Buying property in the Bay Area often means you’re getting a place with wonderful old-school charm – but how do you keep that alive when giving the home a contemporary revamp? It’s an endeavor that may take some balance and forethought, but rest assured it can be done. Here are a few things to keep in mind throughout the process.

Know What You’re Getting Into

You’re not buying a brand-new tract house. Living in a period home means learning to accept the quirks that come along with the charm. If your must-haves include flawless climate control or perfectly level floors, you may be out of luck. Renovations can do a lot, but they’re not a cure-all or a time machine.

In other words: be realistic. You didn’t buy new. You’re not getting new. Work with what you have.

Pick the Right People

Restoring an older home is part art, part science, and you need someone who can understand and harness that. Do your research before settling on any particular contractor and be sure to meet with potential candidates to ensure that you’re comfortable with them and their style.

Additionally, talk to people who have experience updating older homes. They’ll have specialized knowledge that can help make the process as smooth as possible. Finally, work with people who share your goal for the home. You don’t want to butt heads with the person you hire.

Start Small, Stay Smart

If you keep a reasonable scope of work from the beginning, you’re less likely to get overwhelmed by renovations. This is particularly important if you’re on a budget – and really, who isn’t to some degree? Start with a reasonable expectation of renovation – and consider buying smaller as well, a decision that will in turn give you fewer ground to cover.

You’ll also want to consider resale value when running your numbers. Be careful not to overspend in ways that won’t increase the return on your investment.

Some Quirks are Your Friend

You’re not going to make your home totally modern – that’s not why you bought it. Chances are you like many of its quirks, so do yourself a favor and embrace even the ones that might prove annoying time and again. It’s your property. If you’re going to live with it, you should like it.

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