The real estate market is not what it used to be – it doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out. But if you have a home you enjoy that’s in need of some tender loving care for a bathroom, kitchen or basement space how should you improve it with today’s real estate values in mind? In 5 simple words – think smaller, smarter and nicer.
The late ’90’s and early to mid 2000’s (when real estate was good and money was flowing) were all about big – big homes, big bathrooms, big kitchens and big vehicles. Today the average new home is being built with less square footage and more efficient floor plans. Car manufacturers are hitting the showrooms with an unprecedented number of compact, subcompact and the smallest minivans seen to date. What’s this got to do with your home remodeling project? Everything. If you want to improve rooms in your house (and maximize the long term market valuation of your home) you can’t spend like a drunken sailor or like a pauper. Follow these 7 kitchen bathroom remodeling ideas to create cool rooms on a market-driven budget.
Idea 1 – Remodel in, not out – Don’t blow out the back or side of your home with a big fancy addition (unless you want to live there a very long time). Look for ways to reconfigure your existing space to make it work better. Consider a new kitchen layout. Remove a seldom used tub and convert it to a stand up glass shower. Eliminate a formal dining room you use once a year with a larger kitchen or family room.
Idea 2 – Combine small with snazzy – One of the nice things about not creating large spaces is you’ll be able to splurge on features that you (and your friends, family and neighbors) can really enjoy. Don’t remodel if you’re not excited about what the finished product will look like. Look for elements that will make the room pop – maybe it’s granite countertops, a walk in shower, a glass tile backsplash etc. Build in key focal elements that show your style, tastes and make you excited to go into your new room.
Idea 3 – Remodel with the end in mind – Steven Covey (a motivational speaker/author) made famous the line “begin with the end in mind” to help people set goals and improve their lives. The question is why shouldn’t you use the same thought process when it comes to your home? More extensive pre-planning and thinking can lead to a home that is both functional and enjoyable over a longer span of time. If you plan to get old in this house why not design it so it can be used by people of all abilities over a long period of time. Using universal design principles (or a contractor familiar with these concepts) consider adding features like wall backer behind shower walls if grab bars might be needed in the future, a zero step entry (to help someone with a temporary or permanent mobility challenge), and equip your renovation with a good number of light sources (to help anyone whose eyesight might be a problem down the road).
Idea 4 – Go Green Save Money – Energy efficiency is not just buzz in the market – it makes dollar and cents for the short and long run. Energy efficient windows, doors, appliances, insulation are not only smart decisions for the planet they’re smart investments for your pocketbook (and can add resale value to a home).
Idea 5 – Open up rooms– Eliminate living rooms, dining rooms or seldom used spaces. Trends today are about open spaces which give you the ability to entertain and use your home to its fullest. If you’ve got a small bathroom next to a seldom used guest room consider knocking out the wall to make a luxurious master bath. If you’ve got a living room no ones dares to go into (it’s too fancy for everyday use) – repurpose this space into a den or TV room that will be used.
Idea 6 – Try to pay with cash– Banks have made it a nightmare for the average person to get money to do projects. Save up your money and try to pay for the majority of the project with cash. This will allow you to enjoy the space and not have to worry about payments down the road.
Idea 7 – Don’t hire Billie Ray Bob’s Cut Rate Contracting Company– Cheap does not usually equal quality. If you’re tempted to hire the cheapest bid proceed with caution. Organizations like Angies List and the Better Business Bureau get the highest number of inquiries on home improvement/remodeling contractors. Want to know why? It’s because there are a millions of uninsured handyman contractors with uneven levels of experience just dying to do work cheap for you. If you don’t understand or know much about building methods will you know if corners have been cut and the job has been done right? Be careful. Check out your potential contractors. How do they screen their employees and/or subcontractors? Who will be managing the project? Will they be securing any necessary permits?
Now that you’re equipped with these 7 smaller kitchen and bathroom remodeling ideas you’re ready to get started on your renovation journey.
Mike Foti is President of Cleveland Design & Remodeling, Columbus Design & Remodeling, The Bath Doctor of Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati and Columbus Glass Block – kitchen, bathroom and basement remodeling contractors. Mike’s companies also provide accessible and universal design construction solutions for projects as well. Call 216-531-6085 in Cleveland or 614-252-7294 in Columbus