Where do I start? Mapping out your home renovation plans
By Erik J. Martin
Before embarking on a road trip, it’s helpful to scan a map (online or on paper) so that you have proper directions, a good idea of how long it will take to arrive, and an estimate of how much your trip to the fuel pump will cost (especially nowadays).
The same is true of a home remodeling project, which can go a lot more smoothly if you devise a plan of attack that logically lays out your path from start to finish.
Any renovation project, no matter how small, can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t take the time to plan ahead. Not only do you need to decide what changes you want to make, but you also need to consider the budget, timeline, and materials needed.
Too often homeowners jump into a redo project without carefully mapping out their plans well in advance.
As a result, they can end up making costly mistakes that could have been avoided with a little bit of proactive prepping.
Construction is notorious for taking longer than anticipated and costing more than initially thought. A renovation is a complex job because it involves multiple specialists who have to be coordinated and many moving pieces. The single biggest reason to map out your plans is to keep the project under control, on time, and on budget.
Overlook this crucial step and a dream project could quickly turn into a nightmare.
If you don’t time things right, you could end up with a pallet full of materials in your living room before you’ve gotten approval to build, or a contractor who is sitting around waiting for things to arrive. You could waste untold amounts of time and money only to end up with a product you’re not happy with.
Start your mapping initiative by first making a list of your goals for the renovation.
Ask yourself: What do you hope to accomplish? Are you looking to update the appearance of your home, increase its value, or create additional living space?
Once you have a clear idea of your objectives, you can start developing a budget. Be forewarned that unexpected costs can always arise, so it’s important to leave some wiggle room in your budget.
Next, work on obtaining the necessary permits for your project. Depending on the scope of the work, this may involve getting approval from a local planning board or your homeowner’s association.
After you have the green light to proceed, it’s time to begin making key decisions about contractors.
Get at least a few estimates from different contractors. Start by asking friends or neighbors who have done a similar project who they have used and recommend due to exemplary work or search sites like Home Advisor powered by Angi where you can read reviews and see credentials and photos of work. It may take some time, but it will be worth it in the long run. Beware of low bidders and contractors who say they are immediately available. Remember that you get what you pay for.
Once you pick the right contractor, work together on forecasting a timeline for your renovation.
It’s generally recommended to plan a few months out and work backwards from there – giving yourself plenty of buffer time.
Avoid locking yourself in on a fixed end date.
Set a goal, but have it be flexible. Unexpected things like supply chain delays or postponed approvals can hold up a project.
Collaborate closely with your hired help, as well, when it comes to surveying the room(s) to be renovated and what modifications need to be made. Keep in mind that consistent, clear communication is essential to prevent misunderstandings, errors, and overages.
Lastly, be aware that kitchen and bathroom renovations are usually the trickiest and most complicated projects. The number of factors involved may seem overwhelming but making a list and thinking it through beforehand is worth the effort.