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How to Stay Married…when Renovating, Buying or Selling a Home!

Posted by Ron Neal on Thursday, February 11th, 2016 at 11:58am.

There aren’t many things that highlight individual differences so starkly as a home renovation or buying/selling a home. If you are considering any these moves in the now or in the near future, read on to see how you can protect your relationship from common pitfalls during a stressful time.

There seem to be 4 consistent areas of strife in a renovation (you may be able to name more!):

  1. Your quality of life is affected
  2. There is a lack of control (over a lot of variables)
  3. Finances
  4. Unfinished projects

                                                                                                       Fred Harper

In short, as Sheri Stritof, a marriage expert says, “A remodeling project requires that the two of you are able to talk about money, hopes, dreams, expectations and dealing with mistakes.” This is no small feat. She suggests the following:

  • Important! If your relationship has communication problems or other unresolved issues, don't start a remodeling project. Start a relationship project first.
  • Have realistic expectations – and discuss what they are.
  • Prepare yourselves for disruption of your daily routine by the noise, clutter, dirt and inconvenience of the project.
  • Keep part of your house untouched, clean, and quiet.
  • Discuss how you will make decisions that involve different tastes and viewpoints.
  • Do your homework, research, shop, and have concrete plans before you spend any money.
  • Develop a budget. Discuss what your options are if your remodel project appears to be costing more than you planned.
  • Be honest with one another about what you can handle and what you will or won't do on the project. Your tolerances may be quite distinct. It is good to be clear about these unique differences in advance so they won’t come as a surprise to either of you.
  • Accept that conflict will happen. Be open to compromise.
  • Don't let the project turn into a battleground that is really about other issues like power and control.
  • Communicate, communicate, and communicate.

       (This is an adapted list)

In Victoria on Vancouver Island British Columbia, Ron Neal and The Neal Estate Team at RE/MAX Alliance Victoria often find themselves discussing renovations with clients who are buying and/or selling a home. It will be well worth your time and energy to seek the professional opinion of a Realtor at The Neal Estate Team of RE/MAX Alliance Victoria before buying or selling, especially if renovations are a consideration.

Other practical hints that may help:

  • Make as many decisions as you can before you start the reno (flooring, paint colour, finishings, etc.) … this helps avoid “decision fatigue”
  • Let go of a tight timeline – if you have one this may not be the right time to start a reno
  • Designate one person as the “contractor” – it helps to clear lines of communication all around … and consider swapping roles once in awhile according to individual strengths and interests
  • If finances allow, consider having a buffer between closing dates … 3 – 4 months when you own both homes but can choose which one to be living in as changes take place
  • Consider renting as an option – it can be expensive in the short term but sometimes worth it in terms of the equity you invest in your relationship
  • Don’t forget short term storage as an option for belongings that can wait to be used and will hamper ongoing projects if you keep them in the space you are converting
  • It might feel like every conversation you have at this time is about the renovation. And that may be accurate! Recognize it is just for a little while and life will return to normal. If you can, arrange times (what, a date?) when the renovation is off-limits as a topic of conversation. This will let you attend to the other parts of your life and relationship which haven’t gone anywhere, and which are important.
  • Make “reno dates” – a time when you both agree to work on a particular project
  • If your project entails a remodel to both kitchen and bathroom(s) consider living elsewhere in the interim … really.
  • Take a break when you need to – whether it’s a walk or an entire weekend
  • Do things you enjoy that don’t involve power tools!

Many of the above apply to not only those who are considering renovation but also couples who are buying and/or selling a home. Many of the same strategies will work for buying and selling stressors that include making big decisions, differences of opinion between partners, a preoccupation with the selling/buying process, open houses in your own home, time lines, and discussions about values and finances. Let Ron Neal and the Neal Estate Team help reduce the impact of these stressors on your lives with expertise and professionalism.

In the meantime, take care of each other … and try to have some fun!

Please contact us for a FREE and NO OBLIGATION personal consultation BEFORE you renovate to advise as to value any contemplated improvements will contribute to your market value. If you're planning to sell anytime soon you'll want to avoid renovations that cost more than they add in resale many do!


1 Response to "How to Stay Married…when Renovating, Buying or Selling a Home!"

Karen wrote: awesome article and all true as we have survived 10 years and 100,000 of reno

Posted on Thursday, February 11th, 2016 at 11:34pm.

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The Neal Estate Team

The Neal Estate Team is your #1 source for all of your Victoria BC real estate needs. Get in touch with us online or by phone at (250) 386-8181 to speak with a Victoria real estate buying or selling expert today. With decades of experience as a top selling Victoria REALTOR® and ranked in top 1% globally with over 4,000 transactions and $1 Billion SOLD, Ron Neal & The Neal Estate Team have the industry experience and market knowledge to help you make smart and informed buying or selling decisions. 

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