Reno Notebook / By Jennifer Malise / April 16, 2018
First-Time Renovators Share Their Stories
Get your hammers ready
For the uninitiated, renovating seems like a big deal; the many steps involved in a kitchen or bathroom remodel
The kitchen in Sophia and Leon’s newly purchased 3-bedroom unit needed to be gutted, but the couple had concerns about staying on budget…a gut reno sounded expensive! Their Sweeten general contractor guided the newbie renovators in making budget-friendly decisions, advising on what to keep (appliances that were in working condition) and what to replace (farewell, dated cabinets). Although the prospect of a gut renovation was daunting, Sophia was delighted with the results AND the money they were able to save, and said: “This was a great first-time renovating experience and we’re so happy in our new home!”
The idea of buying her first home and remodeling the bathroom felt overwhelming to Christine. But a long search for the right space changed her mind. “No place is going to be everything you want it to be, so why not budget some remodeling in and make it what you want?” Christine said. She posted her project on Sweeten and was matched with a general contractor whose past work had a similar aesthetic to the look she hoped to achieve: minimalism with a warm and cozy vibe. “My Sweeten contractor was so easy to work with and made things stress-free.” Her advice to first-time renovators? “Be ready to laugh when things go wrong. And go wrong again. It’ll be worth it when you are enjoying your renovated space, I promise.”
When it came time to choose a general contractor for her kitchen renovation, Amanda wasn’t sure how to decide between bids. A phone call with her Sweeten client services contact helped her compare bids, considering the pros and cons of each contractor and how they stacked up as a potential fit for her project. The guidance gave Amanda the confidence she needed to make the right decision, getting her renovation off to a great start. Her contractor’s close attention to detail allowed him to quickly resolve issues, enabling them to finish the job within the one-month timeframe. Amanda’s advice to other first-time renovators is simple. “Trust the contractor! He knows what he’s doing and how long it’ll take to do it.”
When Felix decided to add a powder room to her apartment and renovate the existing bathroom, a Google search led her to Sweeten. New to the idea of renovating, Felix kept changing and updating her project for about a year before she was ready to start her renovation. Her Sweeten general contractor was patient and willing to jump in whenever she needed him. “That was really why I went with him,” Felix said. “He stuck with me through the procrastination!” From that point onward, everything was smooth sailing. In the end, Felix described the overall renovation process as “surprisingly easy.”
After being stuck in a “contractor no-man’s-land,” receiving bids from handymen whose skills didn’t meet the requirements of the job and contractors who were only interested in larger projects, Anne and Michael came to Sweeten. “We posted the project and the budget and got serious responses from contractors specifically interested in a project of our size,” Anne said. “Our contractor helped us source appliances, counters, and backsplash tile, which we found really helpful as first-timers.” Their advice: “It’s such a cliche, but it’s going to take longer than you think.”
Matt purchased his first home, a 360-square-foot apartment in Park Slope, in July 2013. Over the next few years, he saved up to renovate the bathroom. “I wanted a complete bathroom renovation not only to feel better about the space, but also as an investment,” he said. Matt found Sweeten and posted his project, working with the client services team to guide his decision-making. He remodeled his bath, creating a clean and refreshed space with plenty of storage. “Because this was my first renovation,” he said, “I was a complete novice to the process. I’m grateful to Sweeten because they gave me the confidence I needed to get started.”
Read about five couples who moved in with their partners and renovated for the first time.
Refer your renovating friends to Sweeten and you’ll both receive a $250 Visa gift card when they sign a contract with a Sweeten general contractor.
Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.