Renovation tips for those embarking on a major project

  • Renovating an older home can less stressful if you prepare for the unexpected.

    Renovating an older home can less stressful if you prepare for the unexpected. Creators Syndicate

By Joseph Pubillones
Posted5/23/2021 7:01 AM

Editor's note: Joseph Pubillones is taking some time off. This column originally published in 2017.

Converting an old house into a luxurious dwelling that includes everything you have always imagined is -- without a doubt -- a most satisfactory feat. Of course, to launch into this adventure, one must have very clear ideas, an infinite source of imagination and a predetermined budget, which you will surely surpass. Renovations are among the costliest repairs done to a home, even more so than building a new house. What can initially start as a small project can easily grow to a full renovation.


• Due diligence

Inspections are important not only for potential homeowners at time of purchase, but also seasonally or sporadically to reveal any underlying problems that can go by unnoticed to an untrained eye. While there are trained inspectors, most general contractors can be hired to go through any home and give you a rundown of anything that needs to be repaired or replaced.

I prefer to do home inspections with contractors because they have a better idea when it comes to estimating the costs of building materials and labor.

• Plan ahead

Before beginning any remodel, it is imperative to establish a budget. In order to determine your budget, a comprehensive scope of work list needs to be completed.

Often in establishing a budget, homeowners calculate the cost of the items that are visible to the naked eye, but are unaware of things below the surface. This is why I always prefer to rely on the estimates of professionals.

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• Find a trustworthy contractor

Interview a few remodelers who have more than three years of experience, membership in the local and national builders associations and positive customer references. Most importantly, select a general contractor you trust.

Like all relationships, make sure you can feel comfortable communicating with your general contractor and that your personalities do not clash, because while there will be good times, there will also be bad days in any construction project.

• A good contract

Your home -- possibly one of your most important assets and investments -- needs to be protected. Make sure all work to be done is described in detail. Identify property address, start date, completion date and pay schedules. It should also describe the process of notice of commencements and closing out building permits.

• Pack your home

It is recommended that you entirely pack the contents of your home, or at least the portion that is being worked on. Renovations create enough mess and distractions to make one cringe. A renovation is stressful enough, without the need to worry that your personal items are being damaged or "lost," so it's better to be safe than sorry.


• Schedule

It is expected that most projects take longer than the given schedule. Construction projects involve many trades, and there are supplies that arrive broken; there are many things that can go wrong, so add some time to the expected occupancy date.

• Relax

The process of renovation can be taxing on the most serene yogi. Keep a big picture mentality in mind when thinking, contemplating or visiting your project. Don't allow stress to control the process. If possible, book time at a spa or even take a vacation.

• Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida.

© 2021, Creators Syndicate

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