If spring has you thinking about cleaning, renovating, and upgrading your home, you’re not the only one. If this is your first time undertaking a large renovation, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before diving in. Whether it’s a small project or a big multi-room overhaul, consider the cost of the overall project vs the added value the project will add to your home. Kitchens are the biggest selling point in homes and renovations in this space bring in the biggest bang for your buck. Bathrooms are also worth tackling if resale value is a strong consideration.
So that said, if you’re ready to take on a renovation, the steps below will help get you started!
1. Make a plan
You may want to renovate your bathroom, but be specific about what that means to you – if you’re looking at replacing your bathtub, you’ll want to make sure you have the square footage so that you don’t end up with a tub that doesn’t fit, or plumbing in the wrong place and not enough flooring to fit around your new tub.
Pro Tip: Decide on the specifics of your renovation, measure and measure again, and if you’re planning major structural work like taking down walls, bring in the experts!
2. Think about how you use your space
While resale value is a great reason to invest in your home, don’t get too lost focusing on the next owner of your home that you sacrifice your needs and how you make use of your space. If you have children or pets, luxury vinyl or tile floors probably make more sense than hardwood floors. And while open floor plans are all the rage, it may not work for you or your lifestyle if having dedicated rooms and more privacy works better for you.
Pro Tip: Think about the pain points in your current day-to-day life and how your space flows. What would be improved and what would make your life easier?
3. Set a budget
Once you’ve decided on exactly what you want, it’s time to set your budget. You may be surprised to find that most homeowners underestimate the cost of a renovation. A good way to estimate what your project might cost you is to do some window shopping in your local hardware store or get a formal quote from a contractor. Do this BEFORE getting too excited and taking a sledgehammer to your kitchen counters!
Pro Tip: Factor in temporary housing if you’ll have to be out of your home during renovations, and always ask contractors for a formal on-paper estimate – don’t rely on a text or verbal quote.
4. Determine order of priority
Tackling a full renovation all at once can be overwhelming and financially (and mentally) straining. If your plan is to renovation your kitchen, a bathroom and your living room, consider starting with the kitchen. Since upgrading your home takes a lot of time and work, homeowners sometimes lose their steam in the chaos, especially if you’re attempting multiple projects at once.
Pro Tip: If you set a schedule and stick to it, it will help you stay on task and view your progress.
5. Order materials
The last thing you want is to make a plan, set a budget, create a schedule and for all that to go out the window because the dream countertop you had your heart set on is on back order and will delay your project by weeks.
Pro Tip: If there’s a material or piece you really have your set on, first make sure it will fit in your space and then order it early!
6. Address permits
Certain upgrades require city building permits that can take weeks to come through. Making sure that your home is up to code and regulations is important not only for your safety, but for future resale or financing of your home.
Pro Tip: Hiring an architect or contractor that is familiar with permits and building codes will save you the hassle of trying to figure it out yourself. Many are able to expedite the process for you.
7. Be realistic about your timeline
Your project will almost certainly take longer than you think it will. Be patient and plan for alternate living arrangements if living in a half-finished home with workers constantly coming in and out is too much and will disrupt your everyday life. Between weather delays, material delays, permit delays and unexpected issues (see below!), there are many ways your project can get sidetracked and delayed, so prepare for the worst!
Pro Tip: Consider upcoming events that will require your full attention (an upcoming open house for example) and make your timeline clear from the onset. But be prepared if things don’t go according to plan.
8. Expect the unexpected
As mentioned above, even the best laid plans can go sideways when it comes to home renovations. Give yourself some extra budget space and plan for more time than scheduled to help anticipate issues and delays: It’s better to be pleasantly surprised than disappointed and frustrated!
Pro Tip: Have a contingency plan in case you have unexpected delays causing your project to get pushed back. Ask for formal estimates for every job and don’t crowd-source your design choices unless you’re prepared to second guess your decisions and get stuck in limbo!