BOULDER COUNTY – A number of Boulder County’s most desirable locations to live in are areas with older homes. We have everything here: bungalows from the 1930s and 1940s, ranch homes from the 1950s, post-modern homes from the 1960s and 1970s, and tract homes from the 1980s. Many of these have been remodeled at some point, but often long ago or simply done badly. Thus it is not unusual for a homebuyer to find a house in a good location that is in need of remodeling. With grandiose visions inspired by Pinterest, it’s easy to get excited about remodeling. Plus, it’s a great way to improve the value of one’s property. But there are a number of things to consider before taking the remodeling plunge. Do you have the mentality for it? Consider these factors:
Remodeling always creates a certain amount of constant chaos in one’s life. Workers coming and going, materials being hauled in, continuous noise from tools and laborers and, what people complain most bitterly about, construction dust which
Rarely does one hear about a remodel project that comes in at or under budget. Even when you get a fixed bid from a contractor, unknown issues with associated expenses usually pop up that have to be added on, usually problems found behind walls or under floors.
Along with added expenses of dealing with unknown issues comes the additional time to address them. Even if your contractor sticks to the original project timeline, subcontractors like electricians and plumbers can throw things off. Most subs in Boulder County are extremely busy and emergency situations come up for them that can push your work back.
If you decide today you want to remodel and have a contractor picked out, you may have to wait up to a year for said contractor to become available. We have a basic supply and demand problem here that hasn’t evened out since the last recession. The same applies to subcontractors who naturally gravitate toward larger projects.
What you want to do to a home and what you can do may be vastly different due to Boulder city and county building codes.The county, surprisingly, has more stringent codes than the city. Solar shadow regulations and setbacks are common issues that stymie remodelers. Homes in flood plains have additional regulations. Historic districts are a whole other can of worms.
If you’re considering buying a home to remodel, it’s best to consult a local contractor to see what you can and cannot do before you purchase.
No article about remodeling would be complete without mentioning stress. Remodeling by nature is a demanding process that tests the best relationships and the patience of all involved. There are hundreds of decisions that need to be made in a short amount of time by you, and if applicable, your partner. The good news is that after most homeowners have completed their remodel, they forget all about the stress and just think about how much they enjoy their updated home – that is, unless they’re now divorced.
By Karen Libin, KL Realty. Karen is the owner and managing broker of KL Realty, and has more than 29 years of experience in the Boulder County real estate market. Contact Karen at KL Realty, call 303.444.3177, e-mail [email protected] or visit klrealty.net.