Planning for a Home Renovation Project

Whether you’re the type of person who spends hours a day flipping through Pinterest and DIY blogs, or someone who shudders at the phrase “fixer upper,” there’s a lot to consider when thinking about tackling a home renovation or remodeling project. 

Dreaming about updating your Chicagoland home? Planning to sell in the near future, and considering the renovation and remodeling projects that will help your property stand out to buyers? Here are some of the most important steps you can take to make sure your next big home project goes as smoothly and seamlessly as possible:

Think About Timing

When it comes to a successful renovation, it’s all in the timing. As a homeowner or seller, there are a lot of different factors to think about when planning for a future project — whether you’re bringing on a project manager or contractor, or tackling the home project yourself.

For instance, it’s important to remember that different types of home projects are best suited to different seasons. You may not want to take on an enormous outdoor project in fall or winter, and instead save that undertaking for the warmer, sunnier days of spring or summer. At the same time, it’s important to consider your timeline — and that of your prospective contractor. For instance, if you want more time and focus from your home professional, you may consider trying to secure a team during an “off-peak” season. And don’t forget to take your own schedule into account. Be sure to start a remodel or renovation when you can invest enough time and attention in the project. For example, you may not want to plan serious work on your home during a window when you’re expecting to travel extensively.

Research, Research, Research

Before anyone lifts a hammer, there’s a lot of research to be done. In the early stages of your home project, be sure to carve out plenty of time to look into the important aspects of the job, including: 

  • Materials. For example, are you interested in learning more about sustainable building materials? In your view, is there one type of countertop or backsplash that stands out above the rest?
  • Contractors and service providers. It may take some time to find the person or team who will be the right fit. Explore local contractors and crews by looking for reviews, ratings, testimonials, examples of past work, price quotes, estimated timelines, and so on.
  • Budget. Don’t forget the financial side of things. As you gear up for a home project, be sure to do some research to help set a budget for your remodel, considering factors like materials, labor, and equipment. You may want to set financial benchmarks, and consider how much of a cushion you should leave for unexpected delays or project changes. Think about the scope of the project, and be sure to discuss your options and get quotes from professionals. Look into financing options and consider how and when you’ll pay for any upgrades or improvements. 
  • Rules and requirements. Beyond the standard permitting and approvals, it’s important to plan for other potential sources of red tape. For example, if you live in a multi-unit building, you may need to get approval or notify your condo board before starting up any construction. 
  • Return on investment (ROI). Think about the big picture. Looking into the cost vs. value and ROI of certain projects may help you determine where you want to place your focus and budget. 

To DIY, or Go With a Pro?

As you start considering taking on a home project, it’s important to consider how much you can realistically do yourself — and how much should be left to a professional. Be mindful of your time and budget, the scope of the work, your level of expertise, and your willingness to get your hands dirty. 

On the plus side, taking on a DIY project may help save on some expenses. It can also be fulfilling to leave a personal mark on your home. On the flip side, DIY can be complex — and making a mistake could add time, money, and stress to the project. A recent study from Porch found that a DIY mistake tends to add 5.5 hours to a project, as well as several hundred dollars in additional costs. 

As you weigh the best approach for your goals, think about the costs and drawbacks involved. For example, is it worth spending a bit more money for labor, if you ultimately get more free time back throughout the project? Think about the potential emotional upsides as well. Hiring professionals may save stress and worry, compared to going fully DIY. As an example, home pros may be able to help with administrative hurdles like securing necessary approvals and permits, so you can focus your attention on other aspects of the project. 

Prepping for the Project and Settling Back In

Remember that the days immediately before and after a renovation project are bound to come with a flurry of activity, and it will often pay to plan ahead. 

Before the project, you’ll want to invest some time thinking about getting your space ready. Often, this will include clearing out rooms, taking care to secure precious items you don’t want to get damaged or dirty, while also moving out large or bulky items that could get in the workers’ way. You’ll also want to get in touch with the crews working on your home to set guidelines and ground rules, and figure out the best style of communication for all parties — for instance, if you’d prefer to be contacted by text or phone during the day. Meanwhile, it may prove important to prepare the whole family for the project, including discussing safety and expectations with your kids, and making arrangements for your pets, such as finding boarding for the day, or dropping them off with a neighbor or family member. 

After the remodel, remember to block out some time to put your things back and arrange your rooms. You may consider bringing in a cleaning crew to take care of any lingering dust and get your home back in order. And finally, don’t forget to think about how you’ll take advantage of your refreshed space — like making some design and decor changes that can showcase your home in the best possible light. 

Updating Your Home to Sell? We’ll Make It Easier

At Baird & Warner, we know that there’s an art and science to selling your home. And often, that includes making renovations that can help your home sell faster, and at the best possible price. 

When you sell your home with Baird & Warner, your agent can help you connect with professionals that provide expert presale renovation services, making it easier to get a home updated quickly and affordably before it’s listed. 

We partner with Curbio, whose experts make turnkey renovations to your property based on what buyers are looking and paying for in your market. That means when the home goes on the market, it can sell more quickly and for a higher price — while making the process as stress-free as possible. Curbio assigns a project manager who will efficiently handle the entire renovation, so you don’t have to wait any longer than necessary to get the home on the market. Plus, the service operates on a “Renovate Now, Pay When You Sell” model, which means there’s no upfront cost to you. 

As the largest independent and locally owned real estate brokerage in Chicagoland, Baird & Warner is home to thousands of the most highly skilled real estate professionals in the area. Our brokers are hyperlocal experts who know just what it takes to prepare, market, and sell your home, while helping you navigate the process with confidence at every step of the way. With mortgage and title services in-house and innovative partners who are as committed to giving clients the best possible service as we are… It’s just easier here.

Written by




Stay Connected

Get the latest news, stories, and advice from the Baird & Warner blog delivered straight to your inbox.


Stay Connected

Get the latest news, stories, and advice from the Baird & Warner blog delivered straight to your inbox.


Stay Connected

Get the latest news, stories, and advice from the Baird & Warner blog delivered straight to your inbox.