So, you’re thinking about trying your hand at a fixer upper, huh? Home renovations are a great idea to get more enjoyment out of your space – not to mention boost the resale value of your home. But before you let the excitement get the best of you, you need to prepare for the job at hand.
Renovating your home can be a major undertaking, even if you’re just improving one room. And if it’s your first time or you may be a little rusty, then it’s especially worth formulating a realistic game plan before the hammer hits the nail.
Here is our pre-renovation checklist to make sure everything runs smoothly, safely, on time, and on budget.
Step 1: Decide which room to renovate
Your first job is determining which room you want to renovate and what the needs are based on. Maybe you have an unfinished basement that you want to bring to life or maybe you’d like to knock out a couple walls for better flow from your kitchen to your living room. Whatever the case may be, you’ll want to figure out which room to start with.
If you’re planning on renovating multiple rooms, start with the one that will recoup your remodelling costs and create the most equity. Typically, experts agree that remodelling your kitchen or bathroom first is the smartest move.
Based on what you want to do to each room, you’ll be able to decide whether you’re going down the DIY route or if you’ll hire a contractor. In most cases, major renovations should be left in the hands of professionals.
Step 2: Determine the age of your home
Age isn’t just a number. At least, not in the home building and remodelling industry. Knowing when your property was built before you begin refurbishing it will help you get the best results, and determining the age of your house is not something you want to gamble on.
Older houses are almost never built in one go or all at the same time. Additions are usually added, roofs are raised, porches are redesigned, and the list goes on. Try to identify the architectural style of your house, examine the physical evidence, and ask around or check the property title.
The renovations you do can impact the build quality of your home, its foundation, and the condition of the materials, so it’s vital to assess your home for existing damage and wear and tear. Once you address all the maintenance issues (even the ones hidden by the naked eye, like asbestos), then you can move on to the next step.
Step 3: Work out the renovation costs & plan properly with the right design team
Save yourself the future trouble and ensure you do the right amount of planning for the design process so you can be confident in your decisions. Depending on your project and what you want done, there may be specific design requirements that should be assessed by a professional to determine a clear scope of work. This is critical so that you can get the most accurate estimate for your project instead of ballparking it, or worse, missing the mark entirely.
One of the hardest things homeowners wrestle with is being realistic about the costs. Spend some time to think about what you can afford to do, which may dictate when you can start your project. Make a realistic budget based on the opinions of trustworthy professionals to ensure everything is accounted for pre-renovation.
You may even decide to get multiple proposals for your renovation. However, keep in mind who you hire should not only be based on the competency of the contractor but their values and if they align with yours. Great contractors will have your best interest at heart and will guide you through the planning process to help you make sound decisions. These are the teams that you can rely on to see the job through.
Getting your hands on one to three proposals is typical, but don’t overdo it, as too much information could distract you from important decisions or overcomplicate the project by bringing too many opinions to the table. Factor in everything, from structural work like framing and finishing touches like painting to the final clean for a turnkey result. Our advice is always to leave room for unexpected expenses. Having a 5–20% contingency gives you that breathing space in cases something goes wrong or arises during your reno.
Step 4: Find the best contractor for your reno
Consider your own skills carefully. Are you equipped to handle a project of your size? Do you have the know-how to complete your renovation on time? While it’s certainly possible to knock out a great DIY renovation, some projects require specialized skills. And practical experience beats saving a few thousand dollars when you know it will last you in the long run. To help avoid making costly mistakes, hire a professional home contractor to do the job.
So there you have it – the beginner’s checklist to prepare for your home renovation. If you need a helping hand or trusted advice, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We’ll walk you through the home renovation process step by step, so you can achieve your vision both on time and on budget.