Critical Tips to Read Before Kicking Off a Home Renovation
Make a Realistic Budget
While it goes without saying that any project needs a budget to keep costs in check, it’s not always an easy task to find the balance between your dream designs and the amount in you’ve allotted for a project. This is why it is essential to get a true understanding of pricing, both with materials and labor, so you can gauge expectations accordingly.
Decide on a Sensible Scope of Work
Once you’ve determined a realistic budget, you’ll need to clarify exactly what work can happen and when. You may also need to ask yourself some tough questions about what you really need versus what you simply want. This will help you identify the true intention of the project and lay out important ground rules. It can even help with scheduling and determining what work happens when.
Determine Splurge-Worthy Items Upfront
Learning which items to spend your money on goes hand-in-hand with making a realistic budget and determining a sensible scope of work. The earlier you can make this determination, the more likely you will stay on track with costs. Think about which items you will use most frequently, as these are products that might be worth the higher price-tag. If you’re on a tight budget, you might want to save on cosmetic finishings, as these items can be easily changed with time.
Create a Clear Vision in Mind
From the tiles that will go on the walls to the appliances that will be installed, anyone who has completed a home renovation before knows that it is better to have just about everything picked out before you begin the work. This is because you will need to make numerous decisions once the renovation starts, and the more you’ve made beforehand, the better off—and better educated—you will be. Online tools like Pinterest, showroom visits, and/or material samples can help, and don’t be afraid to start purchasing items to get the ball rolling.
Get an Understanding of What’s Already Around
Existing conditions in a house can radically change the budget and scope of a renovation, as sometimes something as seemingly simple as adding an additional outlet to a room can result in the rewiring of an entire home. If you know, for example, that you occasionally blow a fuse when you turn on your hairdryer and have the dryer going on at the same time, that should be a hint that you may need to upgrade your electrical system.
Ways to Stay Zen While Living in a Disaster Zone
Make the Space You’ll Live In a True Retreat
Maybe your master bedroom or kitchen will need a total remodel in a few years, but other rooms of the house need more attention now.
Because you spend the most time in your bedroom and kitchen, take this opportunity to make at least one of them really cozy with a quick makeover before diving into any heavy-duty projects elsewhere.
The fastest way to change a room is with paint and accessories. Use paint to create an accent wall in your bedroom and try your hand at crown molding to make a room seem polished. You can even add new lighting for ambiance.
Make a Door One of Your First Projects
Your new home might be a mess inside, but you can feel great about pulling into your driveway.
A new front door, or newly-painted one will remind you how much of an impact your work is making on your home. And give you a reason to smile as you walk through the door.
Create Outdoor Places to Escape to
If you have months of good weather ahead, take advantage of your new yard to create a retreat where can truly get away from the clamor of renovation project.
Sucking Remodeling Mistakes You’ll Wish You Could Erase
Designing Before Budgeting
You think you can afford that luxurious marble countertop — until you talk to the fabricator. It’s $2,000 over budget, and there’s no room to squeeze. If you’re already past the design phase, that’s a brutal discovery requiring a serious re-think — and extra time you don’t have at this stage of the game.
Even the design-challenged can create a stunning kitchen with Pinterest on their side. But the breadth of options might create dismay — and delay — if you keep finding a better backsplash.
“Over-analysis becomes paralysis,” says Annmarie Bhola, who co-owned a remodeling company. “Now you spend all this time watching shows, and looking through Pinterest, and before you know it, oh my gosh, now I have all this data. Which should I choose? Should I go with light or dark?”
Scheduling Work Before Materials Are On Site
You might have allotted enough time for each step — but if what you need isn’t there when you need it, all the scheduling in the world isn’t going to make up for that lost time.
Before scheduling workers to install your new cabinets and appliances, make sure the materials will be there for them. Don’t just allocate installation time; know how long it will take to ship your farmhouse sink. (Another related point: Know your contractor’s schedule, too, so you won’t be dismayed when he can’t come the day your cabinets arrive.)
Choosing to Live in the Mess
Remodeling is messy — dust everywhere, your pots and pans scattered, and living spaces become storage spaces.
No one expects you to be Martha in the midst of a home makeover, but too much disorganization will hog your time because you can’t find anything. Next thing you know, you’re a day behind because you couldn’t find the installation guide for the dishwasher.
Contractor Tips: Top 10 Home Remodeling Don’ts
Don’t delay decisions. If you want your remodel to go well, the best thing to do is make every single decision before work starts. A good builder can talk you through the list of situations that might come up on your job, but decisions about situations aren’t usually what cause delays.
Don’t change your mind (too much). Even though it’s inevitable that you’ll change your mind about something on your project, know this: Every time you change your mind, it’ll result in a change order. Although the change may seem minor, there are always added costs — even if it’s only the time spent discussing the change.
Don’t buy your own materials. It seems like an obvious way to save money — a builder is going to mark up the cost of materials and pass that added cost on to you. That’s true, but the builder may get a better price than you to begin with, meaning that even after markup, you’ll pay the same price.
Don’t put lipstick on a pig. Though a builder will rarely come right out and say this, some houses should be knocked down rather than have money put into them to fix them up. Though this is a rare situation, it’s common for people to put money into fancy cabinets for a house with a sagging foundation, or into a high-efficiency furnace in a house with no insulation. Listen to the professionals who come to look at your job. Be open to their suggestions.
Don’t work without a contingency fund. If you find out that the work you wanted to do costs more than you expected or budgeted, you’re in good company. It’s almost unheard of that a person sets a realistic budget for a project. But don’t eat into your contingency to stretch the budget. If you follow rule number one and make every decision ahead of time, you can probably get away with a 5 percent contingency if you have a good general contractor.
The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Home Renovation
Build a Detailed Home Improvement Project Plan
The first step in a remodeling project is to develop a plan that clearly states the goal for your renovation and includes designing inspiration and an outline of the work that needs to be completed.
Set a Project Budget
The next step when planning a home renovation is to determine your budget and financing. Your budget should include the costs for permits and building materials, labor costs and the cost of decorations or cosmetic touches.
Next in your home project planning, you’ll need to hire your team. Don’t choose your contractors on cost estimates alone. When interviewing and selecting your contractors, also consider.
Build a Timeline
Once you have your budget and team in place for your remodeling plan, it’s time to put together your timeline. First, choose a desired start date, or if you’re hoping to have it completed by a specific date, work backward from that date instead. Sit down with your contractors to determine the length of time each portion of the project will take. Discuss which steps of the remodel need to be completed first, how long they will take and which project portions can be completed concurrently.