Sep 05

It’s not what you know; it’s who you know!

Almost every client with whom I work has a preconceived idea of how much things should cost and what rooms in their home should be improved, and the basis for their opinion comes mostly from their peers.  Everyone listens to their friends.

Two interesting things arise from this reliance on friends.  Based on geography and socio economic circumstances, people’s perception of what things should cost vary wildly.  When I talk to friends or clients in an affluent suburb, they believe it’s impossible to do a kitchen renovation for less than $100,000.  When I talk with clients in less affluent neighborhoods, their perceptions for a kitchen renovation range from $10,000 (unrealistically low, but possible) to $50,000 (a nice kitchen, but not fancy enough for my ritzy friends).

Whether you’re renovating or building a new house, here’s my first and most important advice for you.  Spend money on what’s important to you.  Don’t worry about what your friends think is important.  And, in general, don’t worry about ‘investing’ for a future sale.  Your best investment is making your home a better place for you to live. Very few people have unlimited resources, you have to decide where to allocate yours.

Here’s more unsolicited advice from me.  First spend your money on maintenance and fundamental structural issues.  I’ve worked on several homes in the last year in which I was called in to address esthetic issues.  When I looked at the homes, I quickly advised my prospective clients to forget about design and worry about structure.

And one final bit of advice; don’t worry about what your friends tell you.  It’s your house and your money.  I always suggest thinking about the things you’d most like to change and starting with those.  And with starting with spending the least money you can to get the most change.

Coming up in future posts; exactly what you will have to spend for various improvements.

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