Have you recently moved into a new house and have a to-do list of things you want to change, add or modify? Maybe you’ve been living in the same home for several years and still haven’t changed that mint green paint color from the previous owner? Don’t worry – you’re not alone!
Sometimes when you move in to a new home the list of what you want to do gets too overwhelming or pricey. Or you start to work on some of the items and then get stuck because you don’t know how to pull it all together. Before you know it you have either made some changes that you love and/or possibly hate, have stopped “seeing” the things that bothered you originally or have completely lost the energy to know where to start. Perhaps life changes happen and instead of focusing on the new furniture you wanted, you need to plan for a new baby room or furnace!
That’s why it’s important to create a “master” plan — a way to conquer all of those wants/needs and the best way to prioritize how best to budget for those interior improvements. By taking a systematic approach your goals can become a reality.
I’m not unlike all of you – we’ve been in our home for seven years and had grand plans for how we were going to shape and customize the home. We then had our two sons and time/life/priorities as we knew changed. Now we’re back on track and focusing on the best approach to making the changes based on what makes sense for us. For your personal plans, here is what I would suggest you consider.
1. Make a list of all the things big and small you know you need or want to do with your home. This includes even the mundane tasks such as replacing a roof or windows to the exciting endeavors like finishing your basement or buying new furniture for your bedroom (who’s still sleeping on their bed they had as a child?)
2. Circle the items that are a must to complete in the immediate future in order to keep the house functioning for you and your family. This is different for everyone – it could be the new room for the baby coming or adding air conditioning so that everyone doesn’t melt this summer.
3. Next, star the things that make you smile or get excited when you think about them. This might be painting a room, wallpapering the powder room, buying new bedding or even gutting the kitchen.
4. Now start looking at the list of things that remain and think about the timing of when they will become important. Some items might just be nice to have while others may evolve into a high priority to keep the home working best for you. For example, refinishing the basement might be quite important in a few years as the kids are old enough and need a place of their own. This allows freedom for them and a place for their stuff out of the main space of the home.
5. Next start to assign preliminary costs to the different items. Don’t get overwhelmed! This may be difficult if you aren’t familiar with costs but don’t question yourself or over think it too much. Just put dollar amounts based on what you think it might cost.
6. You should now be able to rearrange the list into “phases” based on priorities, budgets and timing which will allow you to come up with a master plan. Think about items in terms of months or years or both. Be sure to include some of the items that make you excited early in the plan as well as the things that are a “must” do and revaluate every few months so that you can make adjustments as needed.
7. Finally, it doesn’t hurt to get an “outside eye” on your plan or talk through your thoughts with someone who knows a bit about what things cost as well as how long it takes to complete. Think about friends you have that might be contractors or work in the industry — realtors, architects, designers or even someone who’s taste you admire. Often times they are more than happy to give their advice and often look at things differently since they aren’t living in your home day after day.
As spring has arrived, sit outside and make your list—who knows what exciting changes are in your home’s future. And if you need a second opinion or someone to help you execute on your vision I’m always here to help.