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How To Be Prepared For The Unexpected When Renovating Your Home

One of the best parts about owning your own home is having the agency to change everything about it. Don’t like your kitchen counters? Replace them with cement blocks. Wish you had a more open layout? Tear down a few of those pesky walls. Your dream home is a blueprint away.

As you embark on your journey toward more counter space or walk-in closets, you’ll also discover there are surprises that pop up and need immediate attention. In partnership with State Farm, we’ve come up with a list of things you can check yourself before even getting an estimate from a contractor. These assessment tips will help you better budget and plan for your remodeling projects by anticipating the sudden repairs and replacements that may come up.

If these walls could talk, they’d tell you not to tear them down.
attic walls
Image: ZOONAR RF VIA GETTY IMAGES

Knowing which walls in your home are load bearing can really come in handy before you renovate. But it’s just as important to determine walls are hiding important wires, pipes and vents, which may cost a lot of money to move. Taking a trip up to your attic, into your house’s basement, or through the crawlspace to see where important air ducts or plumbing enters the house is an easy way to find out which walls are hiding important pieces of infrastructure.

Water, water everywhere.
steel pipes
Image: EVGENY SERGEEV VIA GETTY

Old, poorly functioning pipes can turn up -- and add unanticipated replacement costs -- in the middle of construction. Older homes built 70 to 80 years ago likely have galvanized steel pipes. Contractor Jim Boccuzzi explains that these older pipes corrode over the years; this corrosion creates buildup that slows the drains in sinks and showers. How would you know they’re lurking behind walls? Look for these metal pipes running through your basement. Boccuzzi recommends replacing these pipes with PVC.

It’s electric!
If you have older appliances or you frequently trip a fuse or circuit breaker, you may need to re-prioritize your construction projects and prepare for rewiring. Tripped fuses may also point to a poorly installed or malfunctioning appliance. If your fuse box shows 60 or 100 amps, consider investing in a new one while you’re making improvements. Most homes with modern appliances or just central air conditioning require a 200-amp fuse box.

Bye, bye, modern conveniences.
Renovations disrupt your home life. The water is turned off, surfaces are covered in dust … but what aspiring remodelers often overlook are the elevated expenses that come with eating out more or staying at a hotel for a day or two. Rethink your grocery dollars before getting started, and move some moolah into the “going-out” column of your budget.

When all's said and done, your property is now fancier.
couple in new home
Image: HINTERHAUS PRODUCTIONS VIA GETTY IMAGES
So you’ve managed to come through the renovation process and your home is finally the way you want it -- but you’re not quite done covering the costs. Home rehabs, by their nature, improve property value, which in turn can trigger increases in your property tax. Municipalities use work permits to determine what upgrades you’ve made, and then may levy higher property taxes as a result. So, before you go through with making the perfect sanctuary for you and your family, consider whether those newly fancier digs will be within your budget in the event the taxes take a sudden hike.

Renovating is easier when you have support and guidance, and the same goes for life. Now that you have the tools to embrace your future with confidence, let State Farm® help you to protect it.

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