Is Your Home In Need of Restoration?
A Simple Checklist to Get Started With Your Home Remodeling or Renovation Project:
- What is your budget? If you are not sure whether you want to invest money in renovating your home, you can consider these options:
- Hire an architect to consult with you; for an hourly fee, s/he will come to your home and offer top of mind/ brainstorming options for your consideration. If you want more information, the architect can also provide a feasability study (a few different schematic designs) for a small fee.
- Bring in a real estate agent and get comps in your area so you know how much your home is worth in its current condition.
- Visit or Call your banker to determine what funds you have available to cover your anticipated home remodel or renovation project.
2. Hire a professional to measure the existing conditions; as the client, you will need to hire a Land Surveyor to get an updated site survey of the existing conditions. Building foundations and houses settle and are not always built according to the construction documents, so it is always best to begin with a fresh Site Survey. This will show the location of site utilities, the location of the house on the property, the property lines, and any other pertinent features on your lot.
3. While the Site Survey is being prepared (depending on the workload of the Land Surveyor) you might be looking at a few weeks backlog of work– so allow 2-4 weeks from time of initial request to finished AutoCAD drawing); your architect can field measure your existing house- interior walls and overall exterior dimensions- and start working on your schematic designs.
4. The Architect will take digital pictures- and you can, too, and upload them to your computer. Print them out and study them. Look for what’s wrong with the space– is it too tight? Is the furniture blocking normal pathways? Do you like the color scheme? Write down everything you like and then everything you dislike about what you see. (Your architect will be paying close attention to the structural considerations– such as can an upstairs addition be added and, if so, what new columns and beams will be required? S/he will make recommendations to you based on maximizing your existing house to get the most space and best aesthetic solution for your home.)
5. Review the existing plans and schematic designs with your architect. The process: Once your architect has taken the field measurements and had them drawn up by an autoCAD draftsperson into a scaled drawing (usually drawn at 1/8″ or 1/4″=1′-0″ scale), the architect will begin to move walls and maximize spatial opportunities by sketching various layouts and arrangements to scale. (Please note: It is critical to view your floor plan to scale; otherwise, you could end up thinking you have much more space than you actually have– and this will affect everything from what size furniture to buy, to the cost estimate of building materials required to renovate your place.) This is the time to make key decisions as to the scope of work you want done. The details will begin to unfold and your architect will walk you through every step of the way.
The above are a few tips to get you thinking in the right direction. Professional residential design firms often have Client Questionnaires that can assist and guide potential clients in the renovation/rebuild process. The questions can get very detailed, as they ought to.
The most critical points to nail down up front are:
- Know Your Budget– contact a real estate agent and get comps in your neighborhood; what is the current value of your home? Then, contact your banker and inquire about a home equity loan and make sure you have the necessary funds to embark on your renovation plans.
- Know Your Emotions– this is very subtle, but key in making the right decisions. I suggest you write down a list of the pros and cons of renovating versus doing nothing versus relocating to a newer home. What feels best to you?
I’ve heard experts say that it is better to do something rather than nothing– so, in the interim while you’re mulling over the bigger decision of a home addition versus moving to a new place- go ahead and make your home liveable and as enjoyable as possible! Buy that new Microwave, make some of those repairs you’ve been putting off, do a spring clean and have a garage sale!
Moving forward in a positive direction should bring you clarity on what you really want to do.
A FEW HELPFUL RESOURCES:
- The AIA (American Institute of Architects) has plenty of information. In this article, it lists the latest 2012 trends in residential design: http://aia.org/press/releases/AIAB093540?dvid=&recspec=AIAB093540
- The NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) also has a good starter list and a few other tips to consider before you embark: http://www.nahb.org/generic.aspx?sectionID=715&genericContentID=45970
So, what about you? Have you begun a home remodeling project? How did it go? Who or what resources did you find particularly helpful in your decision-making processes?
Please feel free to share in the comments section below…
Thank you for this checklist which stands the test rather well of being helpful and most useful. So true about emotions! Important to be rational and of course thats where the professional can be a decided asset.
On a related note, most condominium corporations require unit owners to submit plans for renovations to be submited for review and approval. In such instances, clear and accurate drawings can be critical to the decision making process and ideally transform the unit owners vision into reality.
Thank you again for continuing to be so helpful to many of us.
That’s a good point about condominium and other homeowner association-required drawings. I think they receive a lot of rough sketches from both homeowners and contractors in an effort to speed up the approval process. I would hope that more homeowners would consult with an architect before they decide what they’re going to build/remodel/renovate.
As you mentioned, accurate drawings are crucial to a good project outcome.
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I have a similar checklist that if interested you can get from my website as a free PDF http://scarlettarchitects.com/bybworkbook/
I originally put it together for my own clients, but it’s got a lot of generic info too. It was too long to post on my blog so I also made it available on Amazon for .99 cents for anyone who might prefer to have it on their kindle. http://scarlettarchitects.com/before-you-build/
Feel free to steal any of the content and add to your own list, if you find it useful : )
Thanks for reading my posts and for sharing your info!
I have downloaded your ebook on design on my iPad and am really enjoying it! It’s like a refresher of all the good design points we learned in architecture school.
I look forward to checking out your renovation checklist as well.
Nice and helpful article..thanks!