Unless you are facing an emergency repair – storm damaged roof, broken window or door, your furnace, a/c, or water heater dropped dead – before you take on a home improvement project, you need to honestly assess your home. That’s not an easy thing to do. We are all attached to our homes and have probably grown accustomed to the little quirks and oddities of our property. So, where do you start?
The next time you are coming home, take time to study your neighborhood, and particularly your own home, as someone considering buying it. Even if you have no plans to sell your home, look at it as a potential home buyer. How does it look from the street? Is the landscaping neat and well maintained, or does it look neglected? What about the roof, siding, lighting, windows, and doors? Would you buy this place?
Continue your evaluation as you enter your home. Take a full walkthrough tour. Check out the paint, flooring, cabinetry, counters, plumbing, electrical – all those things a buyer would look at. Be honest! This could be a somewhat painful experience, and I am not suggesting it to make you feel bad. Think of it as you would a doctor’s examination – before the doctor can make an accurate diagnosis, he has to check you out. Would you want to get a prescription based on your brief telephone description of what you think is wrong? Not me, thanks!
After you have finished your assessment ( I hope you were taking notes along the way), sit down and make a list. Actually, make a couple of lists. First, list the big things (roofing, furnace, etc.) that will definitely require a professional contractor, in order of priority. What needs to be done now, what can wait? Second, make a list of smaller projects (painting, updating cabinet hardware, etc.) that you can tackle on your own, or with the help of friends. Again, put them in order of priority (which may mean what you can handle with a quick trip to the hardware store and what is going to have to wait for a long weekend?). Now, put your list aside until we talk again. You have worked hard – take a break! Next time we will talk about planning your budget for these projects and what value they will add to your home.
As always, I look forward to your questions and comments on this subject.
Rae the Renovator