How to Start a Home Renovation
As with many things – exercise, studying, a big work project, or maybe even just folding your laundry: the first step is the hardest part. When it comes to a home renovation, which is for many the biggest investment in their assets that will ever be made, that principle is more true than ever. If you’re thinking of undertaking the joys (and to be honest, the occasional stresses) of a home renovation – well, where is the best place to start?
Before you even begin, ample preparations are the best way to ensure you enjoy the experience as much as possible, and more importantly, enjoy the final outcome without any hints of buyers’ regret – an unfortunately common feeling at the end of an ill-planned renovation. For many, the best first place to begin is with your budget. Home renovations are notorious for blowing budgets and causing a lot of financial stress, plus it’s hard to even begin shopping without a rock solid understanding of what you have to work with. There’s really no way to begin comparing materials and features without having a budget to reference, so definitely take that as the first place you can start to feel well prepared for all the steps to come. As a final recommendation in regards to your budget, we suggest ensuring you have an additional cushion that you don’t intend to spend, but can call upon if any unexpected expenses crop up – knowing that you have a financial margin for error is sure to reduce stress for the duration of your renovation process.
On the topics of finances, we advise beginning your renovation where you will see the greatest return on investment for your efforts should you ever decide to sell in the future. If there’s something you want updated for your own personal happiness, by all means, begin there! But practically speaking, it’s also great to know you’ll get those dollars back if you ever decide to sell. In many cases, the kitchen is a great place to begin! Kitchens sell a home like nearly no other single aspect of a property, so making sure the heart of your home will entice potential future sellers is a great strategy. Even if you don’t have any plans to sell, we tend to spend more time in the kitchen than any other space in the house, so you owe it to yourself to make sure it’s something perfectly suited to your wants and needs. Other suggestions that have tried and true ROIs include: fiberglass attic insulation, bathroom upgrades, siding replacement, and stone veneers.
Once you have a budget and a general idea of the projects you want to undertake, a great next step to get the ball rolling is finding your contractor. Don’t be afraid to interview multiple professionals and prepare a list of questions beforehand. A few important things to review is their insurance (you do not want to be held liable for an unexpected injury), and ask them about their typical work-style – everybody will be happier with realistic expectations when it comes to timelines and communications, plus you want to make sure it’s a personality you’ll be happy working with over an extended period of time. Also, establish a payment plan and never pay a professional upfront for work that hasn’t been completed, but also keep in mind this is their source of income as well. A fair strategy is to offer a solid down payment, followed by additional installations as progress is made, and paying off the difference at the very end.
Once you have a budget, a plan, and a contractor to bring it all to life – congratulations, your home renovation is officially started! It’s important to continue doing research as judgment calls and opportunities present themselves, but also recognize there is an unavoidable element of “learning as you go” when it comes to living through a remodel. Although there is bound to be some moments of stress, nothing will outweigh the joy of living in your newly renovated home that is designed to fit your personal tastes!