Are you tired of looking at your chipped counters? Are the kitchen cabinets older than you are? When was the last time those shower doors have come completely clean? Did your kids just learn that toilet handles don’t always need to be jiggled when they had a sleepover at their friend’s house last week? Does this sound familiar – You can’t make toast, run the microwave, and run the ceiling fan all at the same time. Do you have to seat people in the kitchen, dining room AND living room when they come over for family dinners? Do they have to enter the house through the back door, because chancing the front porch just isn’t worth it anymore?

Time for Home Renovations?

Do these problems sound familiar? Have you had enough? Is it time for a few home renovations at your house?

HOLD ON!

Before you grab that sledge-hammer to knock down walls in the dining room, the chisel to knock off loose tiles in the bathroom, or the pry bar to push the porch off the house, take some time to make a plan. And then take some more time to discuss it with a few more people. Namely, your spouse, your financial advisor, a contractor, a designer, an electrician, a plumber, a drywaller, a real estate agent, your house insurance company, and the municipality in which you live (think permits, bylaws, etc).

Home Renovations = STRESS

Now, are you still ready to undertake a home renovation project? Good for you! Did you go and see your therapist for some quick tips on how to handle the stress that comes along with home renos too? You should, as a change in living conditions (ie, trying to live in the middle of a renovation project) comes in at #28 on the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. That is out of 43. And you have to keep in mind that no matter how easy-going a person you are, a home renovation project is bound to put some stress on your finances, on your amount of free time, on your eating habits, possibly on your sleeping habits, and more than likely on the number of arguments with your spouse. Those rank at #16, #36, #40, #38, #19, which add up to a moderate risk of becoming ill in the near future.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t tackle a home renovation project though. It can add value to your home from a resale perspective. It brings you pride in ownership afterwards from a job well done. It improves your living conditions once the dust has settled and been erased from memory.

A written design provides a blueprint for smooth renovations

If the pluses outweigh the temporary drawbacks of taking on a home renovation project, then make a plan and get started. Make sure you get at least three written estimates from contractors for the work to be done, check references for those contractors, write up a contract before the work starts, have a lawyer look over the contract before signing anything for major work to be done, obtain any necessary permits, look into whether you are eligible for any potential tax credits, check warranties and guarantees for the work to be done, and think about anything else that you may come up against.

And my best advice to you if you can afford it; move out while renovations are going on to improve the chances that you will survive the mess that goes with a project of any magnitude. Your sleep, comfort, and sanity make it a worthwhile consideration. Good luck!

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