I end up talking about Chip and Joanna Gaines from the HGTV program Fixer Upper ALL OF THE TIME.  Often, when folks come to open houses here at PebbleCreek, in their minds eye they are removing walls, changing flooring and installing some shiplap – just like Chip and Joanna do on TV.   HGTV – and perhaps most especially for the moment, Chip and Joanna – have had a huge impact on home design and have helped train our collective imagination about what is possible with home improvement.

Ed Robson and his company started construction of the Active Adult Community of PebbleCreek in the early 1990s so it is not suprising that some of those older homes could benefit from some updating.  When they are listed, the older homes are often advertised at attractive prices and many buyers start getting excited.  And it is true…  many homes in the first sections of the development are being completely updated.  Most interior walls in Robson constructed homes can, in fact, be removed to create more “open floor plans”; homes are getting modern flooring, high-end appliances and new lighting.  Outdoor living spaces are being completely reimagined.

For some PebbleCreek residents, doing home updates is fun – a hobby – and they look forward to the process.  And there is no doubt that the time before a new home owner moves in with furniture and boxes is a GREAT time to do significant updating.

But I tend to have caution in my voice whenever folks start to dream about how, with just a wall removed here and a new paint color there, the house will be PERFECT.  Here are some things to think about before tackling a comprehensive home remodel.

  1.  I just went to Waco, Texas to visit Chip and Joanna Gaines’ restaurant and shop (Magnolia Table and the Silos).  And if there is one thing I can say for sure, it is that they have staff.  A LOT of staff.  Keep in mind that a signicant renovation is going to require a lot of tradespeople.
  2. Money and redesign projects have an uncertain relationship.  You may encounter suprises as you remove walls or exchange flooring – so budgets need to be flexible and conservatively planned!
  3. Maybe the budget will only allow a section of the house to be worked on at a time – leaving the incomplete sense of a stunning kitchen and dated bathrooms for a year or more…
  4. The larger the square footage of the house, the more expensive the project will likely be.  Changing flooring in a 1600 sq.ft. home is going to be much more affordable than doing the same over 2,800 sq. ft.   The same principle applies to counter surfaces, can lighting… etc.
  5. PebbleCreek is in a Home Owners Association, so exterior changes and landscaping updates need the approval of the HOA.
  6. If you don’t have a designer’s eye, you may need to hire design help in addition to contractors.
  7. Chip and Joanna only work in Waco.

Sometimes the savings that seems to be inherent in taking on a fixer upper is completely obliterated by construction and design costs – so much so that the buyer might have been ahead to purchase a more expensive home with the updates already in place.  But, no one would choose the same updates that you would – and often the lot is more important than the house itself.  So there is the rub…  sometimes, with some imagination and some money, an okay home on a fabulous lot can become a dream home that perfectly matches your own personal style…  I have definitely seen it happen!