurement services. Don’t rely on your own measurements.
  • TALK TO THE PROS –The pros will provide time- and money-saving tips to enhance your project. And never talk to ONLY one trade.  You have to talk to at least two plumbers or electricians to make sure you are getting the best rate and the best fit for your personality type.
  • SET YOUR BUDGET –It is critical to discuss both time and money. If a kitchen cabinet company is promising they will have cabinets built in six weeks, ask them what the price will be if they miss that deadline.  This will keep everyone on track and will let the vendors know that time is important.  Always pad the budget with at least 15% on each item. This allows the extra room needed to do it right and to allow for unexpected challenges.
  • SET THE TIMELINE AND BE PREPARED – Before the renovation, create a progress book which is a time diary of the renovation. Take daily photos of the work that has been done. The Progress Book can come in handy in the event there is ever a dispute about the quality of work.  Imagine a plumber doing some work that ends up being problematic.  The photos can be a wonderful way to show the steps the plumber did to complete the job.  It is also an excellent way to keep everyone honest and to keep the quality high. Consider taking video of any important renovation moments like a beam being put up or a kitchen being demolished.  These are also wonderful memories for later.

Making the decision to renovate takes more thought than just envisioning the finished project, Research and investigation are the most important parts of any renovation.  By being prepared and by doing the homework you or your buyer will be richly rewarded when the renovation is complete. Thinking about buying to renovate? Contact me: (253) 222-2626 or email

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