This past week, my friend Phillip, who owns Burning Tree Builders in Bethesda agreed to share some tips for couples about to embark on a home renovation project.  Among the most important things he recommends for surviving the demolition of your home are the following:

1. Set a Realistic Budget– Be honest with your architect and builder about your cap for your project.  It is their goal to make you happy, and they don’t want to sell you on something you can’t afford– that won’t do anyone any good.

2. Do Your Homework– Interview a few builders, research them, and make your selection not just based on the cheapest bid.  Remember, you get what you pay for.  Check references and make sure they are licensed, bonded and insured.

3. Be Flexible– Unexpected delays do happen, so don’t think the completion date is set in stone, think of it more as a target date.  Also sometimes materials are out of stock or no longer available, so be ready to make some changes.

4. Communication is Key– Check in regularly with your builder about how the project is progressing and if you don’t like something, speak up sooner rather than later.  Remember, these people are trying to help you obtain an end product that you will be happy with for quite some time.  Pick one person to the spokesperson that will discuss updates with the builder.

5. Have a Solid Foundation– Living through the demolition of your house can truly test your relationship.  Everything is a bit out of whack– daily schedules get altered, you may not have access to certain areas on your house, private space is rare, kitchens may be out of use for some time, dust will get everywhere, and living with all this can test your patience– and your relationship.  You need to be able to calm each other down and work together on major decisions that the project will require you to make.  So make sure you are on solid ground before you start tearing down the walls in your own home!

Not everyone can live through a renovation project, which is why some people only buy new homes or recently renovated ones.  Those of us that actually like renovations see it as a labor of love, and we have the ability to adapt and bear through some rough times by keeping the end product in mind.  Be honest with yourself about how much you can take on both personally and as a couple.

In the end, my friend’s motto is “change your pad, change your life.”  He is so right– remodeling your home can be a complete game changer, just make sure everyone involved is fully on board with the work and costs involved to get to that better place. 🙂

Here is the link to the full segment:

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.