Home Renovations & Moving
My wife and I are just finishing up our move. It's the big count down, my wife is due with our first baby any time now.
We finally found a house we liked a couple months ago. It was a house in good condition but needed "a little updating." That "little updating" turned in to quite a project. And it was a big project at a very big time in our lives. The last few weeks have seemed kind of like a blur to me. I've been doing all my normal activities as well as preparing for our baby, doing a good size home renovation project, and moving! So I thought I should take the time to review my experience over the last couple of weeks and see what I have learned. By no means am I an expert but thought maybe this might be helpful to some...
Do Your Homework
This was our first house we have ever owned. We bought a condo when we got married a few years ago. It has been great for us. Everything was finished and updated. We didn't have to really take care of anything since the Condo Association does all that for us. So this house thing is new to us. We purchased a house that is just a little older than I am. And I really don't think they updated it much since then even though the house has changed owners a few times. So we thought we would purchase this home and do a few updates that would take a week or so and then move in with plenty of time before our baby arrived. Well, 3 weeks later and we have only started moving today!
Lesson learned: I should have done MORE homework on how long things really take.
Set A Budget
I'm a big believer in budgeting. And I did create a budget for this house renovation project and moving. However, it seemed to go WAY over budget.
Lesson learned: I should have checked my numbers. I did too much "guessing" on what things would cost. I thought I was on the high side but on some things I was off since I didn't really check my numbers from the right sources ahead of time.
Talk To People With Experience
I would say this is one of the most important things. After you do your own homework and create a budget, sit down with someone with experience who has done these projects many times and make sure you are on the right track.
Lesson learned: Be totally honest and upfront with the person your learning from. In my case, I did talk to some very knowledgeable people but I could have told them my plans better and asked what they thought rather than telling them what I was thinking about doing and what it would cost. It is easy to have unrealistic expections and not want to hear the real truth. Taking the time to really listen to the wisdom of others can save you lots of headache.
Shop For Low Prices
Whether you are hiring workers, movers, or renting trucks or cars be sure to shop for the right prices. It can cost you a lot of money by going with the first people you talk to.
Lesson learned: Ask upfront what things will cost. I did good on checking with different sources but be sure to ask upfront what something will cost or you may be surprised to find out it is much more than you thought.
Don't Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
This is a big one. When you start updating an older house it is hard to know where to stop. It is especially hard when it is still empty and you aren't living there yet. Everytime you fix or update one thing, it highlights other things that still need to be done.
Lesson learned: Decide in advance what you want to do before moving in. And avoid the temptation to try to squeeze in more before you move in. We can always do more later. It is a constant process. It doesn't all have to be done at once.
I hope this review on our experience over the last few weeks is helpful.