Renovating Your Empty Nest

Renovating an empty nest

The kids have finally grown up and moved on with their lives and your nest is now empty… As you take a glance at your wall which is full of family memories and obvious signs of wear and tear, as your eyes scroll from one beat up a corner to another you quickly realize that this place could use a serious overhaul in order to bring the looks of your home into style.

The unavoidable and annoying conversation of “renovating” starts surfacing with your spouse at an increasing regularity. Welcome! If this makes you feel any better you are not alone. A growing number of empty nesters are deciding to remain in their existing homes much longer nowadays – a trend of a new lifestyle seems to be emerging which greatly influences the type of renovation projects that people are tackling.

Contractors and Architects are commenting that in the past a typical renovation project used to go perhaps a far as the kitchen and the bathroom. Based on my previous real estate experience, these two types of projects have provided the biggest bang for the homeowners’ buck.

Especially, in the Calgary real estate market more homeowners are opting to add more personal touches to their homes. They commonly top up their renovation list with items that they have always wanted but perhaps were unable to afford or upgrades that didn’t make sense spending money on when having the ramming kids around and appreciating little of their parent’s investments – like a scratch free, gleaming hardwood floor with an elegant cherry wood kitchen cabinet.

A cherry kitchen cabinet may not be exactly of what you are looking for, but if you are seriously considering upgrading your home, please consider the following tips to help you along your way:

• Have a plan – You must be able to plan every aspect of the project to discover exactly what you want and to purposely stay away from expensive and time-consuming “knee-jerk type” alterations throughout the process.

• Budget – Plan a budget that truly reflects your financial capabilities and it won’t keep you up at night if you need to spend an additional 10% of the overall planned budget when the unexpected arises. Trust me, it’s not an IF but a WHEN question! Be sure to often compare running costs to your pre-planned budget.

• Contractors – This could make or break your whole experience and potentially leave scars forever if you are not careful with this step. Take your time with selecting your team of professionals and ask for many references.

I would take it to the point where I would certainly want to have three companies competing for the work and have all three of them to submit references of current projects, past projects and also references of people who have complained and how they have handled the situation.

• Sweat equity – If you still have some of the “I can do it” attitude left in you then try to tackle on as much as you can comfortably take on. Those little odds and ends to take a lot of time and money and often you can do most of it yourself.

• Managing – Regardless if you contract out 100% of the work – you still need to keep your finger on the pulse of the project and make sure that the promises are delivered in good fashion. From time to time, you will be required to make quick on the spot decision and don’t be afraid to hold your contractors accountable to their words.

• Getting the money – Even with today’s vigorous bank approval process – your financing options may include getting a line of credit, either secured against the equity of your home or an unsecured PLC. Remortgaging your home or requesting a construction loan may also be an option available to you.

• Another option – if you just want to take the most convenient approach – I can always help you to locate the perfect home in the Calgary real estate market.

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