Categories: Home Renovation

How to Start a Home Renovation

You’ve wanted a brand-new gourmet kitchen for years, and the time is finally right. You’re ready to get started…or are you? In order for your project to be successful, you need to know how to start a home renovation the right way – and that’s with proper planning. The following steps will help you get your home renovation kicked off in an organized fashion.

How to Start a Home Renovation 

Lay Out Your Goals

“I want a fabulous new kitchen” is pretty general. By identifying the goals you hope to accomplish with a renovation, you’ll be in a better position to communicate with your contractor so that they can lay out a plan that will fit your needs. Do you need more storage space? Are your current counter-tops too cramped and crowded to give you ample work room? Are there specific new appliances that you’d like to add into your new kitchen design? Would you like to create in-kitchen seating — perhaps around a bar or kitchen island?

Make a list and prioritize your needs, as well as your wants. This will help you with the next step. 

Create a Budget

Talk to anyone who understands how to start a home renovation and they’ll tell you the importance of setting and sticking to a budget. Whether you’ve saved a specific amount ahead of time or will be obtaining financing for the renovation, you must have a clear number in mind and not take a “fly by the seat of your pants” attitude. Budget out everything that will be needed to complete the project, from electrical outlet covers, light switches and fixtures, appliances, flooring, and other assorted materials. You’ll also need to factor in labor costs.

Finally — and this is important — budget in an extra 10 percent above what you expect the total cost to be. This will give you a bit of wiggle room if unexpected emergency expenses should arise. 

Plan a Timeline

Home renovations are exciting, but they can also be disruptive — especially if you’re updating one of the main areas of your home. It’s important to understand how long a home renovation project will take. This will help you plan the best time to start the project (beginning a complete kitchen remodel one month before Thanksgiving, for example, is likely a recipe for disaster).

Check Your Homeowners Insurance

Some insurance companies have very specific rules around home renovations, so as you plan your project, check with them to make sure you aren’t doing anything that may affect your coverage. They may require you to only work with licensed contractors to do things like plumbing and electrical work, for example, or they may require a home inspection after the renovation is finished.

Talk to a Contractor

One of the best pieces of advice regarding how to start a home renovation is to talk to a contractor as soon as possible. They can help you with every step of the process, from determining what you’d really like to get out of the project to setting a budget and developing a realistic timeline. Whether you’re updating a single room or planning a home addition, a contractor will be able to guide you in the right direction and even give you ideas and inspiration that you may not have considered before.

Make Arrangements for Living/Cooking/Sleeping

Depending on the extent of the home renovation project, you may experience a bit of hardship (five family members sharing one bathroom!) or need to move out of your home entirely until the renovation is complete. Talk with your contractor to determine the extent to which your day-to-day life will be affected in order to plan ahead. You may need to eat dinners out for several weeks or may need to secure temporary housing for your family and pets.

Whether your upcoming project will be large or small, understanding how to start a home renovation will help you with the planning process … meaning that the project will get off on the right foot from the very beginning.

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