Home renovations are often linked with major milestones or stages in people’s lives.
Many people in their late 40s to 60s go through a range of lifestyle changes that have a big impact on their housing needs and priorities. Their children leave home. They may be at the end of their careers, or retirement begins to loom on the horizon even if they are still fully engaged in work. They may start to give more thought to health issues and have concerns about aging in the future.
The “mature” years are a great time to do renovations. People often have amassed significant equity in their homes, accumulated savings and are otherwise financially secure. They are experienced and knowledgeable homeowners. And they intend to enjoy the next phases of their lives.
Professional renovators say that a renovation for the mature years should be guided by a number of important considerations.
- What are you dreaming about? For many mature homeowners, a renovation is “the chance to finally get what I have always wanted”. True, dreams can sometimes outstrip available budget, but make sure you put your renovation dreams on the table and discuss them with a professional renovator. You may be surprised at what’s possible.
- More down to earth, what is your wish list and the things you would enjoy having in your renovated home? And by contrast, what are the things that drive you crazy about it right now? This is also the time to get rid of the annoyance factors in your home.
- How do you see yourself living in the house over the next 5 to 10 years? And after that? Think about “an ideal week in my life”. Your renovation design should reflect your lifestyle—current and future. For instance, do you like to experiment with recipes in the kitchen? Then plan for a large, well-equipped kitchen with lots of workspace and good lighting. Do you enjoy curling up for hours with a good book? Make sure your living area has a “comfy” area with lots of natural light.
If you intend to remain in your current home well into retirement or for the rest of your life, it’s prudent to plan ahead. Many “aging in place” features are simply common sense and work for anyone, at any age. Your renovator can also explain how to prepare your home for more specific accessibility measures, should they ever be needed in the future.
- What kinds of spaces do you need? Be realistic. Your household may have shrunk, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need much less space. You may wish to discuss with your renovator how to reconfigure or perhaps even add to your space to accommodate grandchildren sleeping over, a home office or an entertainment area. It is a good idea to have a bathroom and an optional bedroom on the main floor level, in case a family member has mobility problems or is bedridden for a while.
- How important is financial payback on resale? If you are concerned about over-investing in your renovation, get an assessment of your home as is, and of its possible value after your planned renovation. That can assist you in determining how much you want to spend. Your renovator can then help you spend your budget wisely. Also, keep in mind that some renovations can save you money by reducing your ongoing operational costs. For instance, replacing an older heating system with a high-efficiency furnace and installing new high-performance windows will reduce your heating bills.
Professional renovators say that “mature” renovations can be the most rewarding projects. Experienced contractors and experienced homeowners working together can create great results, and everyone can enjoy the process of getting there.