Before starting any home remodeling project, you need a plan.
One of the biggest remodeling mistakes homeowners make is skipping the planning phase and rushing straight into a project.
While home project planning is a tedious process, it will help you make the most of your time and money. Follow the steps below to ensure your remodel meets and exceeds your expectations without making a lot of mistakes along the way.
4 Steps to a Foolproof Home Renovation Project Plan
1. Decide What You Want
Part of planning a home project is deciding what you want it to look like.
Whether you’re converting a bathtub into a walk-in shower or building an in-law suite, having a better understanding of how you want the finished product to look and feel will help make decisions on budget, design and materials easier.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, clip images from magazines, play around with home design software or check out Houzz, Fresh Home, The Spruce, House Beautiful and other design sites.
2. Create a Realistic Budget
The next step in your home remodeling project plan is to create a budget.
Once you’ve decided the scope of your project and what features and finishes you want, figure out how much money you have available to spend. Spoiler alert: what you want and how much you can afford don’t always agree with one another.
Keep in mind that renovations don’t guarantee returns, and spending more on an upscale renovation isn’t necessarily a better investment than spending less on a midrange project.
How to Budget for a Home Remodel
- Figure out how much you have to spend: After you’ve decided what you want, determine whether or not you have enough money to cover the costs. Look at your wish list and prioritize needs versus wants.
- Assess the condition of your home: As a general rule of thumb, the older the home, the more hidden costs you’re likely to find behind your doors and walls.
- Check what permits your city requires: In addition to protecting your home and family, getting the necessary permits will ensure you won’t have to redo any of the work. The last thing you want is to run out of money in the middle of a project.
To avoid going over budget, add up your expenses before you start.
3. Get Written Estimates
Planning a home remodeling project involves getting estimates from remodeling companies or general contractors.
Before you start researching contractors in your area, get recommendations from family and friends about whom they hired for their remodeling projects. Compile a list of several contractors you may want to hire, but don’t let price be the deciding factor. Before hiring a contractor, consider the following:
- Years of experience: A contractor who’s been doing business for a long time makes them a safer bet than one who is new to the business.
- Contracting license: Make sure your contractor has gone through all the steps needed to obtain any required certifications specific to their line of work.
- Certificate of insurance: Contractors should have workers’ compensation and liability insurance for the type of work they perform.
- Timeline for completion: It’s important to know when contractors will start and complete a project, and if there are any circumstances that may affect that schedule.
- Payment schedule: A reputable contractor won’t ask you to pay the full price upfront, and the Better Business Bureau advises not to. However, it’s important to discuss payment terms before construction begins. In some cases, it’s better to spend a little extra to get someone you’re comfortable working with.
4. Map Out Your Schedule
Depending on the scope of your project, a home renovation can run anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. As a result, you can expect your day-to-day life to be impacted in some capacity.
If the contractor you hire doesn’t provide their own timeline or project plan for your home renovation, you should make your own and share it with them.
Planning on having major work done to your kitchen? You’ll have to find somewhere else to eat. Renovating the master bedroom? You’ll have to make sleeping arrangements. Whether or not you should live in your home during construction depends on what work is being done, as well as these renovation realities.
Generally, the bigger the project, the longer it will take
Now that you know how to plan a home remodel successfully, your time and money will be well spent.
Planning a home remodeling project of your own? Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to saving time and money. Have a few more tips on how to plan a home remodel? Let us know in the comments! For more home DIY tips, take a look at the home improvement section of our blog.