A Step-By-Step Guide to Home Renovation

Home renovation is a big undertaking. It may be as simple as repainting a room or as elaborate as constructing an addition.

Either way, it requires careful planning and coordination to prevent problems down the road. To that end, you’ll want to use a home inspection checklist like Billdr’s to get started.

Develop a Budget

It’s important to start the renovation process with a clear idea of what your goals are, and how you’re going to get there. Developing a budget is a crucial step that can help ensure your project stays on track and is completed on time and within your set price range.

Homeowners are typically faced with a few different options when it comes to financing their home renovation, including paying in cash or taking out a mortgage loan. Regardless of how you choose to finance your renovation, you’ll need to determine the cost of everything that needs to be done and establish a realistic budget.

You’ll also need to factor in any potential unforeseen costs that may arise during the course of the project. Things like higher architect fees, a boiler that unexpectedly gives out and more can add up quickly. That’s why it’s a good idea to include 10-15% of your total project costs in a contingency line item on your budget.

Finally, don’t forget to factor in any rebates or tax credits that may be available for your project. These are often available for renovations that are aimed at optimizing your home’s energy efficiency, like installing new windows or a new heating system.

Decide on a Design

Before meeting with a design professional, it’s important to narrow down your renovation preferences. This helps prevent you from being talked into designs that may not fit with your aesthetic or budget. Narrowing your design ideas can also help you decide what projects will make the most impact on your home’s function and how it will look.

Having a firm idea of what you want can help you build a more detailed project plan and timeline. It can also help you stay in control of the costs as well as avoid costly mistakes. For example, if you have a clear vision for what you want your home to look like, it’s less likely that you’ll get talked into purchasing expensive materials or doing extra work that goes beyond your original renovation goals.

It’s also essential to consider how your home renovation will impact your daily life. For instance, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll be staying in the house during the work or moving to a hotel. This will determine your timeline, costs and more. It will also influence what rooms you’ll need to renovate and how much time it will take to complete each room.

Get a Permit

If you’re planning any type of major work on your home, you should plan to get a permit. This will ensure that your project complies with all applicable codes and standards, so that you don’t run into any legal or financial issues down the road.

Permit requirements vary on a case-by-case basis, so you should check with your local building department to see what your specific project might require. In New York City, for example, permits are typically required for any work that alters the existing structure of your home, even if it doesn’t change the certificate of occupancy. Common renovations that require a permit include installing new plumbing, electrical or heating systems and adding an extension to your home.

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to getting a permit for your renovation project. You’ll need to check whether or not your neighborhood permits certain types of remodeling projects, such as converting a garage into a bedroom. You’ll also need to submit plans to your local building department, and have them inspected by an official before you receive your permit. The process can be time-consuming and frustrating, but it’s worth it in the end to avoid potential legal and financial problems down the line.

Build Your List of Required Materials

As part of the planning phase, it’s important to establish what materials and supplies you will need for your renovation. This will help you get a clear idea of how much the entire project is going to cost. Keep in mind that there are always construction surprises so make sure to include a contingency fund.

This can be a time-consuming task, but it is essential to any home renovation. It involves sorting through all your belongings and removing them from the areas being renovated. It also involves cleaning the home and preparing it for the start of the project.

You will be working with a contractor for your renovation, so you will need to build a list of the materials they will be responsible for buying and delivering. This is particularly true for items that have long lead times, such as appliances and lighting fixtures.

You should also create a list of any additional vendors and professionals you may be hiring, such as painters and electricians. Remember also to look for the 5 essential qualities to look for in an exterior painter.

Make sure to keep all estimates, bids, official contracts and proposals in a designated binder for easy reference throughout the process. This can be especially helpful if your renovation goes off schedule and you need to refer back to these documents.

Hire a Contractor

If you’re doing a full renovation, it’s important to hire a contractor with the right experience. Start by getting referrals from friends and family or searching online for local contractors that are licensed and insured. Once you’ve narrowed your list, talk to several contractors and get quotes for the work that you want done. Be sure to compare the quotes to make sure they are comparable. Also, ask the contractor to explain their pricing structure so you have a better understanding of what each option includes.

During this process, look for contractors that are honest and transparent about their pricing. It’s also helpful to meet the contractor in person before making a final decision. This will give you a chance to assess their professionalism and see whether or not there’s proper “chemistry” between the two of you.

It’s also a good idea to ask the contractor about their timeline for completion of the work. This will help you plan your schedule so that the renovation doesn’t interfere with your daily routine. Keep in mind, though, that it’s always a good idea to add an extra few days or weeks of cushion to your timeline. That way, you’ll have a little bit of room to adjust your budget if needed.

Finalize Your Contract

As renovation projects are not cheap, both parties involved need to be aware of what is included in the contract. It should include payment schedules; proof of liability insurance and worker’s compensation payments; an estimate of the project start and end dates along with target dates for completion of key phases of the work; specific materials to be used; and a description of the renovator’s warranty.

Specify who will procure licenses, permits and inspections needed for the work; whether workers will be self-employed or subcontracted; what happens if the project goes over schedule; and how disputes will be resolved. Also include specific details about the renovation scope of work, including allowances (a lump sum in the contract price for items to be selected by the homeowner) and contingencies (additional amounts set aside for things that may be unforeseeable).

It is a good idea to include a clause specifying that any changes will be recorded as change orders and signed by both parties before they occur. Change orders should be clearly written, detailing what is to be changed, the cost of the change and a new date by which the contractor will finish the job. Then both parties will be able to avoid costly legal battles down the road.

Start the Work

Before starting renovations, you should be clear on your vision and a work schedule. This will help you avoid overlapping projects, especially those that require a lot of coordination (for example, the order of jobs like re-wiring and plastering). This is particularly important in older houses where the work may be complicated by a range of factors, from rotting timbers to poorly insulated walls.

Once your plan is in place, it’s time to start the actual work. This is the stage when you’ll begin removing old fixtures, knocking down walls, stripping wallpapers and more. It’s a messy and exhausting process, so it is best done early in the project to get it out of the way before you’re too busy.

It’s also wise to take this opportunity to make sure that everything is ready before starting, including obtaining the proper permits, if required. This will save you a great deal of headaches later on in the project, when things can be very costly if not done properly. Also, consider whether you are renovating to add value to the property and choose carefully which upgrades will provide a good return on investment.