Is Your Home a Good Candidate for a Renovation?
By George Cooke
Some of the most frequent questions people ask Custom Builders are about renovations and whether their home or one they are considering purchasing is a good candidate for a renovation. While watching the rain bring an end to all the best laid plans this morning, let’s take a moment and share what we at White Oak Fine Homes believe makes a home a good candidate for a renovation.
The Three Most Important Considerations for a Home Renovation
Location, location, location
Having spent the last thirty-five years building high quality homes in Atlanta, the old real estate adage, “Location, Location, Location” always rings true…if a home is in a location that works well for you and your family then the first and most important box is checked. A quality Custom Builder can re-work, re-do, re-configure, and re-build about anything on an existing home, but the most difficult task is moving one! Once you have determined that the location is right, start looking closer at the wish-list objectives to determine what is reasonably possible. A favorite saying in construction is that anything is possible…it’s a function of time and money…so the key to a successful renovation project is to determine what is reasonably possible.
The next box to check is if the conditions related to the property are user friendly for the objectives you are trying to achieve. This is where a good landscape architect or site planner can be very helpful on the front end of the project. Conditions such as building set-back requirements, existing tree coverage, and topography can play a significant role in what is reasonably possible. These conditions not only impact the construction of additions to the existing home, but also things like swimming pools, pickleball courts, patios, and play lawns. Certainly, there are tools to overcome difficult conditions on a property and some municipalities provide a process allowing for a variance to the usual building requirements, but these all add complexity to the project and need to be weighed as to what is reasonably possible.
Once determining that the location is suitable, and the property is user friendly for what you want to accomplish, it’s time to consider the existing home. The first thing to look at is the age of the home and the construction methods utilized when the home was built. Some materials and methods are easier to work with than others…drywall is much simpler to work around than plaster over wire lath! Depending upon the age of the home, the underlying plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems may have to be replaced rather than incorporated into the renovation. Limiting the amount of behind the scenes work like having to replace entire mechanical, electrical, or plumbing systems goes a long way to insuring a project is reasonably possible. If a project’s objectives can be met without requiring additional foundations and expanding the existing footprint of a home, typically the renovation project will take less time and weather will have less impact on the flow of work; most Custom Builders consider that a benefit. When expanding the footprint is required, ideally that work can be completed and dried-in prior to opening the existing home. Renovation projects that allow the work to be localized are usually more efficient in terms of cost and time. Examples of a localized project could be a Spa-like Primary Bath, a sleek new Chef’s Kitchen, or spacious Family Room.
Planning your renovation
Given that the location is suitable, the property is user friendly for what you want to accomplish, and the existing home will not combat the efforts, the last box to check is if the completed project will respect the homes around it or will it become a unicorn. Atlanta is blessed to have a rich history of residential architecture and many beautiful neighborhoods, each with its own special personality. While architectural evolution and change is important, so also is maintaining an aesthetic which respects and blends with the surrounding homes.
Please reach out to us at White Oak Fine Homes if you have a renovation project that you would like to explore, we are always happy to give you our thoughts. Rain is letting up, so it’s time to get back on site and get building!