When it’s time to renovate, follow these steps to get started

by | Mar 1, 2023 | Blog, Remodeling / Do-It-Yourself Projects | 0 comments

The bathroom sink is cracked. The kitchen counter is made of a material that was popular during the Nixon administration. And the TV room paneling was installed long before that.

Seems like it’s time for one of those amazing home renovations you see on TV.

But first, a reality check on what’s involved: “When you zone out to a home-renovation show on television or flip through a design magazine, what you’re seeing is a highlight reel – a long and arduous project summed up in a zippy, 30-minute episode or a breezy 500-word article,” notes 5280 magazine.

By contrast, a successful renovation takes meticulous planning and hard work. If you’re still thinking of jumping in, here are the first steps to take:

Define the scope of the work in writing. It’s important to get it on paper. Be precise, including the types of materials you’re hoping to incorporate into the remodel, your design inspiration, and every other detail of your vision. The better your outline of the work, the more accurate any bid will be.

Get at least three bids from reputable people or companies. “To compare bids, ask everyone to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins and other expenses, notes This Old House website. This will help you compare apples to apples and make a better decision.

Add padding to the budget. No matter what you think the project will cost, it nearly always costs more. Due to the length of the project, there can be changes in the cost of materials. You might also want to upgrade finishes, and so on. Many experts suggest adding 10 to 20% for unexpected expenses.

Add padding to the timeline. We hate to sound like a broken record, but the timeline is much like the budget issue: No matter how long you think the project will take, it nearly always takes longer – sometimes much longer. Prepare yourself mentally for the challenge and the daily changes that come with having your home turned upside down.

Factor in the time it takes to get permits. Despite the timeline that city officials give you for getting all or your permits, it can—and often does—take longer. Apply early and add extra days for the process in your project timeline.

Once you decide on a contractor, have a candid discussion. Talk about how price changes will be handled, the contractor’s preferred communication style (text? email?), how often you can expect workers to show up (daily? a few times a week?), the contractor’s expectations for you (can you be in the home while work is being done? When does he or she expect you to have all of your design choices picked out? And so on). The more you can discuss up front, the smoother your renovation is likely to proceed.

Get started. Ultimately, undergoing a home renovation involves taking a leap of faith. You learn as you go. Do your homework, hire the best people you can find, and jump into the fray. When it’s all over, you’ll be happy you did.

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