Planning a Whole Home Remodel in a Fixer Upper

Most home buyers don’t purchase with the intention of starting a whole home remodel. However, there are plenty of people out there who do love the idea of buying an older home that can be improved on a budget. If you fall into the later group, then the allure of an older home can be irresistible. Sometimes it’s the character of the home, its age, or simply the cost savings.

Whatever your reason is for wanting to invest in a fixer upper, you need to know exactly what you’re getting into. Get the planning wrong, and you could end up blowing your budget and regretting your decision. Get it right, and you could enjoy a beautiful home at a bargain price, with a painless whole home remodel that adds long term value.

Here’s everything you need to know before you even start exploring the market.

Get the Financials Right

The cost of a fixer upper is more than just what you’ll pay for the home on the market. You’ll need to take whole home remodeling or renovation costs into account.

  • Add up all the costs for home renovation or remodeling. Don’t leave anything on the table here. Painting, flooring, minor repairs, basement finishing etc. should all be considered.
  • Estimate the home’s value after remodeling and renovation. Subtract up to 15% for miscellaneous costs and unforeseen repairs.
  • Combine your whole home remodeling estimate with the offer you plan to make on the house. If this comes in below your estimate of the final market value, then you could be looking at a good deal.

If the numbers add up and you’re likely to save money on buying and then creating the home of your dreams, then you could push ahead with a purchase and then start talking to home remodeling contractors in Des Moines.

However, in most cases, there will be more points to consider…

Choose a Home That’s in Relatively Good Shape

Most professionals don’t recommend buying a home that needs major repairs and structural improvements. This could end up being costly and could offset the benefit of buying a fixer upper in the first place. Your best bet is to choose a home that is in decent shape, where you can work with the existing structure to achieve your vision.

It’s best to look for something where you will only need to make cosmetic improvements. Replacing drywall, repainting, and refinishing or replacing floors are examples of repairs that will return more in market value than what they cost to complete. A new kitchen and bathrooms can also significantly increase the market value of a fixer upper.

Whole home remodeling could see you making major improvements, such as basement finishing, or even garage finishing. You may want to add a small extension to the home as well. You’ll need to consider how much all these projects would cost and the value that they will return.

Buying a home that is close to needing a complete rebuild will not be economically viable. It’s great making improvements on an older home, but you should stay realistic when considering the complexity and cost of the project.

Be Prepared for the Time Investment of a Whole Home Remodel

Money is important but it’s not everything on a whole home remodel. Even minor home renovation takes time, and you’ll need to be aware of just how disruptive this can be on your lifestyle. You may need to live in the home while repairs and modifications are underway. If you have children, then this could be a nightmare. If you live alone or with a partner, then it will be easier to manage the interruptions.

You might also like to carry out some of the work yourself. Many fixer upper buyers are DIY enthusiasts. You could do some of the smaller jobs like removing fixtures and materials, which could reduce your contractor bill. You could even take on some of the smaller projects like bathroom floor tiling or installing a new vanity.

Exactly how much time you personally spend on a whole home remodel is up to you. Know your limitations and when it’s best to call in the professionals. While it could seem like you’re saving money by doing some DIY work, you might end up with sub-par results that take longer to complete. Spending a little extra for home remodeling contractors Des Moines will result in faster work that looks better and lasts longer.

6 Things You Need to Know Before Purchasing a Fixer Upper

Budget, the right home, and understanding the time investment are all great starting points to whole home remodeling in a fixer upper. Here are 6 more things that you need to know before you get started.

  1. It’s essential to vet your contractors. It’s best to go local with a company that has an established reputation. You can talk to previous clients, view the contractor’s work, and you’ll always have some recourse when dealing with a local service provider.

  2. Communication is key to a successful whole home remodeling job. You need to tell your contractors exactly what you’re looking for. If you don’t have a good working relationship and a mutual understanding of your goals, then you won’t get the results you want.

  3. Research is important. You don’t need years of home renovation and remodeling experience to understand the fundamental concepts of home improvement. Learn more about simple repairs, materials, and any improvements that you’re planning. This will give you a better understanding of what you’re paying for and the scope of the entire job.

  4. You can shop around for materials. Home remodeling contractors in Des Moines have extensive supplier contacts and can often find you fixtures and materials at the best prices. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t shop around. You could find one-off discounts, end of run appliances, and other items for your project. In some cases, it’s possible to save money by doing some legwork and comparing prices at the different home improvement retailers.

