The Ultimate Guide to Remodeling a House
So you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade and repair your home. That’s exciting!
It’s also a lot of work, but don’t panic! It’s nothing you can’t handle with the proper planning. The first question you need to ask yourself is: do you want to hire a home renovation planner or do you want to handle the planning yourself?
If you’re going for the first one, the best tips we can give you is to ask for recommendations of your friends and family and look for reviews online to find the best planner in your area.
If, on the other hand, you want to be your own house renovation planner, you’re lucky, as our guide will let you know the three big planning steps you should follow to make sure your project goes as smoothly as possible, as well as tips to minimize stress and to save some bucks while you do it.
So read on!
Step 1: Set Your Remodeling Goal & Budget
This should be the first step of any type of project.
After all, without a good, stable foundation, it becomes very easy to let it get out of hand and end up with a final product that’s a bit different from what you initially envisioned. So once you decide that it’s time to remodel your place, think about why you want to do it.
Do you wish to fix the tear and wear damage from all your years of living there? To change the way the different rooms in the house are arranged? To upgrade specific rooms, like the kitchen or your office? To simply change the decor and vibe of your home? To get it ready to sell?
Any reason is valid, really. The goal of this first step is simply to help you make further decisions in the best, most efficient way possible and to keep your ultimate goal in mind throughout the whole process.
Just as important as your goal, or even more important, is your budget.
Establishing a budget will allow you to understand what you’ll actually be able to get done and what you should cross off your to-do list (which you’ll be doing soon). As much as you might want to end up with your absolute dream house, it’s important to be realistic with a project as big as a home remodel!
Step 2: Establish & Schedule the Tasks
Now that you know your ultimate goal and how much money you can spend to make it come true, it’s time to define the to-do list we mentioned earlier. So, go around each room and write down the priority changes and what you’d like to get done, but can be left for another time.
Going through magazines and decor websites can help you get this list done, so if you need, look for inspiration there.
Plus, it’s a very good idea to schedule the tasks. One thing you should definitely consider is the weather. Let’s say you want to repaint the outside of your house. This is the type of task you’ll want to handle when the weather is good: not only will it make it a lot more pleasant to whoever’s doing the repainting, but it also means it’ll dry quicker, which is convenient.
Another thing to keep in mind are the usual discounts on furniture. Looking to remodel your office? Fall (a.k.a back-to-school season) is the best time to do so. In need of new furniture for the whole house? Christmas sales will make shopping a lot more wallet-friendly.
So check which items in your list are easier to get done in certain times of the year and schedule accordingly.
As you write down what you want to get done, you’ll also understand if you need to hire professionals or if you can handle the tasks yourself. In case you want to tear down walls and rebuild rooms, it’s a good idea to hire an architect, so this would be the stage when you’d look for one.
On the other hand, if you’re simply redecorating and fixing small issues, you probably won’t need to hire anyone, as these are tasks you can easily DIY with the help of Google and Pinterest.
Related: Difference Between Major and Minor Renos
Step 3: Check for Necessary Permits
It’s not uncommon for people to underestimate the importance of getting the right permits for a remodeling project. It might seem like this step will do nothing more than slowing down the whole process, that it’ll be money needlessly spent or that no one will actually check if you have the permits so… why bother?
However, there’s a reason why permits exist.
As you can imagine, all houses need to be safe to live in and there are guidelines that ensure this safety. So first and foremost, taking the time to check and get permits is a guarantee that you and your family will be as free from harm as possible.
Furthermore, if you ever decide to put your house up for sale, not having the permits to prove that the remodeling process was done 100% under compliance will cause you unnecessary headaches… and fines.
So before you get any task on your to-do list started, check if you need a permit and, if so, how you can get it.
Step 4: Useful Remodeling Tips
Besides the three major steps that we described above, there are a few other things you can do to make sure the remodeling process goes as smooth as possible from beginning to end. Keeping these in mind will allow you to avoid some annoying issues you could otherwise experience during this period and keep the stress levels at a minimum.
Of course, the more complex your remodeling will be, the more you need to plan and prepare every single detail. After all, tearing down walls and changing the house’s initial architectural plan is completely different from changing wall colors or fixing small damages.
Nevertheless, our suggestion is that you keep the following four tips in mind once you start remodeling:
Plan to stay somewhere else
You might have considered remodeling your house one room at a time so that it is still habitable, but that’ll just end up dragging the process for too long and it might even end up costing you more.
