Helpful Tips for Buyers Whose Dream Home Needs Structural Work


As someone on the market for a new home, you’ve quickly realized that finding the perfect home is nearly impossible. There are certainly homes that come close to ticking off all those boxes, but some need extra work to turn the house into a home. The best part about a house is that it can be changed to meet your needs and preferences, becoming a full-on or partial fixer-upper. If you want an open kitchen, tear the down the wall. If you’d prefer a garage rather than parking your car in the elements, build on an attachment. If structural changes are on the agenda for your future home, here are a few things to consider.


Include the Costs in Your Budget


If you know you’ll be making some changes, you’ll need to factor remodeling costs into your budget. Before you start drawing up plans, ask your home inspector to pinpoint any problems or serious issues so the homeowner can fix it or negotiate the price. If everything checks out, bring in a contractor to give you an estimate for the work you’d like done. For example, you’ll find that tearing down a wall in your kitchen that isn’t load-bearing is a lot cheaper ($300 to $1,000) than bringing down a wall that is load-bearing ($1,200 to $3,000). Work closely with your real estate agent to negotiate a price and ensure you aren’t over-paying. Your agent can also help you decide what improvements are worth the investment and will offer a hefty return by comparing similar homes nearby. You don’t want to sink money into a remodel that will price your home way out of the market that is typical in that area, as this will make it hard to sell in the future.


Be Smart About Saving Money


Remodeling can get pricey, so you might be looking for any possible way to cut costs. However, don’t save by forgoing a contractor and doing it yourself or sacrificing quality and good workmanship. Instead, look for smart savings such as hiring a contractor outside of the peak seasons (spring and summer), handling small tasks yourself, and sticking to your plan rather than adding on here and there, as this adds up. Another way to save is with low-cost finishings. For example, if you need extra space, consider adding on a steel garage as opposed to the traditional wood, which tends to come with a higher price tag. Steel garages are sturdy and sleek, and can be made to match your home, providing the benefit of extra space for your car, yard tools, and miscellaneous items, all without shelling out the big bucks. The same concept of using more cost-effective materials can be applied to all areas of your home, such as using laminate instead of granite when refurbishing or installing new counter-tops.


Get All Your Ducks in a Row


Home remodels aren’t a DIY project unless they are minor, so you’ll need to put together a dream team. Get quotes and consultations from at least three different contractors, and do your research to make sure they have the proper licenses and are insured. In addition to having the necessary paperwork and certifications, consider whether you both have the same vision and a full understanding of what you want and expect. Don’t forget to discuss permits, as most structural changes, such as adding or removing walls, additions, and demolitions, will require one to ensure the work is done safely and in compliance with building and neighborhood codes. If the contractor insists they don’t need a permit, move on to someone else.



Finding your dream home is possible, but it might need a few updates and changes. Structural changes sound intense, but with the right plan and contractor, your home is in good hands. Budget accordingly, cut costs the smart way, hire a team, and watch your home receive new life.