With nearly 30 years of experience of renovating dozens of old historic homes, I’ve seen a lot of old wood, lead paint, and been up to my eye balls in dirt and grime. It's hard work, with some sleepless nights wondering if I was crazy for taking on such a large renovation project. There have been plenty of days with sore muscles and a tear or two from the stress of it all. But it’s what I love and I always have a vision each time I see an old historic home in need of renovation. If this is your dream, you'll need 3 things right off the bat - a property, a vision, and strong determination!
Here are a few pointers:
- This is a REAL LIFE project and not an HGTV transformation. The 30 minute program does not show all the headaches and problems that arise and the actual time frame for completion.
- Hire a good contractor. Licensed, insured and bonded. Pull the necessary City Permits before work begins or you will have problems later, especially when selling. Ask your contractor about their track record for renovating historic homes in Charleston. A good contractor with a skilled team of craftsmen, artisans and specialists where needed is invaluable. We are one of the most active in downtown Charleston but are equally happy to recommend a specialist where work is outside of our skill set. Have a look at our Pinterest site for plenty of examples.
- Leave room in your budget for unknowns. Restorations are full of issues that are unknown at the outset. Rotten joist ends, termites, dampness, knob and tube wiring - There will be one or multiple unknown problems found. For example, one home we were renovating had a new panel box and new wiring - so we believed. However, while ripping out a floor we discovered original knob and tube wiring connected to the new wiring. The entire home had to be rewired! A big blow to an already tight budget.
- Be realistic on your time frame. Things happen. Weather delays, or a work-flow issue with a contractor can cause the schedule to fall behind. In a renovation the items fit together like a puzzle. If one thing is off or behind it always affects something else. Add more time and if you finish before - then time to celebrate! Do not rush your project.
- Stick to your budget. Make sure you do not over extend yourself. Spend on the structural components, decorating can follow later as budgets allow. Do not spend more in your renovation than the resale value will bear. A qualified realtor can provide valuable information is this area.
- Enjoy the project! Taking on a home renovations is a major undertaking and a stressful project. But enjoy the transformation of your home. You will have a sense of pride and accomplishment to bring one of these old historic jewels back to life.
Now, are you ready to take on a fixer upper or restore a wonderful historic property? If so, shouldn't you consult a group of experts that can handle your project from beginning to end? Our team of realtors can help you find the perfect property. Our construction team can oversee your restoration and help keep to the budget. And, when it comes time to decorate and add the finishing touches our staff interior designers are there to help as well!
NOTE: Download our "Guide to Construction Terms used in Historic Downtown Charleston" and find out more about what we can do to help renovate your historic Charleston, SC home!
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