Before & After: a RenoFi-powered renovation in the city of Philadelphia
From equity-light to airy and bright: how these new homeowners transformed their home before the stay-at-home order.Oct 27, 2020 • Kira Barrett
- Location: Fairmount, PA
- Built in 2003
- Roughly 2,000 sq. ft.
- 3 beds, 2.5 baths
- Remodeled kitchen
- Remodeled master bathroom
- Added an additional guest bathroom
- Custom / enlarged french patio doors
- Remodeled second floor guest bathroom
When Kelly and Jeff found RenoFi, they were almost ready to give up on completing their entire renovation wishlist all at once. They had moved into their Philadelphia townhome in 2017, with the intention to renovate in the next few years.
In 2019, they had a good sense of what changes they wanted to make. So, they decided to start making their house feel like home. But they realized that the cost was much more than they expected.
It was time to look into financing options. Kelly and Jeff first decided to refinance their original mortgage, and were introduced to RenoFi through their loan officer. At that time, they were primarily looking at home equity loans, but since they had recently purchased their home, they were equity-light.
Kelly didn’t want to split up their renovation into multiple stages, saving up for each step of the renovation. They wanted to renovate each part at the same time, to give their home a cohesive look and feel.
“The RenoFi team understood, better than anyone else that we talked to, that the value of the home would increase far more after the renovation if we could do all that work together, at the same time,” Kelly said. “RenoFi was the only solution we found.”
They decided to refinance their first mortgage, and take out a RenoFi Boost Loan.
Before deciding on a renovation plan, they asked themselves: “What were the pain points? What were the aspects we loved and wanted to elevate? And everything in between.”
They knew they loved their garage - a coveted feature in a city home. But they didn’t love that their kitchen was on the first floor and their living room was on the second floor. They wanted to make their kitchen brighter and roomier by connecting it to their outdoor patio and fire pit area, another area of their home that they wanted to highlight.
“I hated the old kitchen. It wasn’t our style aesthetically. It felt piecemeal, and there was no natural layout,” said Kelly. “When we were downstairs in the kitchen before, the colors and the wood were dark and heavy. Coupled with significantly less light, it made it a place that felt dark and disconnected."
A RenoFi Loan solved Kelly and Jeff’s renovation problem at just the right time: before the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic did delay the their renovation, they still felt lucky to be able to live in their beautiful new home for most of 2020.
“It makes such a difference to be in a space we truly love and think is beautiful,” said Kelly. “It is nice to have that outdoor element really celebrated. Outdoor space is a premium in the city, we feel lucky to have that and accentuate it.”
“From a self-care perspective, that is the biggest relief: being back in our home, coming into winter, where people are going to be spending more time indoors, knowing we have a beautiful product that we can enjoy.”
Kelly has some advice for homeowners renovating during this never-ending pandemic, which also applies to renovations in general. Roll with the punches as they come, she says. And, have a contractor you trust.
Lastly, be patient. “There could be a week, or two weeks, where they are doing behind-the-walls work,” said Kelly. “For a layperson, progress can seem really slow. Another week, it feels entirely transformative - like tiling work, or sheetrock, or floors. Just be patient with the work that you know has to get done, and appreciate the weeks where you see progress.”
“We are really happy with the home. We recognize that RenoFi made it possible. We are really grateful for the partnership, and that’s worth underscoring.”