By Elizabeth Crawford
Home renovation projects often come with dust, disorder…and stress. When taking a do-it-yourself approach to updating an older home, in addition to preparing for some short-term dirt and disarray, keep in mind the process can become utter chaos.
Whether renovating a home for a future buyer or personal enjoyment, there are many factors to take into consideration. Homeowner Cindy Seaton recently shared her DIY home renovation story along with tips on how to survive a Do-It-Yourself project.
The Seaton family’s mid-century home on Lazy Lane in Bryan was very dark and dated inside, Seaton says. “When you inherit the house, you inherit the good things and the bad things about it.” Seaton, along with the help of her husband and children, began the renovations on the 1950s home for the family’s benefit. When her husband got a new job in Austin during the project, she had to complete the renovations with the new goal of selling in mind.
Seaton says she prefers older homes because they usually have larger lots, interesting history, and they aren’t too close to neighboring houses. When planning the renovations, Seaton says she wanted to keep a mid-century modern vibe, but didn’t want it to look too retro. “We didn’t want our home to be a time capsule from 1955,” she says, adding that she wanted to incorporate clean lines, mid-century colors, and wood floors.
The DIY makeover started with the west wing of the house, which included retiling the master bedroom, bathroom, media room, and all hallways, Seaton says. Next up overhauling the kitchen and Seaton’s daughter’s room. To complete the new look, they also finished several outside projects.
The bathroom took four months to complete and the kitchen took five months, but it seemed a lot longer, Seaton says. When looking for new cabinets and furniture for the bathroom, they chose slim-lined items from Ikea. “We love Ikea; it’s like Legos for adults. They have organization and storage down to an art,” Seaton says.
Not all was fun and games. When Seaton’s husband started his new job midway through the process, he commuted to Austin four to five days a week, she says. The hardest part of the renovations was being forced to wait until the weekends to get work done while everything was torn apart, Seaton says. One day while ripping out 1960s bathroom tile, Seaton’s husband injured his back and the family had to hire a contractor to help finish the job, she says.
When asked for tips on how to survive renovating a home DIY-style, Seaton replies with one major resource: YouTube. “Make sure you plan ahead,” she says. “Plan for it to take 30 to 40 percent extra of the amount of time you think it will take and 20 percent extra of the amount of money you think it will take.”
Cashing In At Resale
From a real estate agent’s point of view, renovating a home for the sole purpose of selling isn’t always a good idea. Mike Beal, owner and broker of Century 21 Beal Real Estate, offers advice on renovating for the sale of your home. The most important thing to pay attention to is curb appeal, says Beal. Everything depends on the price and location of the home, says Beal, adding, “as a general rule, just get it clean and functional,” he says. An inspector will find little maintenance problems that need to be fixed, and maintaining the landscaping and exterior of a home is important, he says.
Otherwise, Beal does not recommend renovating to add value at all because of the broad range of decorating preferences of potential buyers. “One of the worst things you can do is put in a pool and expect that it’ll add value,” Beal says. “You really want it to be clean and neat and functionally correct.”
Although her home renovations did not initially happen for the purpose of selling, Seaton says she believes the updated cabinetry and new aesthetics will add value to her home. When planning home renovations, it’s important to take into consideration fluctuating costs and the purpose behind the remodeling. When asked why she chose a DIY approach Seaton says, “It feels really great being able to say you did it yourself.”