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9 Things to Do Before Renovating a Condo

While the thought of renovating your newly acquired condo can be exciting, there are a few things you should think about before you start taking a sledgehammer to the walls!

1. Notify the HOA

It’s usually best to let the HOA know if you’re going to do any major renovations in your property. Some HOAs require notification before any remodeling, but even if they don’t, letting them know is a great way to make sure you don’t have unhappy neighbors or notices. The HOA might also have some requirements or mandated processes for some of the construction so it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

 2. Do Your Research

 Make sure that you’ve looked into what’s popular in the area, like what the neighborhood prices and upgrades are, and what other units in your community are like. The best way to see what other local owners are doing is to go to open-houses as well as make friends with your neighbors and see what they’ve done to their condos. It’s also never a bad idea to talk with your real estate agent about how to balance value and investment to make sure you’re not under- or over-improving your unit.

3. Talk to Your Neighbors

First and foremost, notifying your neighbors that construction is going to go on next door is courteous but there’s a chance that at least a few of the units have undergone some renovations at some point which can be incredibly helpful. Talking to your neighbors lets you take advantage of their knowledge of some of the possible quirks and construction of the building. They might know about how the wiring was done or where the pipes are or any other number of useful tips that could save you time, money and stress. 

4. Make a Complete Plan – Paint Colors, Finishes, etc.

This tip works for any remodel project but it’s especially important for condos. With smaller spaces and open floor plans, specific details and finishes are particularly important. Making a plan before starting the renovation will help ensure that all of the finishes are cohesive and work well together as well as help you stay on budget.

5. Decide DIY vs. Professional Work

After watching HGTV for a few hours, it may seem like most projects can be done with a little elbow grease. But before you declare that you’re going to do all the work yourself, check online for step by step instructions to see what you’d really be committing to. Some tasks are easy but also time consuming and very messy (we’re looking at you, popcorn ceiling) so it’s important to weigh the value of your time vs hiring a contractor. 

6. Get 3 (Or More) Contractor Quotes

Even if you have a great referral from someone you trust, it’s important that you get at least three quotes for any work done by contractors. Getting multiple quotes will give you a good idea of reasonable price, work scope, and timeline. You can also use the other bids to negotiate with the contractor that you prefer to use in case they quoted a higher price. 

7. Continuous Flooring in Open Areas

This tip might not be one that many people have heard of before but it can make such a huge difference. Keeping the flooring the same in the open areas allows for better flow and makes the space feel larger and more connected. 

8. Plan for Budget and Timeline Overages

Almost anyone you’ll talk to about their renovation will say that they went over on schedule and budget, so many experts recommend that you budget an additional 30% over what you planned on both time and money. Planning for the overages will help you have realistic expectations as well as ensure that you’ll be able to finish the project. 

9. Read our Condo Decorating Tips

We’ve come up with 7 great tips specifically compiled for decorating condos. Check them out before you start decorating!