By John Gunkelman
Gunkelman is current Home Builders Association of F-M president. He owns Dakota Construction of Fargo, Inc., specializing in custom homes, commercial remodeling and residential remodeling.
Fargo and Moorhead were both founded in 1871. With nearly 150 years of a storied history, both have their fair share of old homes. While there is a lot of growth happening in our communities, some of you prefer to rehab a property that has a past and a story. Here are a few things to consider:
John Gunkelman is current Home Builders Association of F-M president. He owns Dakota Construction of Fargo, Inc., specializing in custom homes, commercial remodeling and residential remodeling.
1.Find out if the home is in a historic overlay district. If it is, the jurisdiction in which it’s located may require approval before changing the exterior.
2. Get professional advice and know how the house was built. A contractor or referred home inspector can help the average person identify trouble spots, and if those will fit within the renovation plan and budget. Sewer lines, wiring and foundations are common problem areas. Also, dealing with archaic building materials can add special processes to the remodel.
3. Accept that some homes cannot be salvaged, often resulting from foundation issues. Identify a bottom-line, no matter how much “the look and feel” of the home appeals to you.
4. Be realistic. Define what you will, and can, do. When renovating an old home, expenses can multiply. Try to know what you are getting into and understand there may be more projects to do. If possible, identify the extent of the work you are willing and able to deal with. It’s also important to find a cut-off point to end renovation that makes sense within the house that can be picked up later.
5. Know that some improvements are more important than others. People tend to gravitate toward new cabinets, countertops and flooring, which is fun! However, in an older home, likely there are more important, hidden, areas that need attention first.
– In old homes electrical wiring can be stable if it’s contained and undisturbed, but once you start removing plaster and damaging something that’s already fragile, then it’s not safe anymore.
– Historic homes tend to be inefficient, so anything to improve energy consumption should be prioritized.
Did you know that Dilworth, Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo have remodeling incentives in the form of interest-free loans, tax exemptions and more? Visit www.hbafm.com, click ‘Build/Remodel and Incentives’ for more details.
Don’t miss the Home Builders Association of F-M’s Remodeled Home Tour running in conjunction with the Fall Parade of Homes’ second weekend Oct. 5-6. Visit www.paradefm.com for details.
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