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Home Renovations and Improvements: What Do You Really Want to Do?
By Gil Strachan

PLANNING is the first step toward successful renovation.  You’re probably planning improvements all the time, and just don't realize it.  For example, if you feel you don't have enough kitchen cabinets, or enough counter space, you've already started planning a kitchen renovation. 

IF YOU AREN'T HAPPY with the arrangement of a room, or the number of rooms, you've begun a major improvement plan. Once you start visualizing things the way you'd really like them, you've started planning improvements. 

You've likely had some improvement projects in mind for a while - if only you knew how and where to start, and how much these ideas would cost.  A good way to start is to inspect and evaluate the house like you've probably never done before - go over the house as if you were tomorrow's prospective buyer.  

AWKWARD FLOOR PLAN?  Does everyone trample the hall carpet on their way in and out of the house?  Do you have to walk through the living room get to the basement? 

WASTED SPACE?  Can you gain an extra room in the basement or attic?   Would the veranda look nicer closed in?  Could you turn the garage into a play room or a workshop?

MINOR ANNOYANCES?  Do doors open the wrong way?  Are you missing plug-ins where you need them?  Enough storage space?  Having trouble heating some areas in cold weather? 

YUCKY DECORATING?  Does every room look as good as it could?  Any rooms need paint, paper or a new floor covering?  More or less lighting? 

REPAIRS NEEDED?  Broken shingles, cracked mortar, leaky plumbing?  Walls and ceilings cracked?  Electrical wiring in good shape?  Are you getting the best possible performance from your heating system? 

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST? 

By the time you finish your inspection, you will have an overall improvement plan.  It will probably be too extensive, and far too expensive to accomplish all at once.  Decide what you expect the finished work to accomplish, and how you want it to look.  Prioritize all your project ideas. 

ARMED WITH THIS INFORMATION, you can intelligently approach a contractor to discuss the project, or you can start planning to do all or some of the work yourself. 

Copyright Gil Strachan - All rights reserved. 

Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario, Canada since 1994. Visit http://www.allaroundthehouse.com  to learn more about home inspections. 

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