  5. It’s OK to compromise. The best contractors will work with you to achieve your vision, but there could be specific areas where you need to compromise to stay within budget. Make sure that compromises are made in the planning stage. You can save money on smaller items like kitchen and bathroom hardware. You could also reduce remodeling costs by choosing more affordable materials, such as engineered or laminated wood flooring in place of hardwood, or quartz counters rather than granite or marble.

  6. You will probably go over your budget. Even the best contractors can’t foresee everything on a project. Changes in material prices, and undetected structural problems can pop up while work is underway. Your project manager will work to minimize budget overrun, but it’s still recommended that you plan for at least a 15% overspend when compared to your original budget. This is a common practice for most whole home remodeling projects.

Millions of people remodel every year, but only a relatively small portion of homeowners work in fixer upper homes. Whether you purchased the home for investment or to live in, going in with eyes wide open will always work out better in the long term.

Start Talking with the Best Home Remodeling Contractors Des Moines

If you’ve invested in a bargain fixer upper, you’ll need reliable contractors in Des Moines to bring the home up to its full potential. HomeWorx Iowa can help with extensive whole home remodeling, minor renovations, and everything in between.

We work with you from end to end, providing expert project management to ensure that your remodel is as stress-free as possible. In the planning stage, we keep costs down by providing 3D modeled improvements so that you can visualize what your new spaces will look like.

A fixer upper can be the perfect way to climb the property ladder. You could get your dream home on a relatively small budget, but you need to be smart about it. Ensure that you turn your vision into a valuable home that is a real asset. Contact us today to discuss your next home renovation or remodeling project.

5 Home Renovations That Provide the Best Returns

When you choose to invest in small improvements or even a whole house renovation, you can add comfort to your home and improve your lifestyle. Renovation is all about meeting your needs of today and preparing for the future. Your investment could also increase the value of your home, making it more marketable should you ever choose to sell.

As a homeowner, it’s sometimes hard to determine which projects will give you the best return on your investment. If you want to upgrade your home but don’t know where to start, then these five home renovation ideas will show you what’s possible on any budget.

1) Siding Improvements

No matter what your home looks like inside, a run-down exterior will turn potential buyers away. Curbside appeal is a huge factor in closing a home sale.

New siding can last for decades, so it will create value when you sell your home. Upon home value appraisal, you could recoup up to 75% of your investment in siding. Siding will improve the aesthetic of your home while also protecting the structure. Modern siding will reduce maintenance needs for you and any potential buyer.

You could also take the opportunity to install feature siding. The front façade and entryway of your home would be the perfect location for a stone veneer.

2) Partial or Whole Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen is the best room to focus on if you are performing partial home renovations. This will be a key selling point when your home goes on the market, and the quality of your kitchen could make all the difference when buyers are considering your home.

Whether you choose to make minor improvements, or go big with a whole kitchen remodel, you can typically get up to 80% return on your investment if you sell your home within five years of the upgrade.

Quality renovated kitchens can raise appraisal value, but you’ll need to focus on the right features. The best improvements include:

  • New kitchen flooring. Tiles and laminated floors both offer excellent durability and moisture resilience.
  • New cabinets. Upgrading your cabinets will refresh the look and feel of your kitchen.
  • New countertops. Real estate agents agree that countertops are the single most important feature in any kitchen. Marble is the premium choice that will attract discerning buyers. Quartz is an excellent mid-cost alternative.

A kitchen renovation will also benefit you and your family for as long as you stay in your home. Focus on improving aspects of your kitchen that are dated or worn out.

3) Adding an Outdoor Living Space with Home Renovation

Modern living is all about indoor/outdoor flow. You can remodel with a new deck or renovate your existing one. Natural timber decks are hardwearing and will provide decades of use with the right maintenance. You could even reduce your landscaping needs by extending your living space with a wooden deck.

Add features that provide convenience and beauty. Integrated planters will turn the ordinary deck into a feature that is beautiful and functional. Your deck could be the perfect spot for a small vegetable garden, where you can grow your own produce while educating your children.

Integrated benches will be great for entertaining family and friends.

The average cost for a 16×20 foot deck is just over $13,000, but your actual home renovation cost will come down to the materials and design that you choose. The good news is that you can reclaim up to 75% of the value on this investment, as large outdoor living spaces are in high demand on the home market.

4) Garage Door Replacement

Your garage door is one of the most important exterior features of your home. A new garage door could raise curbside appeal and provide increased convenience and security.

According to real estate agents and renovation experts, a new garage door and motor could return almost all your investment when you sell your home.

The key with this improvement is to think long term. Heavy duty galvanized tracks will ensure that the door doesn’t fail in the future. Sectional garage doors are more durable than single panel equivalents, as they can resist wind, temperature changes, and warping over time.

5) Improving the Essentials

The average buyer isn’t looking for a project home. They seek out homes that are well maintained and ready for years of stress-free comfort. Improving the essentials during home renovation could add lasting value and appeal for discerning buyers.

Wiring, light fixtures, and even your air conditioning system could all be improved during a renovation project. Upgraded wiring that is ready for modern appliances will add decades of value. New insulated ducting and a modern air conditioning unit would also add value and appeal. Replacing light fixtures with modern designs could result in a higher appraised value.

Of course, you can enjoy all these upgrades while living in your home. Even if a sale is a few years off, you’ll still get a personal return from your investment.

Plan a Home Renovation Project That Adds Value

A partial or complete renovation is not strictly an expense. It’s an investment in your home that can benefit your family now and provide a financial return should you sell your house later.

Careful planning will bring you the best returns. If you need help finding the best improvements for your unique home, you can work with the team at HomeWorx. Our home renovation consulting and contractor service will take you from design, right up to construction.

The result: a more valuable and comfortable home!

How to Winter Proof Your Home to Protect Your Investment

We may have just got over a bitterly harsh winter, but it won’t be long before the next one rolls around. Winter proofing your home is something that you should perform during the summer to fall transition.

From checking for leaks and water damage, to clearing your gutters, some simple steps can protect your home. Follow our guidelines for winter proofing your home and enjoy a safer and dryer home later this year.

Protect Your Gutters

Leaves and other tree debris are the number one enemy of your gutters. Clogged gutters can cause water buildup and damage to your drainpipes. Roofing and siding damage is also possible if your gutters aren’t clean and clear.

Before winter begins, prune trees and any branches around your home that are at or above roof level. Tree limbs should be at least 8 feet away from your home. If you don’t have the tools or the time, hire a contractor. This will stop most leaves and debris from falling in your gutters and entering your drainpipes.

Regular roof sweeps throughout the fall will give you a chance to clear and inspect gutters. A tall ladder will be all you need for most two-story homes. If you aren’t comfortable with this, again, a contractor is recommended.

Gutter guards are an option to prevent debris from collecting. Guards are affordable and easily installed. You can pick up a complete home kit from your local hardware or home goods store. Professional installation is also an option if you want to do this quickly and conveniently.

Taking the time to inspect, clear, and maintain gutters is essential for winter proofing. Don’t ignore this step if you want to protect your home this winter.

Add Insulation to Walls and Floors

Chances are your home has insulation, but is it getting the job done? Older insulation materials deteriorate over time and lose efficiency. If your home is not fully insulated, or if the insulation is worn, then improvements should be made.

Full home insulation is a relatively costly project, but you need to consider the long-term benefits. Install the right insulation today and it will last for the lifetime of your home. Energy efficiency will increase, and your heating and cooling costs will decrease. You’ll feel much more comfortable in your home, and the air will be healthier and free of excess moisture.

If your walls and floors are taken care of, then it’s time to consider the insulation in your attic…

Insulate Your Attic

Well-insulated homes attics remain comfortable and dry during the winter months. If your attic is not insulated, then you should consider the project this summer.

You can inspect your current insulation for damage and deterioration. Older bat style insulation can break down over time. Foam insulation is a suitable alternative and a long-lasting investment. You can have foam panels installed, or, use a spray foam company for the most efficient insulation.

Spray foam expands and works its way into all cracks and crevices. This insulation will keep your home warm and dry in winter and reduce cooling costs in summer.

Insulation could also add value to your property in case you plan to sell in the future. This is one investment that you don’t want to skip when winter proofing your home.

Fill in the Gaps

Small cracks and damage to exterior foundations and walls could lead to big problems. Rain, snow, and slush could enter cracks and cause structural damage. Don’t let your home become a victim to moisture damage this winter. You can inspect the exterior of your home to identify cracks and other deterioration.

When you seal the cracks on your home’s exterior, you will keep moisture and air out. In addition to protecting your home from damage, you’ll increase its energy efficiency.

Small cracks can be filled with exterior caulking, which you’ll find at your local hardware store. For larger cracks and damage, use an expanding spray foam. This will ensure that cavities are fully sealed and insulated.

Filling in cracks and gaps can also prevent insect infestation. Don’t take any chances with damage you see on your home exterior.

