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Feature Articles - Housing

 

Remodeling: Is now the right time?

Marsha G. Alexander, Housing and Environmental Design Specialist, University of Missouri Extension

 

Many people are choosing to remodel their current home rather than moving to a new house. There are cost-effective ways to improve a house to meet changing family needs. Many important factors should be considered in the decision to remodel or renovate.
 

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Is the location good? Is the neighborhood changing in a positive way or likely to change? If so, will you be happy with the changes? Is noise and traffic at the present location a problem? Are houses in the neighborhood being converted to rental properties? Are the homes changing ownership rapidly? If you have children, will there be children for your children to play with as homeownership changes occur? Would you prefer to live closer to work, schools or shopping?
     
  • Is your present house worth remodeling? Is your house structurally sound? A qualified housing inspector can help you determine specific problems that may need attention and approximately what it would cost to make any needed repairs.
     
  • How much will the project cost? Develop a list of specific improvements you wish to make and then get several bids from qualified contractors. Kitchen and bathroom remodeling will often yield the highest paybacks for the initial investment when you go to sell your home. Other projects that provide significant payback on your investment include interior and exterior painting, flooring upgrades and replacing windows and doors.

 

Consider zoning restrictions in your area. Be sure to check with the local city/county zoning office to see if the type of work you plan is permitted and whether additional work and expense will be required to meet regulations. There may be restrictions on the distance required to your lot lines in which you are permitted to build or what percentage of the lot may be covered with structures. There may be other issues the zoning office can also bring to your attention.
 

Start with reasonable expectations. Remodeling and renovation of a structure can be very stressful. Often the cost of remodeling may be much more than first anticipated. Careful planning to determine your specific building objectives and comprehensive bids from qualified contractors are essential to a successful project.

 


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Last update: Wednesday, January 18, 2012