Most of the regular readers here already know of my back and forth indecision over should I move or stay put. I’ve been receiving emailed real estate updates each day, however nothing has come close to what I already have.
All good! Makes me realize how well I do have things and allows me to be super picky! It’s nice when you don’t HAVE to move, isn’t it?
However as I still work my way all around the what-ifs, I’ve been deciding if I should do some bigger renos on the house so I can get things to where I truly love, or just get it to a state that looks as good as it can be in its current state.
For the most part, I’m very happy with the inside. I’ve been sharing the interior of my home for years.
It’s the OUTSIDE that has me stumped.
So last summer I finally started to gather ‘big’ quotes on some outdoor improvements to feel it out.
Above is the current state of the outside of my house.
(after I repainted lower trim)
(and I repainted that one dark window back to the lighter tone again – I’m undecided!)
When I was obtaining quotes last summer, I drew up these ‘affordable’ concepts.
- White board and batten hardy board and shiplap combo.
- Wood or painted trim.
- Shingles / around the front door.
- Wood posts.
- A small peaked roof above front door.
My personal fav is #1 if I were to choose one. Which is yours?
The numbers of course came in large. Pretty large. As in, take out of my savings, burn through investments or take out a new loan. I didn’t like any of those 3 options.
Especially on a home I wasn’t completely committed to.
And everything I REALLY wanted pushed it well beyond market value!
(I apparently have good taste)
After a conversation with my brother on all this, he knocked some sense in to my head.
“Do the renovations for you if that’s what YOU want and since it’s part of your business.
But go in fully knowing you may not get your money out of it if you sell.”
Makes perfect sense doesn’t it?
I also then thought back to a time when I did renovate more freely. It was back when I worked with a handyman carpenter.
I hired him by the hour, and he simply worked on whatever I wanted. And didn’t flinch too much when my ideas became a little ‘over the top’. I respect someone that doesn’t mind going beyond a standard box method!
So… this past week as I glanced up at my chippy trim paint for the millionth time, I decide to bite the bullet and at the very least, paint what trim I could reach.
And what an astounding difference that small move made!
Inspired, I contacted a smaller house painter trade to get a quote to repaint the upper trim.
Which led me to realize, at this stage since I don’t know where I’m going, it would make the most sense to simply fix what’s broke, try and do what I can myself, then hire out easy fixes until I desire and can afford otherwise.
Since home renovations and selling have been such a hot topic in my world over the past couple years, I’d like to share what I’ve learned along the way, along with some of my own opinions on all this…
If you find yourself in a similar situation, I hope some of my triumphs can help guide you…
How much should one spend on home renovations?
Are you renovating for yourself?
However, to play it a little more safe than possibly sorry, I also did them in such a way where they can be brought back to original condition in an easy way should I decide to sell one day.
Honestly, it’s your home to do as you wish, period. As long as you’re ok with your unique touches possibly rating as a potential downgrade down the road.
- Keep costs within market value, IF investment is a concern.
- Do wild card updates with easy ways to change back.
- Go wild if you can afford it and want it. It IS your home after all!
- Reno at your own pace. It’s more affordable in bite-ized chunks too.
Are you renovating to sell?
At one point, my last home needed to go on the market, however there were some extensive renovations that needed to be done in hopes of capturing the highest price possible.
I hired a handyman to work along side me by the hour… we did what we had to. Then stopped when the basics were done.
Which is different than HGTV. Pro house flippers will completely gut then renovate so their flip houses capture the highest price possible.
However, I also believe most of those flip houses start as complete dumps at a cheap price so they pretty much have to gut. Most homes people live in decently are not that.
So, if you are renovating to sell, there’s going to be a fine line to reach or you may place your house over the current market value or renovate in a way that is seen as a minus to another. And that is not a good way to resell.
I’ve heard one tell me about how new owners ripped out all the brand new flooring they just put down before they sold. Wouldn’t that just gut you hearing that?
Fact is, it’s my belief most people look at homes with their vision… and are eager to get a good price from you so they can rip it apart and add their own flavour themselves.
For my own master bathroom, it was entirely outdated. So I had assistance with the tub, toilet and hooking up the vanity, however I did all the rest myself, including teaching myself how to tile a floor WITH a pattern, plank a popcorn ceiling, and add farmhouse trim to a window.
I did those things for me. However I feel the classic changes did indeed add a serious upgrade to that bathroom, which will absolutely help sell this home if I choose.
- Stay within market value.
- Fix broken stuff first. Or prepare to lower your price.
- Spurge more-so on kitchens and bathrooms.
- Update the desperately out-of-date with clean, classic changes.
- Keep permanent things neutral.
- Work on curb appeal – repaint chippy trim, clean up the yard, etc.
- Declutter and clean until it’s spotless, inside and out.
What if you aren’t sure if you want to stay or sell?
This is where I currently am, and struggle with this one all the time. My house is indeed mine, and I like unique touches. But goodness… to drain my savings or take out a loan only to up and sell it for someone else to enjoy instead?!
No… I want to be more sure if I go big coin.
So what I have been doing is fixing what’s broke. Finishing the unfinished. Then anything unique, I leave it in such a way where it’s easy to change. And will hire out if it’s something I can’t do myself but in small chunks at a time.
ie: My crate stairs are ready for carpet, just not by me.
The guest bedroom which is really two bedrooms turned into one is easy to change back with a little drywall added.
- Get things to sellable condition.
- Add unique touches or extras if you want them for YOU.
- Don’t count on an investment return on your chosen extras.
- Do renos in such a way they are easy to re-do.
Contractor or trades / handyman?
Trades are in high demand in my area. In fact, I’ve gone the past two years getting guys to come out and take a look in order to quote, only to never receive the quote, nor hear from them ever again. I later found out bigger jobs attracted their attention instead.
I have even tried to get them to quote on less. Same issue. Hot demand and best job will always win.
I finally did get a contractor to pay a visit and quote. The timelines were all over the map with no promises because the work is all contracted out of course.
I’ve since been reaching out to even smaller individual trades direct because my projects aren’t extensive if you break them apart. The first thing I’m asking for now is if they accept small jobs and asking what they ALL do. (some do light carpentry)
However I will admit, I’ve had the greatest amount of luck working with a reasonable handyman carpenter by the hour. I am currently on the lookout for another.
I think which one is right for you is dependent on your experience, how much you are willing to contract yourself, and how much money you wish to save.
For my current kitchen, I was very fortunate to have had volunteers help me dis-mantel my old kitchen, I designed my kitchen myself, then had the cabinet place install them.
- Get recommendations from friends and other trades you respect.
- Get various quotes.
- Get quotes from a contractor AND separate trades.
- Try a handyman by the hour for lots of small jobs. (I loved this most)
- Ask about timelines and how payment works.
- Ask if there’s anything you can do yourself to help cut down costs.
- If the job is too large or way out of your own expertise, go with a contractor.
Where I currently am
I am in the not-sure-if-I’m-staying or not camp.
However I still desire to make upgrades I love to my home.
So after getting large quotes last summer and not even loving the results if I went for them, I decided to back up a little, do what I could to achieve good curb appeal and finish the undone.
Next, I’ll hire out things I can’t accomplish myself, hoping to keep it affordable.
And if I decide to splurge on a big ticket unique item, I fully recognize I do so at my own financial risk. But at least I will be there to enjoy it before it becomes old again!
And if I can get a little out of it, I think that’s further ahead than simply renovating for someone else, don’t you?
I’d love your opinion.
You know where I’m at. And you know what the outside of my house looks like.
What would YOU do with the outside of my home?
Big or small! I’d love to hear.
Visit the rest of my home inside: