How To Plan for Home Renovations

Sutton Quantum

How to Plan for Home Renovations

Is 2019 the year you transform your home? Maybe you’re going to upgrade your countertops to a timeless granite or update your tired electrical wiring. The possibilities are endless!

What is not endless, however, are the funds available to make your home look like something from a magazine, the time available to make said changes, or the know-how to execute everything flawlessly. Home renovations vary based on all kinds of life changes, tastes, and lifestyles, but one element every successful reno has is a solid plan. Here we have a step-by-step guide to making one and staying on task throughout the entire process.


First Considerations

Besides creating a vision board for your dream home, there are other important factors you should consider before starting on any remodeling project. Naturally, the larger your home is, the greater potential there is for a higher costing renovation. Large spaces take more materials and time to overhaul. Your home’s age can also factor into your renovation plan, as you have a higher chance of finding outdated material in an older property.

There are few things that will shut down a renovation project quicker than not having the correct permit (or multiple permits in some cases) for the task at hand. Skipping out on potential permits could earn you a hefty fine, halt your project, and force you to revert your space to its pre-reno stage. Give yourself peace of mind knowing you are working within the existing by-laws and regulations.

Set Your Goals

Write down a list of goals you want to accomplish with the renovation. Don’t think about a budget yet, that comes later. The point is just to get your thoughts on paper and decide which aspects are must haves, nice-to-haves, and things you could actually live without.

The more specific your goals are, the better! Instead of writing down “renovate the bathroom,” itemize which elements you would like to change. To estimate costs, you need to get a handle on how extensive your plan will be.

Determine What (And Who) You Need

Once you have your list of goals, you’ll have to determine what kind of professional help you will need. Any building or remodel, for example, will usually require contractors who will hire and supervise a construction crew. If your renovation is structural or involves new changes in shape and size, you may need an architect or design firm that will advise you on zoning and regulations in your area. If you are doing interior redesign, you may want to hire a designer. Changes to plumbing or wiring usually require a plumber or electrician, respectively.

If it’s a smaller renovation, you may want to hire individual workers. For instance, if you only want to add shelving and fresh paint to a room, a handyperson, carpenter or painter may be all you need.

While it’s estimated that approximately 85 percent of home renovations employ professional help, many homeowners opt for a DIY approach. This can be gratifying (not to mention budget-friendly), but only if If you are handy and are sure you know the correct steps and have the right equipment to get the job done properly.

Whether you need skid steers for moving dirt of compactors to set the ground, your local equipment store will likely have equipment available to rent for whatever project you have in mind. A word of caution though, if you have to admit defeat and hire a professional after starting a renovation, it could end up more expensive in the long run.


Get Estimates

Call three professionals of every type and ask for cost estimates. If you are remodeling your kitchen, call three contractors, explain what you are looking for and ask for estimates. This is as much a part of their process as of yours, and gives you an opportunity to see if they can meet simple tasks on time and in sufficient detail before hiring them.

You want cost estimates to be comparable, so be sure to give all three the same list to estimate. If one contractor is asked to estimate granite countertops and one is asked about tile, you will not be able to tell how inexpensive or costly the granite may have been among the three.

When you research professionals, ask friends and family for references and look at reviews online.

Finally, be honest with them and with yourself about your budget. You do not want to engage contractors for more than you can spend, so let them know upfront how much you have to work with. Quality professionals will help you by making suggestions about how to work within your budget. Perhaps a full kitchen remodel will be within your means if you use a laminate flooring rather than wood, or hold off on new appliances until next year.


Review and Revise if Necessary

After you get all the quotes, go over each and compare them. Be critical but fair.

If the estimates came in well within your budget with the 20 percent contingency included, all is well and good. Pick the best person from the references you called. Be sure to factor in price, rapport, and quality.

It is also common at this point to need to revise renovation plans. If the quotes are above your budget, there are many ways to make it work, including DIY options or scaling back.

Consider Cost-Saving Methods

Suppliers will often charge less for floor models or models about to go out of production. Do your homework and check for stores having clearances or seasonal sales. If you can time the purchase of tile, carpet or flooring to a sale, why not?

Ask if your professionals are amenable to discount pricing in their less busy months. Contractors, for example, are often heavily booked in the late spring and summer when most people want renovations. They may be less busy in the fall or winter, and therefore may be more inclined to negotiate.