Writings about residential real estate and all things home, by Cynthia Cummins of Kindred SF Homes.
Reading time: 3 minutes
I’m good at instant remodeling. I can walk through a property in San Francisco, and add a second bathroom, redo the kitchen, knock out the wall between the living and dining rooms, and landscape the garden.
All in ten minutes.
Luckily, if a client who’s considering a remodel needs more information than what’s available with a wave of my hand, there are professionals who can provide estimates of what renovations will cost.
But there are less-tangible costs that can’t be neatly quantified or anticipated. Some examples:
You lusted after white walls, raw wood and Carrara marble for months before buying your own fixer. For another year, you obsessed over which white, where to put the wood and how to afford the Carrara. Now everybody wants green walls, bamboo floors and mosaic tiles.
Immeasurable cost: The pain of not being able to re-remodel anytime soon.
While the kitchen was being smoked and reborn to the tune of $300K, your family camped out in the dining room for six months with the old fridge, a countertop microwave and a toaster oven. Now it’s all over and you’re missing the intimacy of cramming everything and everybody into one room. It’s lonely in your new culinary showplace.
Immeasurable cost: Realizing that remodeling doesn’t necessarily bring you closer as a family.
Ah, inertia! That pale-blue-on-dark-blue-on-Williamsburg-blue-on-cobalt-blue bathroom really had to go, and you spent $20,000 on plans (and nearly got a divorce arguing over the shower design.) The Japanese-inspired motif was understated and would have been stunning. But instead of hiring a contractor you let 15 years go by and now it’s time to sell. For staging purposes, you pay $1000 to have the tub and sink re-porcelained in white. It looks pretty darn good.
Immeasurable cost: Kicking yourself for having not mini-remodeled sooner.
The traffic on your busy street has only gotten worse since you moved in 5 years ago. So, that triple-pane glass you installed made a huge difference. You’re definitely sleeping better. But there’s no getting around the fact that thousands of cars driving by on a daily basis throw a lot of soot into the air. That, coupled with the noise, makes opening the window untenable. You may as well have a solid wall there.
Immeasurable cost: Regret that you didn’t spend an extra $50,000 to buy the property one block removed from the “vibrant” street where you now live.
What you thought would take one year morphed into a five-year project. Now your vacation getaway is finished and it’s truly stunning. It has breathtaking views, an infinity pool, a fire pit and a two-bedroom guest cottage. Too bad your daughter’s in high school now and never wants to go there – with you.
Immeasurable cost: The time you spent poring over tile samples for the kitchen, bath, family room and courtyard could have been devoted to playing on Ocean Beach with your 12-year-old. Before she got a smartphone and ceased knowing you exist.
Moral of the story? Watch what you wish for by taking time to dive deeper into what you really want. I’m expert at guiding you through easy exercises to help shape your vision. A cup of tea, an hour, and we’re done.
Photo Credit: R ARCHITECTURE
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