Hints for planning and executing the perfect home renovation

November 26, 2014

At some point, most homes will need major repairs. However, without proper foresight, you're asking for trouble. Here's how to plan and pull off the perfect home renovation project.

Hints for planning and executing the perfect home renovation

Start by asking around

A good way to learn about home renovation and avoid mistakes is to speak to other homeowners or professionals with experience. Even before you speak with a professional, write down what you want done and why.

  • Do you just want to expand your home? Ready to downsize? Are you hoping to improve the kitchen or remodel the bathroom?

Be aware of the space in your home and how the new renovation will affect traffic and/or access. There are many free design programs available to help you understand the process of home renovation.

Be practical

While home renovation is a great idea, one must be practical.

  • If you are thinking of moving, making a major improvement in your home—like adding a sauna—may not be practical, realistic or offer any immediate financial return.
  • More importantly, think of your family down the road when planning renovations: a whirlpool may not be practical if grandma can barely get into the bathtub.

Prepare a budget

Home renovation is an expensive undertaking and having a budget is crucial. Even the best of plans sometimes go awry.

  • Unexpected expenses often crop up due to "hidden" problems such as wood rot, foundation cracks and existing substandard work or materials—defects that are only visible once you start opening walls and digging around.
  • Unforeseen issues can easily cost thousands more dollars to fix. To ensure you have a financial buffer if you need it,explore loans or other financing options.

Hire a reputable contractor

The most critical factor in your renovation project is the contractor. To help you find a good one:

  • Make sure that whoever you select is licensed, insured and qualified.
  • Get someone who is trustworthy, reliable, and has been in business for a few years.
  • Talk to other homeowners to determine the worthiness of the contractor.

Insist on having a detailed contract

Finally, you need to negotiate a contract. Regardless of the type of home renovation to be done, get everything in writing: you should never renovate a home without the written paperwork!

Concerning the contract itself, it should state:

  • Who will do the work.
  • What will be done.
  • The amount of time it will take.
  • What type of materials will (or will not) be used.
  • The agreed-upon cost.

Get the proper permits

The last step before any work begins is to get proper construction permits.

  • Most municipalities require permits for any structural changes you plan to do to your house.
  • If you're caught without a permit, the renovation project can be shut down and you'll wind up paying more.

Always think ahead when planning a home renovation project. Situations including equipment breakdowns, miscommunication and supply shortages are not uncommon—and can add greatly to the overall cost.

Once work has started, make sure you are in the loop about how work is progressing, any problems or delays, and how your money is being spent.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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