Most foam and caulking products can be painted to match your home’s exterior. Check all manufacturer instructions if you are making larger repairs that will need finishing and painting.

Consider Replacing Your Doors and Windows

If your home isn’t energy efficient you will lose money over the winter. Windows and exterior doors that are poorly installed or insulated are a liability.

Consider new door and window installation if you want your home to be truly protected. You could even make this an excellent renovation project, adding value and curbside appeal.

When it comes to windows, invest in low-e glass. This is a special glass that is coated to increase energy efficiency. Low-e glass keeps warm air in your home and the chilly air outside. During the summer, it does the opposite to reduce your air conditioning costs.

Low-e glass also filters UV light, which can protect your interior furniture and surfaces. This one-time investment will benefit you next winter and throughout the lifetime of your home.

Storm doors will prevent air and moisture entry, and they can offer much needed peace of mind. These doors also provide an additional barrier, preventing damage to existing doors. Storm door installation is relatively affordable and a quick DIY project if you have the tools and time. Even if you choose professional installation, your investment will be worth it in the long term.

Storm doors can be custom fabricated to suit the look of your home, retaining both value and appeal.

If you don’t have the time or experience to replace windows and doors, rely on a local home renovation service. Professional labor and installation methods will ensure an investment that continues to pay off for many years.

Heat Cable Can Protect Against Ice Buildup

Cold snaps in the winter could lead to ice buildup around roof awnings and gutters. You can prevent this with a heat cable.

A heat cable (also known as heat tape) uses electricity from your home to warm a small area. You can run the cable around roof edges and gutters. You’ll need an outlet to connect the cable, but you will likely only need to run the system for a few days of the year.

Heat cable can also be used indoors on water pipes to prevent freezing. The cable can be affixed to pipes with 3M glass cloth tape, making for a simple DIY project. You’ll find kits through e-retailers and at hardware and home stores, which include all mounting accessories and hardware.

Heat cable is an effective and safe way to prevent ice outside your home or in pipes. Pick up some cable to winter proof your home after this summer.

Inspect and Clean Your Fireplace and Chimney

You’ll need a complete visual inspection if you use a fireplace to heat your home. The fireplace should be cleaned before the end of summer, along with the chimney.

Ensure that your damper is working correctly, and that air is flowing up and out of the chimney. This will prevent dangerous combustion gases from entering your home. You can check chimney airflow by burning hardwood kindling. Ensure that smoke is being pulled into the chimney, and that it is visible from outside.

You’ll also need to clean your chimney, so invest in a wire brush and extension pole to remove creosote. You could also use a creosote log to deposit cleaning chemicals in your chimney lining.

Any heavy creosote buildup will need to be professionally removed. If you don’t have the tools, time, or experience to clean your chimney safely, then call the experts.

Don’t forget about your chimney structure. Visually check outside for warping and leaning, or cracks and damage in the masonry. You’ll need a professional home repair or renovation crew to fix extensive chimney and masonry damage.

Check Your Home for Water Damage

Water damage can indicate problem points in your home. If you haven’t adequately winter proofed in previous years, you may already have signs of damage.

  • Check walls in your basement and throughout the home for water stains.
  • Sagging or discolored ceilings can indicate water damage.
  • Check around pipes, including inside cabinets, for any leaks or signs of previous damage.
  • Your basement is likely to be the dampest area of your home. Thoroughly inspect all walls and ceilings for mold or discoloration.

Any time that you spot water damage, inspect inside and outside for a point of water entry. Fill in cracks and holes if you discover them

Extensive water damage should not be addressed without a professional. Basement damage could weaken your foundations. Discoloration and mold could indicate damage from the previous winter.

If you are unable to identify the source of damage, then rely on a professional inspection. Any problem points could open an opportunity for remodeling or renovation this summer.

Clean Up Outside

Remove items from your outdoor living spaces during the winter. Outdoor furniture, barbeques, braziers, and other items should be stored in a garage or shed. Bring potted plants inside or keep them in shed storage where they will be protected from wind, frost, rain, and snow.

If you burn firewood for heating, keep it in a sheltered space and cover it with a waterproof tarp and tie-down rope. This will ensure that firewood stays dry enough for efficient burning.

Simple Steps for a Safer, Warmer Home This Winter

Winter proofing keeps your home safe and dry, while protecting it from costly damage. Don’t take any chances with your most valuable investment. Winter proof your home this year and look forward to a comfortable winter with complete peace of mind.