Make Magic Happen

A home remodel can turn your dreams into reality
After: Many architectural elements original to historic homes can be brought back to life with the help of the right owners. (Photo courtesy Montana Scheff)
Before (Photo courtesy Montana Scheff)

When you think of home remodeling, what comes to mind?

If you’re like many, you might envision a scenario not unlike the 1986 movie, The Money Pit. In this comedy of errors, a couple purchase a historic home that, on the surface, only needs a few minor fixes to make it perfect.

As it turns out, nothing could have been further from the truth. Project after project leads to home makeover mayhem. From exploding kitchen tile to bathtubs falling through floors, everything that can go wrong, does. In the end, the remodel is a success, but it almost costs them their relationship (along with every dollar they have).

As funny as the movie is, it paints an unfair image of home remodeling. Yes, there can be inconvenience and setbacks, but when done by a professional team of architects, designers and builders, projects should be painless endeavors.

Are you contemplating a remodel? To prevent it from becoming your own personal money pit, keep these tips in mind:

Set a budget—Whether your project is grand or modest, determine a realistic budget. If you’re using a home equity line of credit (HELOC), be aware that HELOCs now face more tax restrictions than in the past, but as long as the funds are used for home improvements, you can often still deduct the loan interest (for up to $750,000 of debt, including your home mortgage) each year.

Be realistic—Just because you want an open floorplan doesn’t mean you can have it. Depending on your home’s age and build, not every dream can be turned into a reality. This is where having a qualified team of professionals pays off. Consult with them early to deem if your desires can be achieved.

Do your research—After you’ve set your project budget, do your homework on materials and finishes to make sure they’ll be achievable within your financial framework. For example, if you’ve had your heart set on granite countertops but they’re too pricey for the project, consider a budget-friendly alternative such as engineer quartz.

Be flexible—If unforeseen roadblocks occur, it’s not the end of the road. Don’t be afraid to change your plan to accommodate the unforeseen. Your contractor may be able to offer money-saving options such as changing the location of appliances to avoid rerouting plumbing or gas lines.

Above all, remember not to stress. Focus on the end result and envision how beautiful your home will look. As the projects you are about to see demonstrate, amazing things can happen once you make that decision to let the hammers fly.

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