The Lazy, Hazy, Busy Remodels of Summer: Fourteen Tips to Consider Before Starting Your Home Renovation This Season
Summer is a popular time for homeowners to remodel…and with good reason! Dan Fritschen discusses why summer is such an advantageous time to finally redo your kitchen, bedroom, or basement, and also offers some cautionary advice to consider before calling a contractor.
Sunnyvale, CA (June 2012)—Between spring cleaning and summer inspiration, it’s not uncommon to be bitten by the remodeling bug this time of year. And thanks to popular home improvement shows and the ever-growing “DIY” movement, you might be tempted to hit the hardware store and start hammering, painting, or grouting this weekend. But before you jump in with power tools blazing, Dan Fritschen has a few things for you to consider.
“Yes, being motivated to re-do some aspect of your home is a wonderful feeling,” says Fritschen, author of Remodel or Move?TM Make the Right Decision (ABCD Publishing LLC, 2005, ISBN: 978-1-9330076-9-4, $15.95) and founder of www.remodelormove.com. “But as with all big projects, it’s always best to think a home remodel through and take all variables into account before you begin.”
If you have a remodel project in mind for this summer, read on for Fritschen’s insight on summer remodeling, and why this is the perfect time of year for many projects:
First, learn about the many advantages of remodeling in the summer:
It can happen while you’re gone! If you’re one of the many families who go to the beach, mountains, or Grandma’s house for a week or so during the summer, Fritschen suggests scheduling your remodel to coincide so that you’ll be out of the house while the job is done. The workers will have more space, you won’t have to worry about safety hazards and staying out of their way, and you’ll be able to come home to a new and improved house.
Long days=faster completion. Everybody loves long, warm summer evenings. And remodelers have another reason to be thankful for more daylight hours and warm weather: longer working days! “Mother Nature makes it so much easier to complete projects in a timely manner during the summer,” Fritschen confirms.
You can eat al fresco. Summer is a wonderful time to remodel kitchens in particular because you don’t have to use them in order to eat well. While your kitchen is transformed, fire up the outdoor grill and eat on your patio furniture. “You could even spread a quilt in the yard and have a good old-fashioned picnic!” Fritschen suggests.
If exposure is necessary, it’ll be friendly! The fact is, you can expose your house to the elements more safely in summer. Whether you have an open wall because you’re adding on to your house, are replacing windows, or just want to open the windows and doors so the new-paint smell isn’t overwhelming, summer is ideal.
“Temperature and inclement weather aren’t likely to be big concerns in many regions,” Fritschen says. “Plus, if things do get wet, the higher temperatures will help them dry out faster.”
You’re more likely to be inspired. For a variety of reasons, your creative inspiration might peak in summer. It’s a happy, colorful season that leaves many people feeling extra-energized and motivated.
“Also, you might be out and about more in the warmer weather,” points out Fritschen. “You’re more apt to get ideas both from other people’s homes and in stores. So if you think a remodel might be in the cards for you—this summer or in the future—be sure to keep your eyes open for inspiration.”
It’s easier to maintain neighborly relations. Even if you and your neighbors are the best of friends, loud, noisy construction in the neighborhood can be frustrating—not to mention having to deal with extra vehicles and (depending on the nature of the project) blocked-off sections of road. According to Fritschen, these annoyances are most likely to have minimal effect during the summer.
“People are least likely to be homebound during the summer,” he says. “Who knows? Maybe your neighbors will be on their vacation during your remodel. Plus, everyone else on the block is more likely to be engaging in noisy outdoor activities as well. Between the sounds of mowers and kids playing, for instance, maybe any extra noise from your lot won’t be noticed.”
You can go underground to beat the heat. If you’ve been wanting to work on your basement, do it now…especially if heat is an issue for you. Your basement will be cool but not freezing, which will definitely be the case if you wait till later in the year.
It’s a good time to think ahead to winter. You might not want to contemplate winter’s chill while you bask by the pool, but according to Fritschen, it’s a good idea.
“Plan now for ‘winter’ remodels like replacing a furnace, adding insulation, or getting more efficient windows or siding added,” he recommends. “Most people aren’t focused on these types of projects during the summer, so you’ll have a better chance to get a good deal and to schedule the work at your preferred time.”
You can soak up the sun while adding curb appeal. You might not think about your yard when you consider remodeling, but the fact is, curb appeal is important! What your yard looks like and how it is landscaped influences how others (and you!) perceive your home in general.
“For obvious reasons, summer is ideal for landscaping, planting, putting in patios and walkways, and more,” Fritschen says.
