renovation ideas

Home Renovation Ideas – How to Renovate a House

Berkeley, Lafayette, Moraga, Oakland, Orinda, Piedmont

Renovating your home is a big decision—whether you’re buying a home and wish to make it all your own or selling your house and hoping to add value. Before diving in, there are several items you will want to address, the biggest being budget. Renovations can include just one room or area of the property or your entire home. You’ll need to review budget and funding, what really needs to be fixed or updated, and how you might be turning a house into your long-term dream home. Before we review ideas for renovating a home for sale and renovating a fixer-upper, we’ll share a little on renovating on a budget and renovating old homes.

Renovation Ideas on a Budget

If you’re on a tight or smaller budget, you’ll want to go for smaller upgrades that have a relatively big impact. You may be surprised at the home renovation ideas that won’t cost you a huge budget. Consider these low-budget updates:

  • Front Entry/Foyer: This is your first, indoor impression. A few pieces of furniture, a fountain, or accent pieces can really step up the entry.
  • Paint: Fresh paint makes a big impact. For about $150 per room, you can make a long-term fix and likely see returns in value.
  • Bathrooms: The room is small and so is the budget. Updated cabinets, tile, and fixtures will make a big difference.
  • Garage Storage: Almost everybody has had a cluttered garage at one point. Adding some simple, efficient storage space to the garage will change the image of the whole home. Bonus: add workspace to the garage!

Renovations on Old Homes

Old homes can present unique challenges in home renovations, from electrical wiring to plumbing to unknown building techniques covered up by wall coverings. You could uncover safety issues such as asbestos and lead. You may also come across materials used in construction that are no longer available. In order to overcome these issues and ensure that your work stays up to code, we recommend working with a certified Interior Designer or Architect, as well as home inspectors who specialize in older homes. The Anthony Riggins Team works with a licensed contractor as well as a renowned stager who project manages a team of handymen, landscapers, cleaners and electricians. We also work with the most thorough inspector in the biz! If you’re interested in a consult with any of the professionals on our team please give us a call!

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Home Renovations: Selling Your Home

When selling a home, the first ‘renovations’ you need to make are the fixes and repairs required to bring the home up to code—important repairs to make before selling your home. If your home has any safety issues, such as old and unsafe appliances, fixtures, etc., those should be updated. Additionally, if you have any structural issues with the home, we recommend getting those addressed—either fixed or adjusted in the home’s price.

Aside from the big obvious fixes and repairs, below are the best renovations to do before selling a home:

  • Carpeting: Old and stained carpets will hurt the home’s value and likely cause the sale to take a longer time. Hardwood is very appealing to new homeowners and most likely you have nice hardwood under that dated carpeting.
  • Paint: New paint inside and out makes a great impression and will aid in the sale of your home.
  • The front yard/landscaping: This is the first impression of the property, so put some resources towards updating the front yard. New sod, mulch and a few colorful potted plants make a world of difference.

Many sellers want to fix up the focal points of the home, such as the kitchen or entertainment rooms. That can go either way. Many buyers like the idea of being able to take outdated parts of a home and doing their own upgrades, making the home their dream home.

Home Renovations for the Buyer: Purchasing the Fixer-Upper

You might have your heart set on a fixer-upper, project house to turn into your dream home with renovations. Or you might fall in love with a house that needs some obvious work and upgrades. In either case, the key considerations to make are your renovation loan, the potential costs of the project, and how to make the right offer on that property.

Identifying Renovation Costs for a Fixer-Upper

You’ll need the pros to help you with this unless you’re a trained contractor. Right away, you’ll want to get a thorough inspection to find the obvious issues. Then, you’ll want to bring in either an interior designer or an architect to design your renovations. Finally, you’ll want a contractor to give you a quote, or project budget, to build out those designs. Better yet, get several quotes. Take that quote and add a 10-15% overage to get a good planning number.

Home Renovation Loans

You have a few home renovation loan options:

  • Fannie Mae HomeStyle loan: Here you need to find an approved program lender, and you’ll need a 5% down payment.
  • FHA 203(k) loan: This has a lower credit score and down payment option.

Choosing an option depends on the number of renovations required versus the total value of the loan. Talk to your mortgage consultant. It’s possible your loan needs will fall outside of these programs.

How to Make an Offer on a Fixer-upper: How Much Should you Pay for a Fixer-Upper Home?

Similar to purchasing any home, you and your Realtor need to do a market analysis of the home to see what its value would be for a move-in ready home. Then, subtract the costs you estimated above (plus the expected overage). For example, if similar homes in the area are going for $750,000, and this home needs $150,000 in fixing up, then you would aim to settle on $600,000 (or less) after negotiations. At that point, listen to your professional Real Estate Agent to know where the offer should come in.


If you’re buying a home, selling a home, or staying in our current home, renovations can turn a house into a dream home. Reach out to the pros to help you: Realtors, mortgage consultants, inspectors, designers, and contractors. The right renovation can add real value to a property as well.

Questions? Contact one of our team members today!

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With hundreds of Real Estate transactions under his belt, Anthony’s expertise and understanding of the process aids in his ability to seamlessly and successfully represent each client with confidence and care. Anthony understands every transaction is different and carefully creates individualized plans for each client—from staging to marketing, negotiating to lending—his supply of knowledge and contacts is endless. Whether you are buying or selling your home, condo or land, Anthony Riggins is the most excellent choice when you need the best East Bay and Oakland Realtor.

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