Planning Projects

What’s a girl to do when she’s waiting to close on the house?  Plan plan plan projects!  The house we bought is pretty move in ready but we have a long list of projects that we want to tackle – some of them DIYable, others are definitely more contractor friendly.  I’ve been keeping a list on Evernote for the past month and every time Kristen logs in, she says that the list has grown longer and that we’ll never finish all of it before we move to our next home (which will be in at least a few years).

So with this long list of projects ranging from finishing up the basement to changing (almost all!) the light fixtures to demoing walls – how do you decide what projects are worth tackling and what aren’t?  Well, Kristen and I have created a couple of quick litmus test questions to ascertain if a project is going on the “to-do” list or the “well, we may never get to that” list.

  1. Does it add value to the home?  And is this value similar to the amount spent?  Not all projects add value to homes.  Not all projects add the same amount of value you spent.  Since this isn’t going to be our forever home, we are cognizant that if we choose to do something, we do hope to get something back from it.  For example, we do intend to change out the floors because cheap laminate and carpet aren’t going to cut it for us.  Are we getting the best hardwood possible?  No, because this isn’t a neighborhood that will pay back on that.  Are we going the laminate route?  Probably not, unless it looks and feels really good.  We’ve already looked at some floors and will likely land on an engineered hardwood because its cheaper than hardwood but looks and feels better than laminate.  In our neighborhood, if we had to sell our home, I think we would at least get back what we would spend on the floors.
  2. Is this project too specific to our taste?  We all want to make a home “our own” but sometimes making it too specific could detract from your home’s value instead of adding to it.  We love the modern elements but realize that we are living in a more traditional suburb in the midwest so encasing the entire living room in glass isn’t an option.  One of the projects we have on our list is to change out some of the exterior doors (laundry door, front door, and back sliding door).  We’ve looked at some beautifully modern ones but decided that we are going with more traditional ones to maintain the traditional American look of the home.
  3. Are there cheaper ways of achieving the end result?  One of the things we want to do is replace the small half bath door with a sliding door to maximize square footage of a very small bath.  Sure we would love to have a pocket door, but that would mean cutting holes in walls and getting a contractor in.  So we decided on adding a sliding barn door instead.  Same result but way less money.

I’m sure that there are more questions to be asked for each and every project but starting out with some basic questions will help frame your perspective when approaching each project.  Happy DIYing!

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