Renovation 101: Expert Advice on Renovated Connecticut Homes
For many Connecticut homebuyers, the thought of renovating a home is daunting at best and hive-inducing at worst. But a renovated house has numerous benefits—and it doesn’t have to be a stressful situation (we promise!), especially if you’re buying a home that’s already been renovated for you. Whether you’ve long been a fan of older homes or you just recently stumbled upon a renovation on your favorite home and garden channel, you probably have a lot of questions about the ins, outs, ups, and downs of remodeling an existing home. We caught up with our resident renovation expert, Realtor Mike Riccio of our Southington office and owner of Rebuilt Homes, to get his expert advice on renovated Connecticut homes. Join us as he weighs in and helps us better understand the world of renovating and flipping houses throughout Connecticut.
Meet Mike Riccio, Calcagni’s renovation expert
For Calcagni Realtor Mike Riccio, working with remodeled homes is business as usual. That’s because he’s been doing it for the past 15 years! Riccio, who began his foray into real estate as a real estate appraiser, began investing his own money into older properties that he would fix up and sell quickly—or “flip”—for a profit. While his initial investments involved multi-family and commercial properties, his love for real estate kicked in when he began buying older residential homes.
“I love taking old things and making them new,” Riccio shares. “A few years ago, I had some success in getting the public involved in weighing in on social media to help me design and remodel older homes. Now, I’ve joined forces with my brother Ralph—also a Realtor at Calcagni—and we developed ‘Flippin’ with Friends.'” The Riccio brothers are launching Flippin’ with Friends as a friendly competition between siblings to see who gets the most votes for the best renovation, or a “flip off,” as they call it. They’re planning on interviewing design experts to let their audience in on the secrets of lighting, stone, and cabinetry, all while drumming up excitement about their latest renovation projects.
What to look for in a remodeled Connecticut home
With over 15 years of home renovation experience, it’s no wonder Riccio has a keen sense of what to look for in a remodeled Connecticut home. Most of the houses he’s worked on have been in established Connecticut communities along the central corridor of I-91 and I-95. “I look for homes in strong communities,” Riccio shares. “If you’re interested in buying a renovated home, you often have the advantage of buying in established neighborhoods.”
For Riccio, a house between 900-2400 sq. ft. is ideal for resale value, and he always makes sure to convert the floorplans to a three-bedroom to ensure it’s appealing for today’s buyer. Whether buyers have families or not, now more than ever, having that extra room for a possible office is practically a must-have. And Riccio makes sure to not only make the homes he renovates beautiful with on-trend design details like shiplap, current paint colors or an accent of wallpaper (which is having a resurgence), but he invests in new mechanicals and new roofing to make sure the house will be safe and sound for years to come.
Renovated homes look beautiful, but Riccio advises checking several things to ensure they’ve been done to meet a standard of excellence if you’re buying one for the first time. Double (triple!) check things like mechanicals—heating, plumbing, electrical—and pay attention to the level of detail the contractor has put into the home. Is that a new hinge on the cabinet, or has it been painted over? Was that hardware professionally stripped? How about the quality of the appliances? “All of these details together tell a larger story,” Riccio shares. “They’ll indicate whether your developer or contractor was cutting corners.”
The benefits of buying remodeled homes in Connecticut
For Connecticut homebuyers, remodeled homes not only carry the appeal of existing neighborhoods, but they often appeal to both first-time homebuyers or retirees. For those who buy homes like the Riccio’s along the Connecticut shoreline, you’ll often find one of the benefits is walkability—to the beaches, to convenient destinations, and all nestled within well-established communities that boast well-cared-for homes.
The best ROI on renovated homes
If you’re interested in buying a renovated home in Connecticut, it’s always helpful to understand which renovations will earn you the best ROI should you ever have to sell your home. The kitchen and bathroom rule of thumb still holds true today, Riccio says. “Kitchens and bathrooms are always the biggest investment, but they still fetch the biggest return on your investment.” While trends like paint colors or even faucet finishes may come and go, “real life” details like a well-designed layout in the kitchen or countertops that will stand the test of time can make a big difference to you while you’re living in your home—and to any buyers that may be interested in your home in the future.