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Maximizing Returns on your home renovation  

Does your home need to be improved?

Here are a few tips to follow to help you have a successful home renovation.

Now more than ever having a home that functions and serves those that live there is more important than ever.  At least for the foreseeable future, we are at home more than ever and not really able to flee to school or work for a change of scene.

When considering and planning out a renovation or addition keep the following in mind:

  • Plan, Plan, Plan: Measure twice / maybe three times and cut once. It is much easier to change plans on paper than in real life.  Move those walls and see what works on paper.  Hire a designer or a contractor who will work with you and let you make ‘unlimited’ changes on paper until you get the plan you feel confident about.  Change orders are expensive and time consuming.  If you have a strong plan, you increase your odds of finishing your project on time and on budget. Feel great about your plan before you start. If you are not sure about the plan, ask your designer or architect if they can do a 3D rendering of the project so you can ‘see’ the design in virtual reality.  This will usually cost you a few hundred dollars but it is a lot less expensive than change orders.
  • Pick an aesthetic and stick with it: Look at your home, unless you are doing a gut rehab do not do a renovation that is vastly different than your current home’s style and aesthetic.  You do not want to have a split personality / schizophrenic home when you go to sell, as that will limit the appeal of the home and odds are negatively affect the home’s value.  If you want to update the design, update lighting, paint and other easily changed finishes and decor.  Keep permanent finishes such as trim, molding and cabinetry similar to what is already in the home.    Light fixtures are very easy to switch out, cabinetry and trim are not.
  • Always work with a skilled builder / tradesperson and pull permits– Pulling permits with your municipality is cheap insurance against shoddy work, which prevents the nightmare of paying someone to fix the job the first guy did wrong. Permits are not a way for the city to ‘rip you off’. City inspectors can force workmen to redo work until it is ‘up to code’.  Without a permit the homeowner has very little leverage over people they hire to work in their home and no real way to force them to do a good job.  Always do things the right way even if it costs you a little extra. Ultimately, you will odds are save money and stress by hiring someone with high standards.    Also know if you do work on your home without a permit, many times when you go to sell the property the buyers will ask to see or go to the city to search for evidence that the work was done under a permit.   Work done without permit could cost you the sale or your home or give the buyers leverage to ask for a reduction in the price of the home.

Home renovations are no different than anything else in life, a great plan and a great team ensures that a job is well done.

Spend more time planning and less time fixing poor decisions.  Consider hiring a designer or project coordinator if you do not have the time, energy, know how to run the job yourself.


Tara Lubin is a realtor that works in the North Shore Suburban areas of Chicago including Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka, Glencoe, Northbrook and beyond.


Call or contact me to if you have any Real Estate questions ~ I look forward to helping you.

Tara Lubin  |  Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty

REALTOR – Global Real Estate Advisor – Chicago & North Shore Suburban Chicago, Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka, IL and beyond
630.707.3473   |    [email protected]   |   [email protected]