Where Do You Start When Renovating – 2024 Guide

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A home renovation is one of the biggest and most important jobs a homeowner will ever do. It can be such a big and important job that the homeowner might initially be in a state of paralysis over what to do first and how to organize the whole effort. While a home renovation can be complicated, it can be made more manageable by planning ahead and managing your expectations. Home improvement shows might lead you to expect that a home renovation is a fast, smooth, and seamless process, but that is rarely the case, and if you start your renovation prepared for some setbacks, you will be a lot less surprised and upset if they happen.

But if you prepare your plans and your budget accordingly, then there will be a much smaller chance of any significant delays or setbacks occurring. One of the ways to make sure that neither of those things happen is to hire the right contractor to manage the process. You will want to hire someone with a good reputation who is known for doing work that looks good, functions well, and lasts for a long time. You can read more here if you want to know how a good contractor can help you.

Of course, you can always do it yourself, but it could be time-consuming and impair quality. To learn more, here are a few helpful guides when starting your home improvement project.

Make a Detailed Plan

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A home renovation can seem overwhelming at first but if you take things step by step it can make the whole process more manageable. Start by going room by room to find out what needs to be updated; you should consider every part of the room, the walls, ceiling, floor, utilities, and furnishing and determine what needs to be done to each of them. While going through each of the rooms, think more about the problems rather than the solutions, in other words, consider why you wanted to start the renovation in the first place.

The trinity of home design is space, light, and storage so you need to think about those factors when it comes to each room. You should also consider how each room is being used and by whom. If a homeowner has a large family, then they will have different priorities than someone who has a smaller family. There is also the consideration of whether the homeowner plans to resell the home in a few years, if that is the case, then they might choose certain things that will add value to the house even if they do not plan to use them much. 

Once you go room by room and figure out what your priorities are and the reason why you want to renovate the house in the first place, you will be well on your way to having a detailed plan of action for the renovation.

Allocate Your Budget

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It goes without saying that the budget is one of the most important aspects of a home renovation. Once you have gone through each room and decided what needs to be done, you will need to see if your budget can support those choices. You will likely have to make some cuts as you put your budget together and if that is the case, then you should take out the things that you want but do not necessarily need and prioritize the things that are absolutely necessary. 

When you are deciding on your budget, it should be slightly bigger than what you need. The reason is that you will need to have some set aside in case of emergencies. Even with the best and most thorough planning, there are unexpected things that could go wrong. You might realize that a utility fixture is outdated or dangerous and needs to be replaced, for example. Anything can happen and you will need to set aside some of your budget in case an unexpected emergency crops up. With any luck you will not need it and will have some extra money when the renovation is complete.

Choose the Right Contractor

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Even though there might be a few things that you can do yourself, you should leave the bulk of the renovation job to professionals. There are some tasks, such as the more complex demolition and plumbing and electrical work that should be left to the pros. That is why it is important that you hire the right pros for the job. You might be tempted to choose the contractor that offers the lowest price in order to save money, but that could end up costing you in the long run. 

The reason is that some contractors keep their price low by hiring low skilled, inexperienced workers and cut corners by using substandard materials. That means they could end up doing  a job that looks good at first, but eventually starts to fall apart. You could end up spending even more money to fix the job that should have been done right in the first place. You should do the research by checking customer reviews and consulting with anyone you know who has recently hired a contractor to do work around their home.

It is also very important that the contractor you hire is licensed, bonded and insured. That will ensure that you are not on the hook if they end up doing something wrong and gives you a higher guarantee that they will do a good job. This does not mean that you have to hire the most expensive contractor, but you should try to find a balance between affordable cost and good work.

Get The Right Permits

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While some home improvements can be done without official government approval, there are some that require permits. If they do, then you need to get the right ones before undergoing the renovation. If you don’t and the renovation projects are found to be in violation of local laws by an inspector, then you could be fined and be forced to remove the renovation at your own expense. Anything that changes the footprint of the house, involves modifications to the plumbing or electrics, or huge structural changes commonly need a permit before they can be done.

If you are unsure of what needs a permit and what does not, then you can find out via two different methods. You can consult with your contractor and ask them what projects will need a permit; you can also contact your city offices and tell them what your renovation plans are and they will tell you whether you need a permit or not. You may need to check with the county or state to find out if you need permits from them as well.

Consider Builder’s Risk Insurance

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If you are doing a large project, then you should think about getting builder’s risk insurance. It will cover the loss of property due to factors like vandalism, theft, or natural disasters. You should also check your homeowner’s insurance policy to find out what it covers and whether you will need any additional insurance.

Plan Ahead Before You Start Your Renovations

As long as you make a plan, stick to it, and set aside some of your budget for the unexpected, you will make your home renovation project much more manageable. A home renovation is always a big project that can be stressful and intense, but one that is ultimately worth it once you see the results. So make sure that you make the right preparations before you get started on your big home renovation.