4 Things to Learn from Someone Else’s Renovation in Philadelphia

We learn from experience. Sometimes that means learning the hard way, but other times, we may be lucky enough to reap the benefits of someone else’s experience. This is one of those times.

We’ve asked a few recent RenoFi clients in your community to share a few lessons they learned from their recent renovation projects. After completing projects like a beautiful 700 sq. ft. addition complete with a new kitchen, great room, mudroom and powder room to a full 3rd floor Master Suite transformation and new outdoor living space, here are 4 helpful tips based on their lessons learned:

1. Borrow enough to give yourself a buffer

Like many homeowners, when it came time to make kitchen selections, Kyle and Cicley of Moorestown NJ, chose tiles and countertops that were more expensive than their original allowance. Then on top of this, they unexpectedly had to replace their HVAC. Since these changes put them over budget, they had to supplement their RenoFi loan with personal savings to make up for these extra costs. As they reflect back on the project, budget and loan request, they wish they had borrowed slightly more to cover these unforeseen expenses.

When it comes to tearing down walls and reworking pipes or mechanicals, it’s not uncommon to have some surprises along the way. Make sure you’re borrowing enough money to anticipate costs you didn’t plan for to prevent having to compromise elsewhere.

2. Establish clear communication with your contractor

Communication with your contractor is crucial. For Katie and Ken in Ardmore PA, they admit they were kicking themselves for not getting exact costs for extra electrical work and heated flooring they added to their project as it progressed. Having a more clear picture of their final costs may have swayed a few other purchasing decisions they made along the way.

They also went into the project with a slightly different perspective than their contractor. While his budget was reflecting solely the new addition being done, Katie and Ken assumed it incorporated updates to their existing space as well. So when all was said and done, there were discrepancies in the total costs. Their advice is when you start speaking to your contractor, be very clear about your expectations, and the work being completed versus the work being budgeted. Don’t be afraid to speak up if something isn’t as you expected. Without open, regular communication with your contractor about the progress, punch list items, etc., you’ll only end up frustrated.

3. Expect the unexpected

This can mean a lot of things for a renovation, but in Kyle and Cicley’s case, it was the heavy rainfall around the project start date that affected the entire timeline. The rains delayed their contractor’s ability to lay the foundation of their addition, therefore extending the project past the original completion date. Knowing from the start that everything may not go as planned will help you set more realistic expectations and minimize frustration throughout your project.

And a tip for helping everything stay on track: Katie and Ken say to make sure your decisions aren’t adding to the delay. Whether it’s choosing the cabinets for the kitchen or buying a vanity for the bathroom, make those decisions early on and anticipate the added time for custom orders and delivery, so your contractor isn’t waiting on you.

4. Don’t go through the loan process alone

No matter what their project entailed, one thing almost all our homeowners had in common was not knowing where to start when it came to financing.

For Katie and Ken, that meant 9 months of blindly filtering through endless loan options before they had the help of RenoFi. With a first mortgage of less than 4%, it was crucial they find a loan that didn’t require them to refinance. And RenoFi’s system made finding the right solution for their specific goals a lot less painless.

When DJ and Vanessa of Villanova PA met RenoFi, they were just about to close on a traditional loan, having accepted they had no other choice than to refinance. They felt at the mercy of so many different banks while trying to hunt on their own, while RenoFi was the one all encompassing resource they needed to find the right loan - and also save $119K in future interest payments.

As you start to plan your home renovations, know that we’re here to help.

You can never be too prepared! Hear from other RenoFi homeowners who recently completed their renovation projects, so you can make the whole process a lot less daunting and better plan for the unexpected along the way.

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