Real Estate with Anessa Cohen


Although when looking for a house, we start out with the basic choices of layouts — high-ranch, split-level, cape, ranch, splanch, and, of course, colonial — from these basic layouts people have put their personal stamp on these homes by recreating existing spaces or through individualized interior-decorating schemes of their own.

These various recreations can be as minimal as changing around the room layouts for the homeowner’s personal comfort, such as utilizing an original living room as a playroom or converting a dining room to an additional bedroom, basically reconfiguring the original intent of a room in a house layout for a different purpose. Creativity knows no bounds when space is changed to suit individual needs.

Some buyers look for a home that is in good condition, possibly totally renovated, deciding that even if they pay a little more for the luxury of a renovated home, their lifestyle is just too busy to get involved with buying a home that needs work — even if renovating to suit their tastes might be a more desirable or more cost-effective preference. Buyers in this category might compromise with a renovated home done to suit someone else’s decorating taste in order to meet their time constraints.

A buyer with funds for a down payment and closing costs, but with a tight budget nonetheless, might not have the means to undertake a renovation project and might compromise by purchasing a home that is in good-enough condition for moving in, with the idea of possibly putting off all unnecessary desired renovations to a future time.

Obviously, renovating is not for everyone. To some, just the idea of taking on such a large project is very overwhelming. However, if renovating is something you have considered but you do not know where to begin or whether you could even handle the management of such a project, here are some tips to assist you when considering such a project.

The key to putting together a large renovation project — other than handing it over to a contractor along with a blank checkbook, that is—is to structure the project in groupings. If you make a list of all the repairs and upgrades you want to achieve, and then break them down into smaller groups — immediate; two to three years from now; five years from now; etc. — you will find it much easier to deal with the entire project. Deal with the “must do before I move in” items by putting them in the first group, which I like to call the “basic needs” group. Then organize the next categories of upgrades based on their order of priority and importance. This system can make what was originally a large project into a group of smaller projects that are more manageable.

Doing renovations in this manner will also make it easier to budget for each grouping without feeling overwhelmed. Once you have broken down your list into various groups, you can ask contractors for estimates for each group separately, so as to allow you to plan each project according to your own pace.

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to


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