February 27, 2021 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Century City Real Estate Report: Home Renovations – Tips On What to Do and What to Avoid

Bess Hochman is a top Westside real estate broker of more than 20 years.
Bess Hochman is a top Westside real estate broker of more than 20 years.

Home renovations can turn out to be incredibly exciting and rewarding when the remodel process is done right.  Whether remodeling your home to suit your individual needs or to improve it before putting it on the market for sale, there are some basic steps you can take to avert a full blown remodeling disaster.

First, make a list of the changes you want to make to correct the problems you have with your home like “bathrooms need updating” or “open up wall for better flow between family room and kitchen.”

Next, do your research to define the scope of work and budget for the entire project. You will need to find reputable architects and contractors. Referrals from trusted sources are a good start. It is a good idea to get more than one bid.   

When hiring a contractor make sure the contractor is licensed for the job by asking for a copy of the contractor’s license. You should ask for a project proposal and make sure you get a detailed estimated breakdown of the costs of the work to be done before you enter into a binding agreement with a contractor.

Also before agreeing to move forward, assess the budget you allocated to achieve your “dream home” as compared to the detailed estimates from contractors you have interviewed. This “Reality Check” should help you to make a decision about the viability of making the improvements you want at the budget you want. 

This is the time to make adjustments to your plan so you don’t find yourself going over budget or having to forego some improvements well after the work has begun.

Remember not all renovation projects add value when it comes time to sell your home. Projects that typically add the most value are kitchen and bathroom remodels as well as the addition of square footage.

Replacing existing windows and adding energy efficient insulation will not always add to resale value, but it does help keep energy costs down.

Before and after kitchen renovation. Photo courtesy of DLN Construction-David Newey.
Before and after kitchen renovation. Photo courtesy of DLN Construction-David Newey.

Major kitchen remodels should take about three months.  White is currently the most popular color for a kitchen with white or light colored cabinets. For kitchen countertops quartz or granite are among the top contenders. 

Adding tile to the backsplash in kitchens is also a popular look. Neutral tiles stand the test of time best with grey or beige grout to camouflage dirt.

Some owners are changing the arrangement of the kitchen for improved flow and optimum convenience. Adding pull out shelves to lower cabinets and creating wide clearances are also desirable upgrades.  Costs not easily recoupable at resale include those for whirlpool bathtubs, sunrooms and expensive landscaping projects.

In-ground swimming pools are worth the investment in Southern California, the deep South and Southwest if you are staying put for the long haul. Otherwise you recoup only about 30 percent – 50 percent of your costs to build and maintain a pool.

Hardwood floors are also a great investment to make for resale.

After your construction remodeling is done, re-doing your décor can also be a good investment. You should invest in pieces that are timeless and durable.

“Mid-Century Modern” has been a major design movement for decades and its popularity is actually higher than ever right now. Teak, leather, glass and brass, all popular materials used in Mid-Century design, are back in fashion. Fabrics with geometric patterns were also popular and are being updated as accents in today’s adapted version of Mid-Century Modern design.

It is important for buyers to understand the potential costs that can be incurred after taking home ownership.  Ideally a buyer should know this “before” closing on a purchase.  For this reason, it is becoming more common during escrow for buyers to hire an experienced contractor to review the home inspection report prepared by the buyer’s inspector.

For example, clients of mine engaged DLN Construction, a licensed General Contractor owned and operated by David Newey with over 20 years of experience.  He is a “remodeling specialist” based on the Westside of Los Angeles.  

As a remodel specialist, David provides an estimating service and remodeling consultation to home buyers at the current fee of $250 to assess the potential costs of the repairs and corrections that are indicated in the Home Inspection Report and to discuss the possible upgrades and remodeling of a residential property that the buyer is in escrow to purchase.

His report and estimates, enabled me to negotiate a substantial reduction in the purchase price offered by my clients for a residential property.  It also enabled my clients to make an intelligent decision about how much remodeling they could afford to do based on the consultation regarding the potential of the property.

If you are thinking about selling, it is a good idea to consult with a local broker as well for input on what alterations and fashion trends make sense in a particular real estate market area before commencing a remodel project.

For a free courtesy consultation, contact Bess Hochman, a top Westside Real Estate Broker for over 20 years. Bess is also distinguished by holding a law degree. This article expresses the opinion of the author. You are advised to consult attorneys and others experts specializing in the issues referenced in this article. Contact Bess by phone at 310.291.4111 or email Bess.CenturyCityNews@yahoo.com.

“Bess is a master negotiator!” says Michael Donaldson, attorney and author of “Negotiating For Dummies.”

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