Whether you bought a home knowing a remodel was in your future or you woke up one morning and realized your house could use some updates, you’re not alone.
We’re spending more time at home than ever before, and with the popularity of renovation shows, home renovations are incredibly common. More than 400 billion dollars per year is spent on remodeling projects in the United States alone!
Now, the shows on HGTV make home redesign seem like a breeze. And while they can be a fun, fulfilling experience, the truth is that renovations are a lot of work. Unless, of course, you have your own private team behind the scenes like Joanna Gaines or Drew Scott.
So, what are those of us without the help of time-lapse and a slew of professionals at our disposal to do?
Well, the first step toward a successful remodel is to make a plan. What does a well-designed home renovation plan look like? Keep reading to find out!
Envision the Final Product
The best place to start with your renovation plans is at the end. When you picture your home after the projects are complete, what does it look like? How is it different from its current appearance?
As you envision your goals for your renovation, consider why you want them done in the first place. Are you trying to raise the value of your home for sale or customize your home so that it suits you and your family for years to come?
Your reasoning behind the remodel will have an impact on the types of projects you do. If you’re planning to sell your home, for example, you need to keep return on investment in mind.
Your home and neighborhood have a cap in price. This means that it’s very much possible to overdo it with renovations. Even if the return on investment for your projects is high, if it exceeds the neighborhood cap, you won’t get your money’s worth.
On the flip side, if you’re doing the renovations for yourself and your family, those rules don’t apply. After all, who knows what the neighborhood will be worth decades from now?
Set Your Budget
While anyone would love to do all the renovations they want without worrying about the cost, this simply isn’t a reality for most people. As a rule, renovations are expensive. And if your plans include bathroom or kitchen renovations, you’re going to be looking at an even larger investment.
Luckily, there are ways to complete your renovation checklist without going bankrupt.
The first option is to take out a renovation loan by Plenti or a similar lender. Now, you have to be prepared for the additional expense that comes with loan interest. But with renovation or home loans, you can have all the funds you need as early as tomorrow.
If a renovation loan isn’t for you, take a look at your list and think about which projects you could DIY (we’ll dive deeper into this idea a little later).
Last but not least is good old-fashioned patience. If you give yourself plenty of time to save up for your renovations, you can have the funds you need without any external help or manual labor on your part.
Whichever route you choose, write down the total number you’re willing and able to spend. Make sure to set aside 10% for a contingency fund. You might make it to the end of your project and realize you didn’t need it, but there’s a much higher chance that this money will come in handy at some point.
Create a Tentative Timeline
It’s virtually unavoidable – you’re going to encounter some setbacks and unexpected costs along the way. With that in mind, it’s unwise to attempt to hammer down a specific end date for your renovations. That said, it’s important to create a tentative timeline anyway.
Pencil your preferred end date into your calendar and work backward. To avoid disappointment, it’s best to assume that your renovations will be complete a month or so past the initial projected end date.
Once you have a contractor (or team of contractors), you can get a more concrete idea of how long your specific projects will take and what a realistic end date might be.
Choose Your Contractors
Hiring the right help is essential to successful home renovations. The contractors you choose should not only be experienced and highly rated but mesh well with you and your personality as well.
You’re going to be spending a lot of time interacting with this person, not to mention your most valuable possession is in their hands!
Whether you choose a team of professionals or hire individual contractors for each project, there are a few questions you should ask before signing any contracts.
- Can you provide a copy of your contractor license and insurance?
- How familiar are you with my neighborhood/area?
- Do you have a list of references?
- What do you expect the timeline to look like?
- Do you have a team or will you hire subcontractors?
- Who supervises the project?
- Do you provide a warranty?
- What does your typical payment schedule look like?
There’s no such thing as a bad question – don’t be afraid to bring up any questions or concerns you may have. Also, don’t shy away from interviewing several contractors before making your choice.
Decide What to DIY
As we mentioned above, a great way to save money is to DIY a portion of your renovation projects. This isn’t a requirement, but it does allow you to add a personal touch to your home.
If you’d rather leave it all up to the professionals, go for it! However, if you’re interested in tackling some DIY projects, here’s what to do.
Make a list of the rooms you’re renovating. These will be your headers. Underneath each header, write down the projects you want to complete in that room.
Then, sort the projects into two categories: DIY and professional. Homeowners on the handy side might be able to do quite a bit of their renovation themselves, while DIY novices stick to painting and swapping out cabinetry hardware.
No matter what your skill level, there are two types of projects that should never be done yourself, and that is plumbing and electrical. A minor misstep in either of these categories can cause costly, even irreparable, damage to your home.
It’s better to know and accept your limits than get in over your head with DIY projects and pay more in the long run as a result.
Make a Routine and Packing Plan
Living in a home while minor repairs and upgrades are being completed is easy. Living in a home that feels half-built is exceedingly inconvenient and can even be dangerous.
Depending on the scope of your renovation, moving your family out of the home for the duration of the construction work could be your best option. Trying to go about your normal routine while workers are coming in and out of the house is tougher than you might think.
If you opt for staying, you’ll need to consider your routine and how it will be disrupted by your renovation plans. Those planning a kitchen remodel, for instance, need to decide where they’ll cook and eat while the room is out of commission.
In addition, the rooms that will be under construction need to be packed up and cleaned out.
Prioritize Safety and Prepare for Outages
The final steps in your preparations are to ensure that your home is kept safe for any children or pets who live there and prepare for mid-renovation outages.
Construction zones are no place for little ones and furry friends, so safety gates and proper storage of tools are a must. If your pet is particularly anxious, it’s a good idea to get them out of the house while the construction is underway.
And though it’s not a guarantee, outages during construction are possible. To prevent your family from being without running water, fill your fridge with containers of drinking water and fill the bathtub with water to pour into the toilet with a bucket.
It’s not glamorous, but it’s the reality of living among incomplete renovations!
You’re Ready to Start Planning Your Home Renovations
By taking the time to carefully plan out your home renovations, you’re far more likely to find yourself in your dream home when it’s all said and done. Not only that, but you’ll minimize stress, the risk of missteps, and unforeseen costs.
The more time you give yourself to plan, the better. And now that you know how to create the perfect renovation plan, there’s nothing stopping you from starting today!
Looking for more tips and ideas for getting the most out of your home? Be sure to check out our blog!