Beginning a home renovation project is an exciting endeavor that requires careful planning and consideration. Knowing the most important priorities for home renovation can help create a framework for ensuring the best results.
Whether you are renovating a single room or the entire house, there are critical elements that you must consider to ensure the project’s success and long-term satisfaction. Steps like establishing a realistic budget and hiring a reputable contractor set the tone and trajectory for your project, so approach these tasks with diligence and foresight.
The priorities in home renovation can vary depending on individual needs, goals, and specific conditions of the property. Yet, there are many overarching priorities that are crucial to the success of any project. The following are the top priorities for home renovation. They are not in sequential order, as many of them occur concurrently.
As you begin to develop a budget for your home renovation project, make an honest assessment of your current financial situation. Begin by creating a realistic budget that includes all aspects of your project, such as permits, materials, labor, design fees, and a contingency fund of 10%-20% for unexpected expenses.
Prioritize the project’s essential components over those that are desirable but unnecessary. Determine whether you want to hire a contractor or complete some or all of the work yourself. Compare various suppliers and contractors to ensure that you are getting the best value for your investment.
- Define the Scope of Your Project
Establishing the scope of your renovation project is a vital step because it serves as the foundation for the rest of the process. This step requires that you clearly outline the renovation’s specific goals, tasks, and responsibilities. A well-defined scope clarifies expectations between homeowners and contractors and between the homeowners themselves.
Clearly define the project by stating the ultimate goal of the work. Develop a timeline of small goals that will need to be completed and when the project will end. Always plan for delays in the timeline. Clearly define the responsibilities of the relevant parties involved, and establish communication methods and expectations for the duration of the project.
- Hire a Reputable Contractor
Selecting the right contractor is an important decision that can make or break your project. A trustworthy contractor can bring your project to life, whereas a poor choice of contractor can cause delays, cost overruns, and frustration. Begin by researching the contractors in your area; talk to friends and neighbors; and check listing boards for recommendations.
When interviewing contractors, look at their work on similar projects and request and check references. Verify the contractors’ credentials in the event of an accident or property damage. Discuss the payment schedule to align expectations. Make sure you have a written contract outlining the project’s scope, timeline, and payment terms.
- Permits and Regulations
Obtaining the necessary permits and regulations for your project will protect you from fines, delays, and potential safety risks. Before you begin your project, look into the permitting guidelines, zoning regulations, and local building codes for your area.
You may need several different permits. Common permits include electrical, structural, plumbing, and, on occasion, environmental permits. Fill out all of the required paperwork with accurate estimates. Once you have received the permit, keep it in a visible location. As you work through the renovation, you will be required to schedule and pass various inspections until the project is completed.
- Prioritize Energy Efficiency and Sustainability
Planning an energy-efficient and sustainable home renovation is not only good for the environment, but it is also a great way to cut costs. Before you begin your project, consider ways that you can increase the efficiency and sustainability of your space.
Explore options like specialty insulation for holding in heat and air. Invest in energy efficient windows and doors if these are part of your project. Consider upgrading your systems, like the HVAC and thermostat controls, to provide more efficiency. Other energy efficient and sustainable options for home renovations include LED lighting, water-efficient fixtures, renewable energy sources, and sustainable building materials like recycled steel, bamboo, and reclaimed wood.
- Plan a Functional Design
A renovation project that is visually appealing but not functional for the home’s occupants cannot be considered successful. When planning a project, consider both function and aesthetics. As you plan the project, think about how you will use the physical space to meet your specific needs and goals. Examine the room’s entrances and how traffic will flow through the space once the project is completed.
When planning the layout of the space, consider various furniture layouts to maximize efficiency. Utilize multi-functional furniture to allow you to use the space in the most ways possible. Planning storage solutions in the room will allow you to better support the activities taking place there.
- Timeline Management
Once you start and then continue with your home renovation project, timeline management will ensure that it stays on track and finishes closer to the desired date. If you are hiring a contractor, it is critical to get their feedback before creating a workable timeline.
Begin by detailing each phase of the project. Break each phase down into smaller tasks to create a manageable and realistic timeline. Include a contingency buffer to cover potential delays. Prioritize critical tasks that have other tasks depending on their completion. Include the projected timeline in the contract with contractors and establish clear procedures for ensuring that critical deadlines are met. Inspect and sign off as different milestones are reached. Be prepared to be flexible in the face of delays, adjusting the timeline and your expectations as needed.
- Balance Cost with Quality Materials and Workmanship
With any home renovation project, there is often a trade-off between cost and the use of high-quality materials and craftsmanship to ensure durability. After you have created a workable budget, you will know how much money you have to spend. Remember that spending more now to ensure the best quality will most likely save you money on future repairs and maintenance.
Prioritize key areas where quality is most vital for aesthetics or longevity. Begin researching all material costs to establish reasonable expectations. Obtain multiple quotes from contractors for different parts of the job. Examine their prices and the quality of their work. Negotiate with contractors and suppliers not only on price, but also on how to maximize quality. Be willing to compromise quality in non-essential areas.
- Ensure Effective Communication
Good communication with all interested parties is essential at all stages of a home renovation. This might include a builder, multiple contractors, and homeowners. Identifying primary points of contact is useful in the early stages of a project. Set aside regular times to discuss the project’s progress and any potential delays or issues.
Use written communication methods and project management software to communicate timelines and expectations. Make sure everyone understands the project’s scope and timeline, and that any changes or delays are communicated to the project’s primary points of contact.
- Consider Resale Value
When planning a home renovation, you should consider how a specific project will affect the value of your home. Research the current local trends and market if you want to use a project to enhance your home’s value. Consult an expert, such as a real estate professional, to determine which projects will increase the value of your home the most.
For the greatest boost to your real estate value, consider high-return projects such as kitchen and bathroom updates, curb-appeal value projects, and energy-efficiency upgrades. Other high return projects include opening your floor plan, painting your home with a fresh color scheme, and installing smart technology.