Renovating your condo is an exciting project but it’s best not to dive into it head-first to avoid unpleasant surprises. With a little bit of planning in advance, you can make your condo renovation project less stressful and a lot more fun.
Here are useful tips to consider before getting started:
Know the rules
Before making any ambitious plans, reach out to your building manager and they will be able to help you access any relevant forms or materials you may need and help you become familiar with all the rules and restrictions that are in place in your building.
If your condo is in an older and more established building, there will likely be some guidelines in regards to what can and cannot be done for renovations, including what days and times renovations can take place, when materials may be brought into the building, what materials can and cannot be used, which elevator can be used and when, and so on.
Becoming familiar with these rules in advance can save you a lot of headache and can help you create a realistic timeline. Note that newly-constructed places may not have detailed rules in place.
Find a contractor who is experienced in working in condos
Renovating a condo vs. a family home are totally different jobs for contractors. With a condo, things like coordinating elevator bookings, finding parking, and booking loading zones all have to be considered.
These restrictions may make it a little harder to work in the building as opposed to working on a house. Always make sure in advance that your contractor is comfortable and familiar with working in a condo.
Understand your limits
Beware of exclusive-use common elements like windows, balconies, and front doors. Note that bathroom fixtures usually cannot be moved significant distances — at least not without a major expense — so you may not be able to move your toilet. Water lines are easier to move than drains, so you may be able to play around with the sink.
Also, most condos have a concrete ceiling, which makes drilling in pot lights difficult. Electrical and plumbing obstacles will be present and while there are always ways to work around them, always make sure you properly talk your plans through with your contractor and understand your limits and expenses before you get your heart set on specific ideas.
Maximize your Investment
If you’re planning on selling your condo at some point in the future, you may want to think about maximizing your return on investment.
Go for that cleverly-designed kitchen and bathroom and consider creating as many storage places as you can. If everything can be neatly tucked away out of sight, your place will look and feel more spacious, tidy, and homely in the eyes of potential buyers in the future.
Naturally, you’ll dream up your perfect condo in your head in advance and you’ll find that you have specific ideas about things that you definitely want to have. However, if you’re willing to make a few trade-offs, you may realize that some of your priorities aren’t must-haves at all and you may start preferring other solutions you may not have thought of yourself.
Also, be ready for things like delays and small issues. Build hypothetical delays into your timeline to avoid unpleasant surprises and prevent headaches down the line. Don’t get too attached to a new idea before a contractor does their inspection.
Stay somewhere else
If it’s possible, complete your condo renovation while you’re staying somewhere else to avoid a mid-renovation nightmare. You’ll be exposed to much less stress, and you’ll enjoy the process more without having to see the messy in-between phases of construction.
If you would like more tips and advice about the Chicago condo lifestyle, check out our blog.