How to Plan Your Home Renovations
If you’re reading this, you’re likely knee-deep in home-renovations — in which case, good for you! Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer looking to amp-up your starter house or a longstanding owner with plans for some quality-of-life updates, renovating your home is one of the most rewarding things about being a homeowner.
Unfortunately, with a project as large as home renovations, it can be hard to know where to start. Do you update the master bathroom first? Replace the kitchen cabinets and counters? Turn your basement into a livable space for children and family gatherings?
Don’t worry — we’re here to help. If you’re ready to turn your house into the home of your dreams, follow this step-by-step plan to stop worrying and start renovating today.
Step 1: Plan a budget
This may go without saying, but home renovations cost money. Real money. Before you invest anything in updating your home, determine how much money you are willing to spend before you spend it. This means researching and accounting for the cost of tools, materials, time, labor and — potentially — extra services you need. Those extra services come in the form of contractors, plumbers, electricians and other specialized service workers who will help you realize your dreams of home improvement.
By planning your budget before you decide to renovate, you’ll start to realize what you can take on and when. You may realize you only have funds for certain updates at the moment, so it might be best to start small — perhaps with the bathroom or master bedroom.
Additionally, if you are doing the work yourself, accounting for the “time budget” needed to complete renovations will keep you from growing too stressed to finish the job. This will help more than you might think: giving up your weekends for six months to renovate your basement if you are doing it yourself will feel a lot less daunting if you know the amount of time it will take up-front. By the same token, taking into account how long you will be sharing your home with contractors might be something important to consider.
Step 2: Assess what you need…
We get it: you are head-over-heels excited to start living in a home that meets your needs. Unfortunately, when it comes to renovations, a lack of patience can lead to immeasurable problems down the road. Updates and upgrades are so exciting that many people start too big and end up overcommitting. Overcommitting then leads to stress, anxiety and, ultimately, apathy and procrastination…
Trust us: we know countless people whose basements are still half-finished, or whose second bathrooms remain out of commission for months on end. Unfortunately, the only thing worse than an un-renovated bathroom, bedroom or entryway is one that is unusable. You do not want to be in this situation! So: start smart by determining what it is you actually need to update first (maybe you really need a new tub because yours is leaking, or the kitchen needs imminent improvements because the appliances were installed in 1967).
By creating a list of top-priority renovations, you’ll take care of the mandatory concerns first. After those renovations are done, you can reassess how much time, energy and money you want to put into further updates.
Step 3: …then, determine your wish-list items
Now that we’ve discussed the boring, pragmatic parts — cost, money, time, energy and priorities — it’s time to let your dreams run wild. After the necessary renovations are complete, start thinking about what would make your house really feel like a home. Maybe that means calling a contractor to knock out the wall between the kitchen and dining room. Or maybe you want a fully screened-in sun porch addition!
The point is not to immediately set to work with pie-in-the-sky renovations, but this exercise should get you thinking about what you value most in a home. If your thoughts immediately went to a luxury bathroom, then you know where you need to turn your attention to next. If you want the lawn and garden updated for top-notch curb appeal, consider calling up a landscaper.
Once your favorite wish-list renovation items are accounted for, you will know where to spend the rest of your money, instead of pouring it into things that, realistically, will not bring you nearly as much joy.
Step 4: Pull all your thoughts together in a journal
No matter how you plan them, home renovations can seem like a lot to tackle. Fortunately, there are tools to consolidate and assess your plans before you begin. One of those tools is a journal. That’s right: starting an e-journal with extensive notes on budget, cost, plans, timing and more will help you project manage your home updates in a reasonable and efficient way.
This is, in fact, exactly how other buildings are updated and managed. Project managers, architects and contractors all keep running notes of renovations and updates — if you want your process to run smoothly, you should do the same.
Armed with a journal and a vision for the future of your home, we are more than confident you will succeed in your renovation dreams. Now: go forth and get ready to turn your home into a dream property anyone would feel comfortable living in!