Home Renovations – Buying to Renovate? Why to House-Hunt With Your Contractor

Couple house-hunting with their contractor and discussing home renovations.

Why buy a home to renovate if you can’t complete the home renovations?

For many people, the idea of a “dream house” includes home renovations. Why not make changes to the house to make it even more perfect for you? Maybe you fall in love with a home but you’d love it more with a few less walls in the family room. Or maybe you’ve always dreamed of a specific kitchen that you plan to build into any home you buy. Maybe that basement could be finished into the perfect suite for your teenager.

Customizing your home is one of the best parts of being a homeowner. So if you’re buying a home with plans to renovate, naturally you want to make sure that the home is renovation-ready. This isn’t just a question of the right floorplan. You need to know if the walls are solid, if the support walls can handle your renovation plans, and if there’s any lurking damage that might cause a problem.

While most people can’t tell if a home’s “bones are good” at a glance,  a contractor can. People who build homes and complete home renovations know how to tell which homes are sturdy, which renovations will work for each home, and what you can get permits for.

Buying a House with Home Renovations in Mind

Are you dreaming of the perfect house to renovate? Many homeowners know from the start that the perfect house for classic charm, modern amenities, and your personal taste will be built, not bought premade off the market. You might want features unusual in your region or unique to your personal tastes or nostalgia. Many homeowners today are buying older homes and modifying their cramped floorplans into more spacious interior designs while leaving the exterior historical charm. You may want to add an extension into the spacious backyard. You may also want to build a central fireplace where there wasn’t one before. 

When building to renovate, you’re not just buying for the home’s current qualities. You are also planning for the home renovations immediately to follow. This means you’re buying for the home’s ability to be renovated as well, which is why to bring your contractor along for home tours and inspections.

What a Contractor Can Tell You About Buying to Renovate

What can your contractor tell you that a general home inspection won’t? It’s standard practice to have a home inspected for things like a collapsing roof or leaking pipes. However, a contractor can assess your home for future construction projects, not just how well the house is holding up right now.

If the Home Can Support Renovations

Not all homes can undergo renovations. Some are too small, some are too unstable, some have an unusual or specific placement of support walls. There are many homes that are too old, water-damaged, or pest-damaged to safely renovate. In fact, there are homes that might unleash more problems when you start renovating than you want to deal with. Contractors will take a detailed look at each house you consider buying. They will tell you if taking down the walls and building new ones, constructing a deck, or rebuilding the kitchen are possible options.

If Your Envisioned Home Renovations are Possible

No doubt, each house you walk through inspires unique home renovations you want to do. Your contractor can tell you if these upgrades are possible. For example, you may want to take out a wall that is a support wall, or you might want to create more space than the structure can support without columns. Your contractor can tell you what is possible, impossible, and how to adapt your plans based on the bones of each house.

Contractors discussing home renovations using blueprints and a laptop computer.

What You Can Get Building Permits For

Home renovations need approval for building permits, then approved as safe when complete. This means some upgrade plans may not actually be approvable based on local laws, zoning, or specific safety limitations. Your contractor can help save you from buying a house that cannot legally be renovated in the ways you want. A contractor can also point you toward homes where your vision is more possible.

Whether to Expect Surprises Between the Walls

Opening the walls can lead to not-so-nice surprises. Pests, mold, and rotted insulation are all a possibility. Sometimes ancient DIY wiring and plumbing are found. These will need fixing before your home is “up to code” again officially. Your contractor can help prepare you for what you’ll find between the walls and steer you away from homes that are likely infested or dangerously moldy.

How to Find Your Dream Home for Renovation

So how can you work with your contractor to choose the house you’ll be renovating together? It starts before your first house-hunting tour by helping your contractor know exactly what you’re looking for.

Partner with a Contractor for Your House-Hunt

If you don’t already have a contractor, it’s time to start your search. Your contractor will be your partner in building the home you buy into your dream home, so they should also play a role in home-buying. Your contractor can tell you not just which properties are best to renovate, but what their team can personally deliver and what they do best. 

Outline Your Dream House and Dream Upgrades

Sit down with your contractor and help them understand the scope of what you’re looking for. Your plan might look like a checklist of features, or like the ideal ‘flow’ created by the floorplan. You may need a two-suite home or dream of the perfect indoor-outdoor family space. Your plans might be a look, easy to show in pictures and examples, or a feel from memories and movies you’ve seen.

From person to person, you can convey your plans, the homes you’re looking for, and the changes you want to make. Your contractor will help you narrow those ideas down into real criteria, plans, and checklists you can apply to every beautiful home on the market.

Check Each Home Together for Your Priorities

Buying a home today happens fast. You don’t have months to consider and compare floorplans. Fortunately, all that preliminary work pays off when you and your contractor tour fresh homes on the market together. Quickly talk about the features you see, the features you want, and what your contractor determines to be possible.

When you find the perfect home, you can confirm that your renovation plans are possible right away. Then start the ball moving on your dream house process.

Are you buying a home with plans to renovate? Work closely with your contractor to find the perfect home both in presentation and structure to become your dream home. Contact us today to consult with contractors who understand your needs as a modern renovation-ready homebuyer.

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