Submitted by: Steve Juzefyk

When renovating a property, it is imperative that all necessary steps are taken to ensure the construction is done within the boundaries of the law, and in a way that will increase, not decrease, the equity of that home or building.

First, consider the value of the property you are renovating. With more stringent rules from banks for refinancing, it is important to have the property professionally appraised to find the amount of equity you have in the property. If you are not planning to refinance, you will still want to speak with an appraiser to be sure your plans will increase the value of the property, and not decrease your equity. A renovation should always increase the value of that building, so that if you one day decide to sell the home or building, you make back the money that was invested into the renovation.


Once you have established the types of renovations you would like to make, it is necessary to take a look at the property boundary lines for your particular city. If you are adding an addition, you’ll want to ask your local zoning board what the laws and the restrictions are for your area. They will need your exact address to help determine the zone you are in. Many towns have multiple zoning laws depending on what the surrounding area and landscape is which may restrict or forbid the type of renovation you are hoping for.

The style of the original building you are renovating also factors into the renovation planning. If you have a Victorian building, you will want to use extreme caution in choosing modern upgrades, as many of them will actually take away from the character of the house and decrease its value. Although some features such as plumbing, electrical, and heating/air conditioning will help to increase your property value, others can decrease your value. This is why speaking with your renovation expert will help you determine which features help or hinder the value of the building, and they can also advise you as to the proper materials to use.

You will also need to carefully consider the main objective of this renovation. Are you upgrading an old house to make it more comfortable and have more aesthetic value, or is the house in need of structural work? If it s possible the buildings safety has been compromised, you may need to hire an inspector to first evaluate the renovation project. There would be no benefit in starting cosmetic work if the structure is in need of repair.

As you walk through the pre-construction planning phase with your contractor, mention any concerns you have before the work starts, as many of the issues can be repaired at the beginning of the renovation which will save you time and money in the long run. At this point, you should also begin adding the costs of the materials needed with the rate of labor, or discussing the option of your contractor supplying all the materials.

If you decide to start your renovation project, you will need to apply for a building permit, or renovation permit; these are usually found at your town or city hall. When applying for any permits, speak to your contractor and state or local code enforcement to find out exactly what steps will need to be taken for the renovations. Some states will require a separate permit for water, electricity etc. So discussing the details with your contractor will allow you to have all permits applied for and received before the work begins. If you are building near wetlands or property lines you may also need a variance from your town or state and you will need these before the work is able to begin.

About the Author: Juzefyk Bros. Construction has been providing superior quality masonry work for over sixty years. Now in its third generation, Juzefyk Brothers continues to offer a wide variety of interior and exterior construction, renovation, restoration, and design.


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