A majority of U.S. homeowners (54%) are planning to remodel and STAY in their home, rather than let someone else enjoy the new improvements, according to a new study by House and Home.  Yet even though folks plan on hunkering down for the next fifty years, we all know how life throws a curveball.  For one thing, babies happen.  And after they happen, they sometimes cry, driving parents to stow baby in another wing of the house.  If one’s home lacks the extra wing, it is time to call a Realtor.  And after babies cry, most of them eat, burp and buy a home of their own.  (This is just an overview you understand.) Thus a family’s plans for a sedentary life change quickly.

Proof that babies happen

To help homeowners remember us when those plans change, we must faithfully provide them sound advice with their present plans, which appear to involve remodeling.  Here then are a few helpful, home-grown tips and tricks to share with homeowners to make their remodel go off without a hitch:

  1. Prepare for the unexpected (and have the aloe vera ready.)  A good illustration is the time I was celebrating the last night of Hanukkah with my soon-to-be wife.  I just finished lighting the eighth candle in the Menorah when Millie daringly leaped onto the dining room table.  I should mention here that Millie was my cat at the time, not my soon-to-be wife.  Millie was a long-hair tabby, and Cheryl (my soon-to-be wife) was greatly disturbed about Millie’s presence around so many candles.  I assured Cheryl, however, that Millie was the cat’s meow and she knew what she was about, so not to worry.  Shortly after I said that Millie’s tail went up in a pillar of flames, while Cheryl and I stared in mute horror and astonishment.  Before we could do anything, however, Millie flicked her tail furiously and shot forward like a cannon, extinguishing the flames in the process.  What does this have to with remodeling?  A worthy question and the answer is thus: many folks are insufficiently prepared for their home remodel and end up feeling (like Millie) that someone set their backsides on fire.  They need to be reminded to prepare for the unexpected, such as…
  2. Prepare for surprises in the wall.  The old saying comes to mind here, “Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.”  If you want to live a long and worry-free life, happy with the idea of your home as a safe and protecting shelter, then for Pete’s sake don’t open the walls.  In there you’ll find no end of mayhem such as critters and creatures and hairy blobs of mold.  In short, whatever you think you’re going to do or spend on this project, mentally add 20% to it because of all the surprises you’ll discover that will need to be addressed.
  3. Be prepared for surprises in your mind.  People are not logical creatures.  Oh, they talk a good game and maintain an orderly plan in theory, but start remodeling their home and you’ll find them in a wild rumpus of confusion.  I know because I used to do remodeling.  What starts as a simple painting project soon involves drywall and before you know it you’re ripping off their home and installing a dormer.  This is typical and your plans will evolve as the project does, so be prepared for a rising budget.  You know how we talked about adding 20% for surprises in the wall?  Well now add another 20% for surprises in your mind. 

I hope and believe this list—while not exhaustive—is helpful in pointing out some pitfalls to avoid for a peaceful, happy home remodel.  And if your clients need a peaceful, happy home mortgage without feeling like their pants on fire, well you know who to call.  (But just in case you don’t, I meant me.)