To Renovate, or NOT To Renovate

Consider the costs of renovating and how they compare to the value of your house, neighborhood real-estate values and the availability of other properties that could meet your needs.  Many times, renovations are not, or are just barely, cost effective.  Kitchens and master bedrooms typically bring higher return.  Once you have analyzed your wants and needs an architect might ask: Do you want to improve your house for you and your family or do you want to increase its resale value?  If you intend to move three to five years after the renovation is complete, it may not be worthwhile going through the renovation process.


Controlling Costs

It’s easy for renovation projects to snowball when you begin to consider existing utilities, wiring, insulation, and windows-even finishing touches such as window coverings, furnishings and artwork.  An architect can help you to plan your renovation and set the stage for building cost-efficiency into your project.  By setting parameters early in the renovation process, your architect can help you control costs before construction begins.


Making the Best Use of Space

Your architect will help you analyze and understand how you use the space you have now, and how you’ll use the space you want to create through the renovation.  Do you want formal, quiet space separate from common areas or airy, informal space?  How could the spaces serve a dual-purpose?  This can help minimize the additional square footage you’ll create.  For example, you might want to expand the living room to provide quiet space for reading and occasional work at home.  But after exploring how you currently use the space, the architect might demonstrate how the space and privacy you desire is best attained by creating a large master bedroom instead.  Your architect has the experience to show you the possibilities.


Potential Problems

Potential problems can lie behind walls and beneath floors, especially in older homes.  Consider your existing plumbing, wiring, heating ducts and foundation and how these will work with your renovation.  Consider what affect this could have on your budget.  Outdated wiring may not support the increased power needs of your modern home office or considerable rerouting and replacement of existing plumbing.  Or, a weak foundation might have to be reinforced to support an addition.  An architect takes such possibilities into account when assessing your project and developing a design, which can help avoid costly surprises later when you’re under construction.


More Than Just Drawings

An architect’s involvement doesn’t end with preparing drawings for renovation.  As your adviser and agent, the architect will visit the site to protect you against work that is not according to plan.  With an architect observing construction, you get informed reports of the project’s progress, a trained eye toward quality control and even a check on the contractor’s invoices-mandating that the contractor does not get paid until the architect is satisfied that the contractor has fulfilled all obligations to you.