Even if you’re not DIYing it, a home renovation is a big undertaking. A successful renovation involves careful planning, thoughtful decision-making and other important considerations before you dive in. So before you start that demo, we recommend making a solid plan. Use this home renovation checklist to ensure you’re ready to get started.
Make Your Plan
The first step of the renovation process is figuring out a solid plan for what you’d like to have done. A carefully thought-out renovation plan should include:
- Budget: Setting a budget for your renovation is essential. Be sure to factor in the cost of materials as well as labor, and be as specific as possible for accuracy. Keep in mind that “surprise” expenses may crop up if hidden problems are found during the project, such as water damage or plumbing issues. It’s a good idea to pad your budget by about 10-20% to account for potential extra costs so you aren’t left with a partially completed kitchen due to financing issues.
- Priority List: What aspects of the project are most important to you? Make a list of “must-haves” versus “wants,” to help your contractor prioritize. If it comes down to a budget issue, are there items you can live without? Are you dead-set on the granite countertops but willing to compromise on cabinet styles? These are things to decide on from the get-go.
- Deadline: Many people don’t think about this, but talking with your contractor(s) about a project deadline is important. Let them know the timeframe you have to work with so they can confirm it fits with their schedule. On that note, be sure to keep a line of communication open between different groups of contractors, such as your plumbers, electricians and installers.
Do Your Research
The next step in preparing for your home renovation is doing the research on local contractors and getting a few estimates to compare. Some tips and thoughts on this stage of the process:
- Ask for referrals. Check with friends, family members and neighbors to find out if anyone can recommend a contractor they had a good experience with.
- Check reviews. Online, you can usually find plenty of reviews and testimonials to help you narrow down your search for a reliable contractor. You can also track down important credentials like whether they’re licensed and insured for the type of work you need done.
- Interview contractors. Once you’ve narrowed your list of potential contractors to 2-3 options, schedule an appointment for an estimate. The contractor will visit the site, take photos and measurements, and provide you with a quote for labor. They will also ask plenty of questions to get a good sense of what you’re looking for in your renovation. In addition, you should feel free to ask the contractors questions. Be sure to ask about references, licenses, permits and contact information.
There are also a few factors that many homeowners might forget about when it comes to home renovations. Make sure to address these questions before you get started:
- Living Arrangements: How will the renovation affect your living arrangements? If it’s a multiple-room remodel, can you stay with a loved one for the duration of the project? If your home’s only bathroom is being renovated, are you able to use a neighbor’s? If you have small kids, is grandma available to care for them during construction?
- Storage: Do you have a safe place to store dishes, furniture and décor during the renovation? You may wish to utilize a storage unit, rent a portable storage container or store items in a room that’s not being renovated.
- Permits: Have you contacted local authorities about any necessary permits and licenses for the project?
Once your renovation is planned and you’ve hired someone to do the job, all that’s left is to have patience and watch your project come to life.