Plus, some rooms are simply inevitable to use on a daily basis, like the kitchen or the toilet (which will only be a real problem if you only have one, of course), so eventually, the remodeling will become a major disruption in your quotidian.
Avoid being in the middle of the remodeling mess by calling a friend or family member and asking if you and your family can stay over. Or if it’s within budget, why not stay at a nice hotel? It’ll feel like an awesome vacation for the kids!
If you end up not having a choice but to live at home while the remodeling is happening, don’t worry too much. All you need to do is plan a little bit more. When your bedroom’s being renovated, for instance, you can stay in the living room. If the water’s out, you can go to the gym in the morning and shower there. Trust us, there’s a solution for everything!
Protect Everyone’s Lungs
Paint, glue, sprays of all kinds and more: when it comes to remodeling a house, it’s very easy to use materials that aren’t exactly great for your respiratory health.
Now, we know that it’s not easy to replace these materials with others that aren’t as harsh and get the same results. So what you need to do is be extra careful when you know there’s going to be some air pollution going on.
Firstly, if you have kids, take them to grandma’s during these days. Secondly, make sure you’re properly protected: using a safety mask is always a good idea, as is keeping the whole house well ventilated.
Plan How You’ll Handle Waste
Any kind of home remodeling or renovation is going to cause a bit of a mess. It’s simply unavoidable. However, there are ways of keeping the mess organized. All you need to do is plan where you’ll place each type of waste and where you can throw it away afterward.
Some of the waste can even be reused if you’re into DIY projects or donated to a nonprofit organization. Giving a new use to as many materials as you can will make your remodeling process a lot more eco-friendly, so think twice before you throw anything away!
Be Honest, But Always Nice
Remodeling a whole house is a huge project and, although you’re the boss, it’s important to remember than anyone who’s involved is making your life a lot easier (and if they’re not… maybe reconsider their help).
If you’ve ever been in a leadership position, you know that a project’s success comes from healthy, honest communication, and, as stressful as it might be, a house remodel is no different from that!
Make sure to always be open about what you like and what you don’t like so that the final product is as close to what you envisioned as possible. But also remember to praise and thank everyone who’s helping you. It’ll make everyone’s job a lot easier and the whole process a lot more pleasant!
Keeping Your Remodel Under Budget
You’ve decided that now is the right time to actually start planning your home’s remodeling but chances are that you’ve been piling up ideas of everything you want to change and improve in each room for a long time… and each time, you gave up because it’d just be too expensive.
We’re not going to lie, remodeling a house can get quite pricey, depending on what you need to get done. Hence why budgeting is such an imperative step in any house project.
Related: Beware the Reno Budget!
The good news is that there are ways of lowering the final cost of your project, like the following:
Make the most of the dumpster container you hire
Using every single inch in that container can prevent you from having to spend money on a second one. So instead of just throwing all the unusable waste in there without even looking, keep it organized. Try to fit as much as you can without leaving any void space. Almost like a game of Tetris!
Check if you can fix it before you decide to replace it.
We all have things in our homes that annoy us because they got a bit damaged over time and our first instinct might be to simply replace them. Not so fast! Fixing is typically cheaper than buying something new, so study your options before you get to the action.
Ask for leftovers.
Many people may not be aware of this, but you can actually ask your contractor if they have any leftover materials from other projects that can be used in your remodel.
See what you can buy second-hand.
Nowadays, there are plenty of shops and websites that sell used furniture that is in stellar condition. There are even Facebook groups where people sell anything you can imagine! So before you head to any unused furniture store, see if you can buy second-hand items and save a few bucks.
Whenever you can, go DIY.
We mentioned DIY before and the truth is that many tasks in your remodeling to-do list can be handled by yourself. Some can even turn into a fun family project! If you want to repaint the outside of your house, why not get some masks for your kids and get them to help you?
Yes, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to remodeling an entire home and at first, it might seem like a really overwhelming project to take on.
But as you can see, once you break it down into different steps and get to know all the remodeling tips and tricks, things can get a lot easier to handle. And in the end, when you see the final product, all the planning will be absolutely worth it.
And now… time to get started and decide your remodeling goal and budget!
Related: Minor Kitchen Remodels: Maximizing Your Investment