The repeat renovators from Curbly recently spoke with us about what they’ve learned when it comes to deciding what to keep and what to demo during a remodel. Get the full story behind their latest project – The Curbly House 2017 – on their blog. And read below to see their go-to tips for renovation decisions.
Keep the Character
Most homes – particularly older ones – have some quirks. Things that make them different, special, and endearing. If you’re renovating a home to sell it, your first instinct might be to eliminate those quirks. After all, this is all about broad appeal, isn’t it? Not so fast says Alicia Lacy from Curbly: “When people flip a house, they come in and want to tear everything down and rebuild so that every wall is smooth and every door is straight, but the risk in doing that is that you really do eliminate a lot of the character.”
Instead, make renovation decisions that will maintain the intrinsic character of the house and work to design and plan around those elements. Things like built-in storage, slanted roof lines, and nooks will add to a home’s charm and marketability, helping it stand out in a homogeneous market.
As long as they’re not affecting the safety or functionality of a home, these are the details potential owners will fall in love with. Alicia frames it this way: Think of the story of your flip home. Who will live in it, how will they use it, and what will they appreciate? That line of thinking will also help you decide what has to go.
Demo What Hinders Your Home’s Story
As you think about who might live in the home, ask yourself how they’ll use it. Really get into the details. For example, in the Curbly renovation, the path from the road to the front door is long and uphill.
Climbing that path will be a hassle for a family with kids or anyone hauling groceries in from the car. With these scenarios in mind, the Curbly team opted to improve access to the house from the alley. They added a parking pad and moved the rear door for a better entry.
Similarly, they knew the jungle of a yard would have to be tamed for a family to enjoy it, and the small kitchen needed to be gutted to make it the fresh and functional center of the home. Don’t get discouraged if you find some cons in your house. After all, improvements are how you add value.
Light fixtures are another thing to consider. Taking down outdated fixtures is an easy way to improve a home. Replace them with styles that fit the overall design of the house. While you’re updating light fixtures, also take the time to replace switchplates. This small change can make a big difference.
Final Thoughts: Get the Basics Right
While you’re thinking about what to keep and what to demo in your remodel, always keep the essentials of the house in mind. Curbly’s Bruno Bornsztein notes, “People just want to know that the guts of a house are sound.” Plumbing, HVAC, and electrical all have to be up to code, of course, so be sure to evaluate them when you’re deciding how to proceed. Bornsztein also notes to clean up any red flags, such as water damage or mold.
In the end, the key is to always keep your potential buyers in mind. Real people are going to own and love the home. When you consider their needs, you’ll set your flip up for success.
See all the before and after pics in our blog post, and shop the rooms via our Idea Boards: