By Candis Meredith
When Andy and I start any renovation project, we always sit down first and talk about our budget. You might be surprised at some of the ways you can save on remodeling an old house, like buffing and refinishing the floors (when you can) instead of tearing them out. But sometimes you just can’t get away from spending a little extra if you want to do the project right.
For most of our properties, because they have electricity and modern conveniences, we’re not doing museum-grade restorations, but we do like to keep our houses as close to their original glory as possible. As a result, there are places we can compromise, and then there are places where we just have to find the funding to splurge. In my experience, these three renovations are always worth the cost.
If you’re rehabbing a newer house that you’re going to flip or hold as a rental property, you might want to skip this one, especially since you can find a lot of really attractive and inexpensive laminate flooring options. But if you’re renovating a beautiful old home, you really can’t beat hardwood floors. Yes, they’re a bit more expensive than other options, but your buyers are going to notice them immediately.
On renovations like the ones we do, if we didn’t restore the original flooring or replace it with something just as nice that goes with the era when the house was built, I really couldn’t live with myself. Not to mention, buyers interested in these houses would never go for it. I’d have to bring down the asking price far enough for them to do the work themselves and then some!
Kitchens and Bathrooms
You don’t have to go broke on your kitchen and bathroom renovations, but if you’re renovating an older home, be prepared to spend most of your budget here. For one thing, older homes didn’t originally have a lot of the amenities that modern houses have today. And while your buyers want a beautifully restored house, they also want things like gas range stoves, modern dishwashers, waterfall showerheads, and other creature comforts.
Another reason I always budget more for the kitchen and bathroom is that I never know when someone else has tried to make updates on the cheap. I’ve run into so many nightmares with plumbing and DIY wiring that I just always assume we’re going to spend the money to fix whatever someone else has done to update the house and make sure it’s done right.
That might sound discouraging, but if you plan for it, it’s just part of the renovation and it doesn’t put a damper on your designs or the work you have to do to create beautiful results.
Most of the houses we renovate have bad roofs, and it’s really no wonder. Your average asphalt shingle roof lasts about 20-25 years, and we renovate houses that are 50 to 100 years old or even older. I always go with high-quality roofing material so that it’ll last and it’ll look beautiful for years to come.
When you work on the beautiful old homes that we restore, you can’t help but fall in love with them at least a little bit. That doesn’t mean you have to spend tons of money on every single renovation. If you plan for the renovations you’re going to spend more on, you can keep a better perspective on the whole project, and you’ll be less likely to go over budget on the things that don’t matter as much.