4 Things To Do Before Starting a Home Renovation

Planning a home renovation is exciting, but there are a few things you should consider before starting your next one.

A successful home renovation will not only require creativity, money, and a good team; it will require patience and a lot of forethought. In this blog, we’re going to cover 4 things you need to do if you want your home renovation to go smoothly.

1. Consider Time and Financial Constraints

The most important rule is to budget for setbacks. Since COVID, our supply lines have been under a lot of pressure, and some believe it will take years to get back to pre-COVID levels. So, it’s more important than ever to prepare for setbacks and delays. Even materials like concrete—a material you’d think we’d have in abundance—has seen shortages. So how can you avoid these headaches?

By planning. What we suggest is making a wish list with your goals, your budget , and your backup plan. Then, we need to work on your architectural drawings, so that your contractor knows what to quote/what they are building. This will ensure the most important aspects of your renovation are completed first and you’re not waiting on materials.

Your wish list doesn’t need to be exhaustive. First make a list of requirements for your renovation; once that is done, go through the list and mark items as “nice to have” or “must have.” Consider this example:

You’re building a new living room because your family is growing, and you need some more space. You want a nice large living room, and you’d love to include a gas fireplace to help with heating and ambiance. The “must have” is the family room itself. You need the family room—of course. But do you need the fireplace? Maybe not. So, we’d consider that a “nice to have.” If you want to delineate further. You could have “must haves,” “nice to haves,” and “future dated.”

“Must haves” will always be completed, “nice to haves” will be completed if there are resources available, and “future dated” are those requirements that you don’t plan on tackling right now but need to consider. A “future dated” requirement could be something like built-in cabinetry.

2. Make Sure You Pick the Right Contractor

You’ll hear marketers and business owners say word of mouth is the best way to grow your business—and they’re right. But word of mouth isn’t just useful for business owners. It’s also the best way to find recommendations. Ask friends, family, coworkers, or even strangers on the internet for their experiences with certain contractors or with renovations they’ve had completed.

Understand what you expect from a contractor. Ask your friends and family what they liked specifically about their contractor, because what makes for a good relationship for them, may not work for you. Some people like to be in constant contact with their contractor, and others like to sign the contract and not be contacted until it's all done. Of course, you want to pick a talented contractor, but personality fit is also important.

And don’t just go with whoever you called first. Even if you really like them, still call the other names on your list, and do some background research. It’s good that you’ve gotten this recommendation, and it’s good that you like this contractor, but there’s more to be done to protect yourself. You can:

  • Confirm their credentials
  • Check their references. Good contractors will be happy to provide you with past projects for you to review
  • Pay attention to the questions they ask you. Good contractors will ask you questions about your project
  • Get it in writing. Ensure you have a written quote and a written contract, so you know what the contractor is supplying and responsible for, and what you are responsible for

3. Avoid Indecision

When you begin your to-do list, you may start to realize how many decisions there are to make. You may even discover that there are questions that need to be answered that you don’t have answers for. Decision paralysis is a real phenomenon and is very common when trying to plan renovations.

As we mentioned before, the supply line is struggling at the moment. So, indecision can be very damaging to a project nowadays. Indecision can have you missing out on materials and send you back into a decision-making spiral. It’s often said that indecision is the biggest delay in construction.

If you completed our first step and have outlined your budget, the next quest is: can you afford an interior designer? Paying someone else to go through the hassle of mood boarding can be an easy solution to this problem. However, if you’re someone who gets anxious about not being in control of something as precious as your house, it may be best to forgo an interior designer.

If you’re doing it by yourself. Here are some quick tips to avoid indecision. Ask yourself:

  • If a decision can be changed later. Not every decision is cast in iron—don’t fret about decisions that can be changed later, such as paint.
  • If you’re being a perfectionist. If your design isn’t exactly as you imagined it, if the perfect material isn’t available, is that worth derailing the rest of the project?
  • If you’re making too many decisions at once. Are you trying to conceptualize the entire project in your head right now? Write your decisions down and make them one at a time.
4. Allow Time for Materials

Of course you want to start your project tomorrow. Of course you want to be able to enjoy your new renovation as soon as possible—but that isn’t realistic. Projects need to be planned well in advance. Part of the reason why the supply line is struggling is because a lot of people are trying to have projects done all at the same time. This means not only is the supply line being tested, but professionals at all steps of the process are very busy.

If this article is your first step in planning a home renovation, then we suggest you start getting serious right away—even if you don’t plan on starting renovations until next year. With wait times considered, you may need to start planning right now in order to start next year.

Ready to start work on your home renovation?

If you’re looking for more guidance on how to successfully complete your renovation, schedule a phone consult and let's get started.