Getting your renovation wrong can be very expensive causing you to purchase materials, supplies, and fixtures all over again. It also extends the timeline and can be very stressful. With just a little planning and diligence on your end, it’s completely possible to get your renovation right the first go around. Don’t believe us? Keep reading. Below are some of our best tips for getting it right the first time.
DEFINE YOUR END GOAL
Before you decide how extensively you want to renovate and the investment you want to make, you need to know what your end goal is for your home. Are you renovating to raise the resale value of your home, or will you be staying put for years to come? Before you begin consider the value of homes in your neighborhood and which renovations may be a good return on investment. Keep in mind, very few remodeling projects will return 100% of your investment, so the decision to remodel should be more about your enjoyment of your home and getting more out of it. For any space, think about your family’s lifestyle, and spend more on the areas that support those priorities. Having a specific plan in place will help you stay on track throughout the process.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
DIY renos are a great way to save money, have a sense of accomplishment, and involve the entire family, but they can turn disastrous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Although some renovations make for great DIY projects, you should avoid this common mistake because once you start you are likely to realize you do not have the time, skill, and even the tools necessary for the job.
HIRE THE RIGHT CONTRACTOR
Any good contractor will have no problem providing references, and copies of liability insurance before a job begins. However, not every contractor who is licensed is capable of doing a good job. Do proper vetting by asking for referrals and reading reviews and testimonials. For any project, ask to see before and after images of a contractor’s prior work, and most importantly—trust your gut and know which questions to ask.
GET A PERMIT
Some remodeling projects require permits and others do not. You should discuss zoning, code and permits with your contractor — these are boxes that need to be checked before the commencement of the project. Building permits are necessary to ensure your house remodel meets structural, sanitation, fire and safety requirements and code inspectors in most jurisdictions can make you rip out non-conforming work if not up to snuff. It can also create a very expensive headache when looking to sell your home down the road.
MAKE UP YOUR MIND AND STICK TO IT
Avoid second guessing yourself once the project starts. Simple changes, like moving the location of a light switch may seem minor, but could prove to be quite complicated. Changes, even the smallest of them, have cost implications and could extend the timeline. If you keep adding to your project’s to-do list — or changing your mind about what you want midway through — it’s going to come at an added cost.
TRUST YOUR CONTRACTOR
As the owner of the home, you know exactly what you want, but contractors are experts when it comes to the job and there should be mutual respect. Communication is key. Prior to and during the course of construction it’s all about communication. When your contractor understands your needs and expectations, then they can lead the construction team effectively. This will reduce confusion and prevent the construction process from slowing down. Even when things are not going how you want, find an amicable way of handling the issue.
STAY ON BUDGET
Knowing your budget—and sticking to it—is one of the most important parts of renovation planning. It is best to clearly set a limit before the reno begins so that you don’t feel strained once the renovation is complete. The more you can tell your contractor about what you want the end product to look like, the closer they’ll get to a realistic estimate. A reputable contractor will also recommend cost saving measures before you sign a contract. Whatever your budget, you should have 10% of the cost as a buffer.
Renovations are no small undertaking and should be handled responsibly. Once you make a plan, take steps to stick to it. Ultimately, that’s how dream homes are made.