The Right Path to Renovating

Renovating Tips

If you know anything about the Colorado Real Estate market then you know that inventory is low. Due to this, many families are deciding to take things into their own hands and renovating their current home. This is one of the biggest shifts in the last five years and most are not simple renovations but extensive ones. 


The good news: If you bought into the market more than a couple of years ago, you might have the equity to make your current house your dream home. Let us show you what you will need to make this process go as smoothly as possible.


Your Dream Team

Unless you are a very talented individual you will need to surround yourself with a stellar team to tackle any at home renovation process. The first step to transforming your space is assembling a group of pros who can help you figure out what’s possible and what you can afford—and then make your dream a reality. When deciding where to start it is good to ask yourself: What is the vision for each space?

Bringing in the experts early on in this process will be very helpful. This way they know exactly what you want and can help you know where to start.

Here’s who to call, and why you need them.



Role: Draws up structural blueprints for larger additions or renovations.

Special Skills: Ensuring plans meet zoning and code requirements; help implement thoughtful design solutions that complement the existing aesthetic of both your home and your neighborhood.

Tip: Although it’s never bad to have an architect on the roster, you can save money by going straight to a designer for projects that don’t involve major structural changes.


Builder/General Contractor

Role: Executes an architect’s or designer’s plan by bidding out the various jobs: framing, dry-walling, electrical work, plumbing etc.

Special Skills: Leveraging established relationships with sub-contractors to get jobs scheduled in Denver’s labor-short market; pulling permits; orchestrating and managing construction. It is important to have a contractor that understands the Denver area and has connections within the industry.

Tip: Make sure your contractor is insured and bonded: Contractors are not licensed at the state level in Colorado, so you’ll need to check with your city and county, and beware of scammers who ask for most or all of the money up front (materials deposits are commonly required, however).


Design/Build Firm

Role: Serves as a one-stop shop for the design and construction phases.

Special Skills: Streamlining communication among architects, designers, and builders, who are all under one roof; controlling costs and schedules by doing everything in-house

Tip: Look at firms’ previous projects to find an aesthetic you like, as your customization options may be limited, and you’ll be working with the same pros who completed those designs.


Interior Design

Role: Creates designs that enhance the functionality and aesthetics of interior spaces, from layout to finishes to furnishings.

Special Skills: Developing designs based on your daily routine and how you live in your house; helping you choose cohesive finishes; making sure furniture is part of the remodel plan

Tip: Interior designers, as opposed to decorators, are formally trained in spatial planning. A decorator can help with color schemes and furnishings, but you’ll want a designer if you’re looking for someone to work on the bigger picture with your architect or contractor.


Loan Officer

Role: Helps you tap into your home equity to pay for your remodel.

Special Skills: Walking you through the available options: home-equity loans, home-equity lines of credit (HELOCs), construction loans, etc.—to finance a renovation.

Tip: Choose a reputable lender you trust to be honest about what you can afford and how to best plan for your financial future.


The Bottom Line

Expert tips for not blowing your budget.

It’s hard to imagine sticker shock that compares with Denver’s current real estate market, but the truth is that remodels aren’t exactly cheap right now either. We value ourselves as a company that sees “Real Estate Solutions Without Limits” which means we want to give you tips to make your dream home possible without breaking the bank.

Construction costs in Colorado are higher than ever. Covid along with the demand in the market has made lumber, paint, and other home decor necessities sky rocket. This means it’s even more important to pay close attention to the aspects of your budget you can control, starting with thorough planning and a realistic expectation.

When renovating, hiring professionals to draw up full schematics before anyone starts swinging a sledgehammer can be helpful. Plan on the design phase taking at least as long as construction. Here are four more ways to keep your bank account from getting demo’ed along with your house.


1. Be Decisive.

“The more detailed the information before construction starts, the more accurate the budget forecasting will be,” says Rusty Conway, partner at Cadre General Contractors. Familiarize yourself with two bits of industry lingo: “allowances” and “change orders.” The former refers to the value your builder drops into your budget for something you haven’t picked out: If you haven’t selected a backsplash material, she’ll plug in an allowance—using, perhaps, a subway tile from Home Depot. If you choose Carrara marble a month later, you’ll find yourself over the cost projection.


2. Prepare For The Worst

You never know what might come up while renovating your space. It is important to set aside an emergency fund of five to 10 percent of your total budget. If you get lucky and don’t have to use it on unforeseen expenses, you can put it toward upgrading your light fixtures or countertops.


3. Anticipate Ancillary Costs

It’s important to plan for the disruptions (and related expenses) that come with any major renovation: dining out at restaurants while your kitchen is out of commission; new sod to replace the grass that got destroyed by construction traffic; a few months’ rent in an apartment. You can check out some tips for financial planning when it comes to your home improvement.


4. Don’t Forget The Furniture

“The reason we like a lot of the pictures on Pinterest is the furnishings,” says interior designer Lindy Williams. She’s seen the disappointment on clients’ faces when they’ve brought a 15-year-old sofa into their newly refreshed space.” You want to remember that renovating your space is not simply about the skeleton of the home but also the aesthetic pieces that go along with it. Furniture can be costly, which is why a clear budget is so important.

The home renovation process can be lengthy and detailed. But, it can also be the thing that completely transforms your space. In a competitive market with limited inventory a renovation might be the perfect solution for you.

The experts at Corken + Company are well versed on remodels, renovations, and redecorating. Whether we can personally answer your questions or one of our contacts can help you tackle your projects, we are just a phone call away. Contact us today! 


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Rachel Sartin

Lori Corken