Is remodeling a mountain home something you never thought you would do but now you find yourself considering? Perhaps your search for the perfect mountain home has led you to realization that remodeling an existing home is the best option for you. Before beginning your journey into the world of remodeling a mountain home, below are a few tips to consider.
The Remodeling Option
There are many homes available in every market at various price points and with lots of amenities. Some are brand new, some are only a few years old, and some may literally be more than 100 years old. Many mountain towns have old miners’ cabins that have been remodeled and added onto or have been updated numerous times, creating a home with lots of “character.” It is not uncommon in older sections of most major cities to see old, small homes get scraped and new, large “McMansions” go up. In the mountain towns, there are certainly some very old homes, but it is rare to see the home scraped. Check the zoning and ordinances in your town; some may have a Historical District overlay, or stringent architectural guidelines. Many times the home cannot be torn down, but instead can only be remodeled with tight specifications (a great reason to hire a LOCAL architect who knows the code and the approval committees).
There are many homes that offer the opportunity to buy and remodel to bring them up to current desirable standards and finishes. I have seen nice older homes (built in the late 1980s) that many buyers passed on because they did not want to buy into a project and had no interest in remodeling a mountain home. There was nothing wrong with these homes; they were state of the art twenty-five years ago and still very functional, but most had smaller living areas, and the materials, appliances and finishes were outdated. Sometimes I see buyers initially pass on one of these homes, and then they come back after exhausting the market and decide that remodeling a mountain home is their best choice. They see the remodel as a great opportunity to buy a home at a reduced price in a great location, and make updates and add on to the home to meet their style and tastes in finishes and décor. In these cases, I typically introduce an architect and builder to my clients to discuss options, costs, timelines, etc.
Adjust Your Timeline
If you’ve never lived through a remodel or renovation, you’ll be tempted to underestimate how long it will take. It is a mistake to think of renovation time in terms of how much labor you think it requires. For many projects, labor time is the least amount of time spent on the project. A large number of projects require far more non-physical-labor time than the actual construction work. There are approvals, plans, permits, shipping time for materials, weather delays, insurance certificates, and myriad other preparations required far in advance of taking a sledgehammer to the walls. Most of the time, remodeling a mountain home will also uncover hidden surprises that will affect the original plans, time, and cost, and may expand the project. The nice thing about a remodel of a second home is that you can have the contractors start working after you leave, and with some luck, and if you plan ahead, they can be finished prior to arrival for your next visit.
A Personal Experience with Remodeling A Mountain Home
I have a contractor who has done work on my home that I trust. He added dormers, finished out the space above my garage, and also added a third garage to my home. He has built large custom homes and done many remodels. There is a historic home in town that was built in 1890 that the owner wanted to totally remodel. They first had to jack it up and put in a proper cement foundation. The total remodel meant taking it down to the studs on the inside (the outside was subject to historical restrictions, and so very little was done to change the exterior). Once they got to the studs, they nicknamed the home “the House of Pain,” because at every turn they found another issue that required a painful and costly resolution. The studs were not on 18-inch centers and they were not 2x6s; instead they were 2x4s and on 30-inch centers. It was a miracle it had not caved in over the years from heavy snow loads. The cost of the remodel was far more than the budgeted amount due to the many unforeseen issues. They literally re-framed the home from the inside, added all new electrical, new plumbing, new everything. The home still looks like historic 1890 on the outside with new paint and trim, but has very nice, new and efficient use of space on the inside.
How can I help you? I have over 30 years of sales and marketing experience and am a top real estate agent in the mountain town of Crested Butte, Colorado representing affluent clients who are buying and selling their home and ranch properties in the mountains. To see featured properties or search the Crested Butte MLS – visit chriskopf.com. How is the Real Estate Market doing? Click this link to see my monthly Crested Butte Real Estate Market Reports. Whether you are interested in selling, building or remodeling a mountain home, I appreciate the opportunity to earn your business and be your Crested Butte Real Estate Agent.
Chris Kopf, Coldwell Banker Bighorn Realty
Previews® Property Specialist