The long sunny days can save you money and power your home. If you’ve been considering adding solar panels to your home, now’s the time. Prices for solar panels are at super low prices—as little as $1 per watt for 200-watt panels—so for $2,000 you can buy panels that can generate 2 kw of power during peak sunshine periods (like this summer!).
“Buying that 2 kw of power in the example above would cost you about 24 cents per hour according to the Energy Information Administration,” points out Fritschen. “And while installing a full solar system will cost more than $2,000, when all is said and done, with all the rebates and the benefits to the environment and your pocketbook, it is still a good investment. The lower cost of the solar panels and the long sunny days of summer make generating power from the sun smarter than ever.”
You might just dig up a sweet deal. Yes, the economy is (slowly) getting better, but it’s nowhere near the remodeling heyday of 2007, so contractors and retailers are working hard to win your business. Depending on where you live, you might be able to find discounts of 10 percent or more on many materials and appliances for your remodel. Plus, even though summer is a busy season, many contractors are bidding their best prices in an attempt to get back to the business levels they had prior to the economic slow-down.
This could be a good time to take an interest in interest. Right now, most of us aren’t thrilled with the economy, including the fact that interest rates are at historical lows. It’s likely that if you have cash in a savings account, you probably aren’t earning very much right now. So why not use that money on a new kitchen or finished basement that you’ll enjoy every day?
“Also, if you’re borrowing to pay for your remodel, then take advantage of the lower interest rates on mortgages and other types of loans,” recommends Fritschen.
And on the subject of money, here’s another interesting thing to consider: “203k FHA loans enable you to borrow on the value of your home after the remodel is complete,” Fritschen shares. “Having just a single loan for the purchase of a home plus the cost of repair/renovation can be a huge money saver.” You can find out more at http://www.remodelormove.com/articles/203k.
Now that you’ve seen the advantages of remodeling in the summer, Fritschen has a
couple of cautionary pieces of advice before you head out for the hardware store:
Figure out if your project is worth it. It’s never a good idea to start a project—big or small—without having an accurate idea of how much it will cost. Especially in today’s economic environment, it’s crucial to consider where home values are right now. Will your proposed remodel add enough value to your property to offset the cost? Fortunately, thanks to technology, you can get remodel cost estimates instantly.
“The Remodel Cost Calculators at www.remodelormove.com will help you think through your goals and preferences, and they will also give you an instant estimate of the cost to remodel a bathroom, kitchen, or your entire house,” shares Fritschen. “Plus, the Remodel Cost Calculators are now available at www.facebook.com/remodelormove, so you can share the results with all of your friends and family on Facebook to get multiple opinions on your project idea.”
Consider the timing. “If now isn’t a good time to start the actual work on your remodel, you can still start preparing for it,” Fritschen points out. “Keep an eye out for sales on the materials you need. If you start buying and storing bath and kitchen fixtures, windows, and tile now—that you bought on sale, for example—you can significantly cut down on the cost of the overall project.”
“This summer, let your inspiration and motivation update your home in a way that you’ll love,” Fritschen concludes. “Just make sure you have thought the project through before you begin!”
Answers to YOUR remodeling questions!
Remodel or Move™ is an independent organization whose mission is to empower consumers to make the best remodel and move decision. To achieve this mission, Remodel or Move provides reference materials, evaluation tools, and no-nonsense advice to all consumers. Remodel or Move promotes no agenda other than the interests of consumers.
The organization’s reference materials and educational components include:
The website: www.remodelormove.com
The Remodel or Move Calculator: an online analysis tool that provides homeowners with a specific recommendation: to remodel or move
The book: Remodel or Move?TM Make the Right Decision, in bookstores nationwide
About Dan Fritschen:
Dan Fritschen is the creator of remodelormove.com, a homeowner support organization that helps homeowners become better informed so that they can make the right decision on whether to remodel or move.
He started his company after twenty years of remodeling his own homes and helping others make “remodel or move” decisions for themselves. Because he is neither a realtor nor a remodeler, he is qualified to offer pragmatic, unbiased advice. Fritschen’s goal is to make homeowners aware of three important messages:
1. Selling your house COSTS money.
2. There are MANY right ways to remodel, some expensive and some cheap.
3. It is better to move than to over-improve or do an “ugly” remodel.
About the Book:
Remodel or Move?TM Make the Right Decision (ABCD Publishing LLC, 2005, ISBN: 978-1-9330076-9-4, $15.95), distributed by IPG, is available at bookstores nationwide and major online booksellers.