Congratulations! You are under contract and excited for settlement on your new home. You’re excited to move in, but you’ll need some work done soon. Remodeling your house may be a creative concept that you have been interested in, or perhaps you realized was necessary during your search with your realtor. Either way, you have some questions about where to begin. Should you start talking to a designer or a remodeling professional first? Should you start this process before you move in? Or should you wait until you’re moved in and determined what you really want?
Until you find your all star team, the remodeling process can feel stressful, especially when negotiating settlement and moving your family, but it’s also an exciting time - full of potential.
Here are 3 things you’ll want to keep in mind when thinking about remodeling a home you recently purchased:
For everything there is a season! As you may already know, early spring is the busiest time of year for buying and selling in Philadelphia, followed by fall. Seasonality does affect real estate factors such as inventory and purchase price, and as you might have suspected, there is a high seasonal correlation with backlogs for architects and contractors. As with the stock market, timing a real estate market is problematic at best, but if you don't want to wait a year for your renovation, then it's prudent to start a conversation early.
Once your offer is accepted, it can be helpful to quickly understand the costs of various home renovation options before moving forward in any one direction. During your due diligence period, get someone to provide you with reliable pricing. At Bellweather Design-Build, we begin with a phone conversation, followed by a home visit with you to give you an estimate for the potential renovations. This can all happen either before or after purchasing the house.
Perhaps you are still considering your options: Should you wait to buy a house? If you are purchasing, should you wait to remodel? Unfortunately, waiting to buy is likely to be a poor strategy for saving money. Prices for services, products and real estate rarely ever decrease. If it feels like the right timing in your life to make a change, then do it. Along with rising housing costs, construction is experiencing rising material prices, growing lead times for materials, and schedules are filling up. For most home buyers, it is helpful to start the conversation around remodeling as soon as you have a home identified.
Remodeling a home you just purchased can be an exciting yet daunting endeavor. If you already know which remodeling projects you want to do, it’s helpful to bring in at least one expert early on. In terms of overall timing, the design phase typically takes 3-4 months and an additional 1-2 months may be necessary if you require zoning (as when you are adding square footage to your home). Therefore, starting the remodeling conversation early (even while under contract), will allow you to save time in the long run.
Many homeowners that we work with prefer to remodel the most important spaces in their homes immediately after purchasing and prior to move-in. If you plan to renovate your kitchen and bathrooms, it will be very difficult and uncomfortable to try to live in a house while it’s being rebuilt. Another option is to move in, consider your needs and then move out later for the renovations. This can help by providing adequate time to plan, especially if you don’t want to be rushed to consider how to make the house feel like “yours”. Taking some time with your own personal style and design for some new homeowners is the best option, even if you have to live with undesirable finishes.
When you were looking at homes, you may have thought it would be easier (and maybe even cheaper) to buy a move-in ready home. While renovating an outdated home isn’t always cheaper than buying a turnkey property, there are still advantages to buying and renovating a home that needs remodeling. For example, putting your own personal touches on the house, selecting finishes and details, making it feel like "yours" and more!
If you’ve purchased a home that needs substantial renovations, it may make sense to start (and finish) the work before moving in. One (important) thing to understand are the costs. Costs are always rising, so if you’re ready to make decisions, remodeling a space before moving in can lower the costs as well as the stress of moving out.
Over the years, we have had several clients who had the confidence to purchase a new home that needed substantial work because of their prior relationship with us. We renovated a Graduate Hospital rowhome for this family a few years ago who understood and appreciated the design-build process. As their family grew, they realized they needed more space so they started looking at homes on the Mainline. This family knew they could look for a more affordable home that needed work because they wanted to use Bellweather Design-Build based on how successful their last project was with us. Their Ardmore kitchen, primary bathroom suite and children's bathroom remodel turned out great!
We always recommend to our clients that you don't just buy a house not knowing who is going to fix it. You want the confidence that a partner can take an average house and make it into an incredible house for you and your family.
At Bellweather Design-Build, we value educating our clients on the best renovation or remodeling project to do and the value that it will have. Working with a design-build firm allows you to consider and explore the size and scope of the renovation, possible concepts, and how it will allow for a better lifestyle for you and your family.
No matter when you choose to renovate your new home, you should be working with a company that has a proven process in place. The clear benefit of using a design-build firm is that their process is built around planning and developing a project that is within your scope and budget. In order to ensure that this approach is a success, you need to be comfortable with 2 things. First, that the pricing is accurate and second, that is getting the full cost picture.
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