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The Realities of Home Renovation

By August 23, 2017August 8th, 2022Renovation Tips

Considering taking on a home renovation? Make sure you’ve thought through these key points before you start knocking down walls.
Planning and budgeting for a home renovation can quickly go from exciting to overwhelming. By being prepared with ample research and planning, you can stay calm throughout the whole process. Here’s what you need to know to ensure smooth sailing:

  1. True Cost

The quote or contract from your contractor may give you an allowance budget or you might just set aside what you think you need for fixtures, appliances, lighting, etc., but this is where detail becomes a necessity. Sure, it can be tempting to guess at these numbers when you already have your hands full with other renovation details, but watch out because this is an area that can quickly break your budget.

For instance, you may have your mind set on a certain type of cabinet style and assume it’s within the allowance set by your contractor but find out the price is double when you go to the cabinet supplier. Having a specific list of all the allowance costs and actually making your selections before you start your renovation, is the best way to get a clear picture of your true costs, and steer you clear of disappointments.

  1. Timeline

Obviously everyone would like their project to go as efficiently as possible, which is why it’s important to have a clear understanding of aspects of the project that will ultimately affect the timeline:

  • Permits
  • Contractor availability
  • Supplier wait times

It took two weeks to obtain a permit for a project I recently managed in a city with many construction projects underway. Your contractor may have several projects to manage at one time, or only manage one project at a time. Knowing your contractor’s schedule will help to keep expectations realistic. Also, waiting on certain supplies can keep a project from moving forward. For example, a countertop template cannot be done until the base cabinets are installed. During busy times, it can take over two weeks for the countertops to be finished, and the rest of the project (plumbing, fixtures, etc.) cannot be done until the countertop is installed. Don’t let this happen to you!

  1. Involvement

Do you enjoy managing projects? Do you have a hard time making design decisions or envisioning what a structural change will look like? Do you prefer to have someone else be the point person for questions? Having a realistic expectation of how involved you can be, or would like to be, is critical to your project going well and keeping your stress level low. Taking a step back, and thinking about this, will help you to decide if you need the help of an interior design professional and what type of contractor you are looking for.

  1. Contractor

Finding a contractor you are comfortable working with, and trust will produce quality work, is critical to the success of your home improvement project. Start by asking for referrals from friends and family. In addition, there are many online resources where you can check contractor reviews.

Next, I recommend meeting with several contractors to compare estimates and decide which one feels like the right fit. Having that list of allowance costs, your desired timeline and a clear understanding of your level of involvement, will help to ensure that you are comparing apples to apples with each contractor. Remember: a written contract with as much detail as possible is one of the keys to a successful renovation.
Good luck with your home improvement project, and if you need a hand contact re:fab today!

About the Author

Liz’s passion for a great makeover and managing projects led her to start Hearten Home and help others to see the full potential of their home. Along with a knack for balancing old and new in a space, her design style is inspired by a love of nature and the local community. Hearten Home can help with anything from freshening up one room to redesigning an entire home. Our mission is to make the process straightforward, stress-free and enjoyable.


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