1. Why is a renovation the right choice for me? It’s a good idea to first establish your primary reasons for choosing a renovation over new construction. Perhaps you like most of the features of your current home and you can’t imagine living in any other location. Whatever the reason, make sure your goals can be accomplished with a remodel of your current home. Does your budget align with your expectations for the level of quality of your dream renovation? Will the site accommodate the home size and amenities that you require? With your budget and goals clearly defined, an architect can evaluate the assets and liabilities of your current home and help you either confirm or deny that a renovation is the right choice for you. 2. Is my home renovation worthy? Unfortunately, some homes are simply not worth renovating. Foundation problems, improper construction techniques, or substandard detailing practices may necessitate the complete demolition of your home. While some major problems can be remedied, the cost may far outweigh the benefit of performing the required repairs. An architect can help you answer this question early, potentially saving you tons of time and money. 3. Am I mentally prepared for a renovation? Often, homeowners choose to live in their home while a renovation is taking place. While this can certainly save money, be prepared to deal with the inevitable headaches that come along with this. Water and electricity will at times be unavailable for your use. Be prepared for this and be ready to adapt. Your day-to-day routine will be altered, so make sure you can handle this before plunging into a renovation. 4. Am I financially prepared for a renovation? An architect can help identify the liabilities, if any, of your current home. By identifying liabilities early in the project, you can financially prepare yourself for areas that may require funds beyond those initially anticipated. Sometimes, however, problems are hidden, and are uncovered only after the renovation has commenced. Perhaps, during demolition, it’s discovered that the existing wood wall studs in your home are spaced on 4’-0” centers and the design calls for the addition of a second story. The existing wall construction will not adequately support the load incurred by the second story addition, as initially expected. Labor and materials are now required beyond the scope of the general contractor’s bid. Having a modest contingency fund in addition to your base project budget allows you to be prepared for an event such as this. 5. How important is Cost vs. Value to me? In November 2010, Remodeling magazine issued its annual Cost vs. Value Report. In their words, “the report contains data that compares construction costs for popular remodeling projects against the share of the costs recovered at resale." Depending on the type of work completed, the report indicates extremely varied cost recoup rates for a midrange-priced home, with the lowest being 45.8% for a home office remodel, and the highest being 102.1% for entry door replacement. You can read more about cost vs. value in Austin by going to http://www.remodeling.hw.net/2010/costvsvalue/division/west-south-central/city/austin--tx.aspx. While I think these reports need to be taken with a grain of salt, the general consensus is that it is challenging to completely recoup costs or come anywhere near net positive financially if you anticipate reselling your home in the near future. For many, though, the benefits of having a more livable and tailored home outweigh any monetary disadvantages incurred by a renovation because they plan to live in and enjoy their home for years to come. Do you have questions about your home renovation project? Send me an e-mail or give me a call. I’d love to learn more about you and your aspirations for your home.