Who hasn't enjoyed watching HGTV’s Love It or List It? In each show, the hosts Hilary Farr and real estate agent David Visentin work tirelessly to give homeowners the home of their dreams. At the end of the show owners either “love it” and remain in their current home, or buy a new home.
Across the United States, there has been a home remodeling boom which has been fueled in part by a shortage of move-in ready resale homes.
According to NAHB Remodelers, the remodeling arm of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in 2015 there was a 10% increase in whole house remodeling projects. The most popular remodeling projects are bathrooms. Rounding out the list of top remodeling projects are kitchen remodels and window and door replacements, respectively.
Many homeowners choose to remodel because they can take advantage of the value in their home. There is a concern that getting all the features you desire in a new home will cost more than piggybacking on your existing home’s value.
Though some homeowners, once they look backwards at the complexity of either living in a home during a remodel or temporarily relocating, wish they had purchased a new construction home.
Remodeling or buying new construction: Both of these options help get the square footage and features you want in your home. But what should you consider about each option? Which is best for you?
Why would you choose to remodel?
Homeowner Lisa Renée Caplinger said, “We renovated and would never have bought new! Old houses and neighborhoods have character and their own, unique stories to tell.”
On “Love it List It” buyers often prefer homes in established communities for character and central location. This was no different for Sara Corbett whose husband is in the building industry. Sara said that their family, “chose to renovate a home because of the home’s charm and location”. Now, Sara and her husband are about to build a new house so they can get “all the features they want, the way we want it.”
Getting what you want, the way you want it his home caused Karl Phillips to undertake a home renovation. Karl said, “I renovated a few years ago as I was able to make the changes I wanted and add a bit of character to something that's existed longer that I've been alive. New construction is nice, but there's a bit of charm and history that you can't ignore with an older structure.”
If you have a house you love, remodeling it to get precisely the bathrooms and kitchen you want may be simpler than moving — at least on the surface of it. When you factor in weeks or months of strangers trooping through your home, Sheetrock dust flying everywhere, unforeseen challenges and expenses that arise (and they always do) and/or living in your home during construction, buying a new construction home may come out to be the best choice.
If you do remodel, do these things
If you do choose to remodel, there are a few things you can do to help your project run smoothly. Mike Eippert of Commonwealth Contracting, said that it’s important to select a contractor who will listen to you. He stressed that you don’t want to choose an overbearing, dictatorial contractor. Rather, you want someone who is going to “implement your vision.”
Eippert says you should choose a contractor whom you like, and can get along with well. Select someone who over-communicates, creates a project plan and really has super testimonials from clients for whom they did similar work. Make sure you get a contract that covers all aspects such as the payment schedule, materials and specifications for all elements of the project, and clearly outlines the scope of work, payment schedule, and construction time-line.
Little things mean a lot when it comes to a remodeling project.
Make your expectations clear about cleanliness. Where will the Dumpster be parked and how often will it be emptied? Who is going to pull permits and call for inspections? Agree on expected hours of work and how the workers will access your property. Don’t assume that because you mentioned it in passing, that your remodeling contractor will remember what you have discussed.
Foremost in the home remodeling process is the need for patience. Eippert says home owners must mentally prepare themselves to be patient. Eippert said that you must “be prepared to be disrupted.” He also advises owners “at every phase of the project, walk around the space and experience it. Tape off major furniture and appliance placements to be sure you comprehend what it will feel like.”
Not every project proceeds smoothly. Discuss, before any situation occurs, what will happen if something changes in your requirements or in the contractor’s ability to do the job. Make sure the contractor is licensed, insured, and reliable. The NAHB offers more tips on finding the right remodeling contractor.
When it comes to fixtures, fittings, and finishes, who will select them? If you’re working with a design / build contractor, the professional will recommend appliances, flooring, and systems to fit your plans and budget. If you’re serving as your own design consultant, do you understand what is required? If, for example, your specs for the remodel call for laminate plank flooring and you purchase unfinished hardwood flooring, you’re going to have a major headache. Not only are the subflooring materials different, the site preparation and even the baseboard mouldings will be different.
Choosing a new construction home can simplify your life.
Homebuilders in the greater Charleston area are building homes that fit many needs. Contrary to popular thought, new homes are not necessarily more expensive than remodeling an existing home. A new home is built to be safe, comfortable and efficient to live in.
The cost of your lot, the lot preparation, architectural plans, selection and cost of materials are all provided at a savings from builders in master planned and new home communities. Where a builder is constructing many new homes, they are able to streamline the construction process, lock in prices, therefore, saving you money. Not only that, you get the advantage of “brand new” and a home warranty too.
New home builders work to build homes you want to buy. Many include popular finishes and features. Builders like David Weekley build homes with features such as granite countertops, tile and hardwood floors according to plan, home automation and energy efficiency engineered into every aspect of the structure. Most builders also include landscaping in your new home’s price.
A brand new home is built to current construction codes. Today’s codes include structural imperatives to make them stronger during high winds and more energy efficient. Both of which are “must haves” when you live in the coastal area where we occasionally experience hurricanes and have multiple days in the summer when temperatures exceed 90 degrees.
In master planned communities you will also gain many amenities such as walking and biking trails, sports fields, playgrounds, community swimming pools and gathering areas, all nearby your home.
Perhaps the chief advantage of choosing a new construction home, is not having to live in a construction zone as you do when remodeling or having to relocate during the project. Who doesn’t want less stress in their lives.
So, finally, whether you choose to remodel your existing home or purchase a new construction home, you owe it to yourself to consider the effects of each on your life, weigh the costs and benefits of each process and outcome and choose the one that gives you what you want.
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