Creating a water-tight game plan is crucial when working on home improvements or renovations. Four fundamental steps should typically be followed in order to build a successful renovation plan. First, gather ideas and concepts for your home. Next, calculate your budget. Third, recruit your renovation team and, finally, establish a realistic timeline. Following these steps will create a strong foundation for your project, helping eliminate potential issues for first-time renovators.
Before any home renovation, start building your own personal catalogue of concepts and ideas. A couple of great tools to aid you in sifting through home design ideas are websites such as Pinterest and Houzz. Other avenues include home improvement magazines, showrooms, and local open houses. When visiting a showroom or store, look through samples. Don’t be afraid to bring them home, as color matching and lighting will sometimes be different. Some important questions to ask yourself are: Who will be using the space the most? How will it be used? What is the overall feel I want to accomplish? When answering these questions, be realistic and honest with yourself. Doing this will help you create a great space that truly fits you and/or your family’s needs.
After you have determined a concept, focus your attention on creating a budget. This is an incredibly important parameter to establish as it dictates the financial limits of your project. We recommend obtaining estimates from at least three contractors, not only for price comparison but also to become familiar with material and labor costs. Once you have received these estimates, prioritize and trim your to-do list. Often, the price tag of the homeowners’ wants exceeds their budget. As a rule of thumb, add an additional 15-20% to your budget. This will give you a safety net for unexpected costs that often surface during construction.
In your pursuit to find contractors, utilize the internet, friends and family. A great online source is Angie’s List, where you can find licensed contractors and also check their references and testimonials. Knowing someone who has already established a relationship with a contractor can be extremely helpful, so ask any family or friends who have had renovations as to whom they would recommend. After you have found a potential contractor, check out their current projects to become better acquainted with their quality of work.
Once your contractors have been selected, prepare a schedule with them. Work with them to create a realistic timeline and establish an expected completion date that is understood by all parties. By doing this you will better familiarize yourself with the process. Make sure to keep records of all estimates, permits, and contracts, and only allow work to start once you have documentation of your approval. If in any case you must request a modification to the scope of work, also known as a change order, document these revisions as well. Lastly, confirm that all touch-ups or fixes are complete before submitting your final payment.
It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed by all of the moving pieces involved in a home renovation. However, don’t fret! If you properly use the resources around you, the tasks will be less daunting. Before and throughout the renovation process, continuously educate yourself by looking up do-it-yourself instructional videos and articles. By following these guidelines, you will feel less overwhelmed and have a better vantage point to spot any potential issues. Always remember to be flexible and listen to your contractors. Most importantly, don’t lose sight of the end goal and what you are setting out to accomplish!