To Renovate or Wait?



Autumn isn’t just a time to drink pumpkin spice lattes and go bobbing for apples. Depending on where you live, it can also seem like a great time to perform renovations. But before you hire a contractor and start hammering into the drywall, you need to decide on a few things. The weather may be mild in fall, but you’ll need other conditions in place before you start a big renovation project, or even before you start a relatively small renovation project. Here’s how to tell if you should dive into renovations now or wait for a more opportune moment.


Do you know what you want?


It’s easy to look at something and say, “I don’t like that.” It’s much harder to figure out what exactly you do want. Are you sick of the lime green tiles in your kitchen that must have been installed in the seventies? That’s understandable, but often you won’t know what to replace it with. “Something nice” isn’t specific enough. There are multiple hidden costs to home remodeling and renovating, and one source of those costs is changing what you want midway through the project.


Let’s say you ordered a specific tile design a week ago, but then you came across another design you like better. At this point, canceling the old order is going to be tricky, and you probably won’t get a full refund. You may not even get a partial refund. The tile you don’t want anymore might still be delivered, which means you’ll end up with two orders of kitchen tile and only one kitchen.


Is your budget realistic?


Maybe the fall weather reminds you that you hope to install an inground pool by the time summer rolls around. That’s a worthy goal, and you should call a swimming pool contractor in New Jersey to help you get the ball rolling (or floating, in this case). However, you should not call without a realistic sense of what an in-ground pool will cost you. If you think a pool will cost $10,000 or so, then you’re in for a shock when you find out the average cost of an inground pool is about $40,000.


Does that mean you have to pay $40,000? No, since that number will vary depending on where you live and how big of a pool you’re looking to build. But you should do research and get multiple quotes before you sign any binding paperwork. If friends and coworkers have a pool, ask them how much they paid for it. A pool can be a great investment, but not if you don’t know what you’re really getting into financially.


What other expenses might pop up?

This is a tricky question to answer because there are some things we can’t prepare for, and it’s okay if these interfere with renovating. No one makes an annual budget with entries like “broken leg in October” or “bad case of the flu in February.” But some things are foreseeable, like paying for a child’s college education. If your kid is sixteen and you know they want to pursue an Associate Degree in Nursing in a couple years, then you need to start planning for that. And that might take priority over home renovations when you’re making your budget. If the choice is between adding a new bedroom or getting your kid out of college debt-free, then it usually makes sense to choose the latter option. In that case, it’s better to wait on the kitchen tiles or the new pool.