All About Renovations

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The right home renovation can change the make-up of your home and breathe new life into an old or outdated home.  One thing that you may not know is that a home renovation also helps increase the overall value of your home and can be a real selling feature if you have been thinking about selling your home.

Regardless of whether you are looking to list your home or not, a well thought out and executed home renovation can never go astray.  As your premier real estate agent for homes for sale in Brea, here is an overview of two of the most common home renovations – kitchen and bathroom and how to select the right contractor for the job.

Finding the Right Contractor

So, you have a renovation in mind.  Before getting started, it is imperative that you find the right contractor for the job.  The difference between the right contractor and the wrong one ranges from cost overruns, unfinished jobs, or just sloppy work with cut corners.  When selecting your contractor, take your time and do your due diligence.  You will thank yourself later.  Here are some tips to help you find the right contractor for your home renovation.

Make a List

Once you have an overall plan and budget that you are comfortable with, it is always a good idea to call around to 10-15 local contractors to see who is available and have the right expertise for the job.  You will then be able to narrow it down to a few contractors that stand out or can fit you into theirs and yours desired timeframe and schedule.  There are several ways to shorten your list or even compile a thorough list.  These include:

  • Ask family, friends, and coworkers for contractors they have used in the past. Word of mouth is sometimes the best way to find the right person for the job.
  • Look online and do some background research to search out local contractors who will fit your renovation.
  • Make cold calls for local contractors.

Ask for a Portfolio

Once you have narrowed down your search, be sure to meet each one personally to see if they are the right person for the job.  When meeting them, ask for a portfolio so that you can see other jobs that the contractor has done.  A good portfolio should have at least 10 separate jobs or completed projects in it.  Things to watch for when looking at a contractor’s portfolio include:

  • Grainy or unfocused photos that do not show much detail.
  • Few jobs or completed projects.
  • Sloppy work or unfinished projects.

If you feel that any contractor’s portfolio on your list doesn’t meet your standards, don’t be afraid to cross them off and move on to the next one.

While you are viewing each portfolio be sure to ask about licensing, insurance, and certification.  You will want to ensure that the contractor can get your renovation done effectively, efficiently, and safely and meet all legal requirements.

Get Quotes

The final step is to get a quote from each of the contractors that have made your short list.  A contractor should be able to present you with a brief proposal of your renovation as well as an estimated cost of the project.  Be sure to ask for an overall timeline as well because the last thing that you want is to be living in an unfinished kitchen for months.

Here’s the Deal:

You may not want to go with the lowest bid as the type of material used can drastically affect the final project.  Keep in mind, you will get what you pay for.

The Right Renovation for your HomeBrea Realtor Darryl Jones home staging example 5

Now that you have chosen your contractor, the next step is to look at what the most common renovations are for a home.  By far, the two most popular home renovations are the kitchen and bathroom renovation.  Not only will both renovations breathe new life into your home, they will also increase your homes value and resale value if you are thinking about selling.

Kitchen Renovations

Kitchen renovations can range from replacing sinks, and cabinets to entire overhauls that open the space and replace appliances, cabinets, cupboards and even the flooring in some cases.  Really, in a kitchen renovation the sky is the limit.  Certain points that you may want to consider when choosing just how renovated you want your kitchen to be include:

  • Do you want your kitchen to be the focal point of your home? In many cases, the answer to this question is yes.  If this is the case, when choosing a renovation be sure to include enough room for everyone.  A central island and room for a table and chairs needs to be included in the overall project.
  • The newest appliances all offer a wide range of technology.  Is it worth having features such as moisture control or a smart fridge, self-cleaning ovens, and economic and quiet running dishwashers?  If the answer is yes, make sure to include new appliances in your kitchen renovation.
  • Sometimes the overall renovation forgets essentials such as storage space. That new set of cabinets may look great, but will you have enough space to store everything in your new kitchen?  Make sure to look for new and innovative ways to store and contain all the extras.

With these renovation points in mind, some mistakes or renovation pitfalls that you will want to avoid when remodeling your kitchen include:

  • Setting an unrealistic budget. You need to be realistic about the true cost of your renovation and you do not want the contractor to cut corners to deliver the final project.  Full kitchen renovations can easily cost upwards of $ 30 000 with a large portion of that cost tied up in materials.  Keep this in mind when setting the original budget.
  • Lacking the extra funds – even the most planned and well executed kitchen renovation can run into cost overruns. Problems usually arise in the demolition stage as things can get damaged or broken that will need to be replaced.  To be on the safe side, you may want to think about adding 25% to your original budget.
  • Choosing to do some of the renovations yourself or finishing them off is never a good idea.  Chances are you lack the knowledge and expertise to reroute plumbing, tackle electrical or even finish the drywall.  It is best to leave the entire kitchen renovation to your contractor.

Bathroom Renovations

The second most common home renovation is a bathroom renovation.  Although an entire bathroom remodeling can run upwards of $ 35 000 there are some far smaller renovations that can not only change the layout and look of your bathroom, they will also increase your home’s overall value.  The three most popular bathroom renovations include:


Replacing or upgrading the vanity is guaranteed to change the entire outlook of your bathroom.  Usually when updating the vanity, you will be replacing your:

  • Sink and faucet.
  • All countertops.
  • Cupboards and drawers.

Most home buyers are looking for vanities that have granite countertops and are built at a comfortable and functional height.  Talk to your contractor and get a full layout of your new vanity including the cost of countertops and other materials before making any final decisions.


Replacing the flooring is probably the fastest and easiest way to totally transform your bathroom.  There are many great patterns and materials that are available to choose from.  Porcelain, ceramic and even vinyl are all great options for materials.  Be sure that the flooring that you choose is waterproof or at least water resistant.

Tub and Shower

Depending on what bathroom you are choosing to renovate will determine if you want to keep both a bath and shower or just go with a shower.  In many master bedroom bathrooms, the current trend is to remove the bath and install a larger, walk in shower.  It is always a good idea to keep a bathtub in at least one of your home’s bathrooms but more than one may be unnecessary.  Again, talk with your contractor to see what your options are and then proceed from there.


The common mistakes or pitfalls that you will want to avoid when undertaking a bathroom renovation are for the most part very similar to what you will encounter in a kitchen renovation.  Again, a budget and overspending are probably your two biggest concerns but some other mistakes to avoid include:

  • Using the wrong materials. Make sure that the contractor you choose uses proper materials that are waterproof and water resistant and that everything is properly sealed.
  • Poor drainage. Any wet area on the floor requires the proper slope to allow water to drain and not pool.
  • Installing the proper lighting. No bathroom renovation is going to look complete without the proper and adequate lighting.

Renovations and Resale Value

Both a kitchen and bathroom renovation greatly increase the value of your home as well as your home’s appeal.  Believe it or not, a bathroom renovation can add 2-3% more value to your home and makes it far more attractive to potential buyers.

A kitchen renovation may be the most drastic home renovation and will increase the value of your home.  The agreed ROI (return on investment) is just over half.  So, if for instance, you spend $ 35 000 on a kitchen renovation, you should be able to see an increase of $ 20 000 in your home’s value.  Regardless of the return on investment, a renovated, modern kitchen is definitely a head turner when it comes to attracting potential buyers and it will also add a layer of convenience and livability to your home whether you are selling it or not.

A home renovation is never a bad idea.  It will add life to your home and will add value to your home.  If you have any questions about home renovations or are interested in listing your home on Brea’s real estate market, please give me a call.  I would love to be a part of your sales team and help you turn that for sale sign into a sold one today.  I look forward to working with you soon.


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