Planning a home renovation project this year?
Follow this handy guide to design a home renovation project to suit your home and your lifestyle. Here at Burns Home Improvements, we have broken down the planning process into five basic steps to assist you. From compiling ideas and determining a budget to choosing the right professionals, this step-by-step process should make your home improvement project more attainable and less fearful.
(Step 1) Identify objectives for your home addition.
Maybe a new member has arrived or the in-laws are moving in or you are finally building that ‘man-cave’ you have always dreamed of. Whatever the situation may be . . . start your project by asking yourself what you want your addition to achieve. What purpose will it serve?
Realize in the identification process what do you really need with your addition? Be sure to write down exactly what you need and not what you want. Write down a list of the needs and functionality the new space will provide.
When you have answered these questions to your satisfaction, be sure to ‘scrapbook’ your dream addition. Peruse your favorite home design magazines. Read books or watch television shows about home remodeling or redecorating projects. Tour new and remodeled homes in your area to get further inspiration and don’t be shy about asking the owner or builder questions.
(Step 2) Calculate your project.
First, determine how much financial leverage you have to cover the cost of your home addition. Take stock of your assets and determine if it makes mathematical sense to invest those savings into your home renovation. Remember, your short term objective is improved quality of life and the long-term goal is a return on your investment with the sale of your home.
Our biggest piece of advice for calculating your home addition project is to come up with realistic expectations. Be honest about your budget, your needs and your expectations. A new addition is wonderful so long as you have financing and realistic goals secured before breaking ground.
(Step 3) Do your research.
Gather legal documents. If you are serious about adding to your home, you will need to track down a few legal documents to get started. First and foremost you will need an accurate plot plan of your property that indicates the property lines. This is extremely important so that your addition does not fall outside of jurisdictional set-backs defined by local Zoning Laws. Plot plans and surveys are usually available at your local Registry of Deeds.
Obtain a site map. At Burns Home Improvements, we offer a FREE site map to those considering a home renovation or addition. We will take a close look at where you plan to construct the addition, plus the areas surrounding the addition. We will take the location of trees or outbuildings you want to preserve into consideration; views you want to capture (or screen out); and exposures to sun, shade, or prevailing breezes. While we are at it, we will be sure to check for obstacles you need to remove, relocate, or work around – such as power lines, utility poles, and underground fuel or septic tank.
(Step 4) Hire a designer.
Additions are not do-it-yourself projects. For starters, if a bank is financing the addition, they will not sanction a non-licensed build-out.
The number and type of people you would need on your home improvement project varies according to the scale and scope of your project. Even if the project is a one room task, a designer or draftsperson should prepare your drawings. A good designer will organize your ideas in a floor plan that fits your lifestyle and can steer you away from the pitfalls of poor planning.
For more extensive work, hiring an architect makes sense. Many of us think we have design talents, but an architect can provide a great service by creating amazing living space that as individuals we could not have imagined. Their renderings will also assist with obtaining the necessary building permits.
(Step 5) Locate a reputable contractor.
The benefit of working with a general contractor is that they have relationships with multiple subcontractors. One sure proof way to locate a reputable contractor is by word-of-mouth. Talk to neighbors and friends and even look online. Many people will write about the sort of experience they had with their contractor when undergoing a home addition.
Another good scale to go by is the contractor’s longevity. Professionals who have been doing business for years in your area are more likely to be reputable. You can also inquire with your local building code officials and building supply companies.
Burns Home Improvements has been constructing homes in the Greater Boston area for more than fifteen years. We are local, we are licensed and bonded. At Burns Home Improvements, we don’t utilize subcontractors, instead – we have the ability to manage all facets of your home addition project and even an on-site architect. We highly recommend that you obtain three quotes for your home improvement project – and stress that Burns Home Improvements be one of them. We would be more than happy to provide you samples of our work and will leave you with a detailed written estimate.