Planning a Renovation? 5 Questions to Ask Before You Get Started

Planning a Renovation? 5 Questions to Ask Before You Get Started

Doing any sort of renovation on your home can be a serious undertaking. From simply adding some curb appeal to installing a luxury spa-like master bathroom, there are a lot of elements to consider before you get started. 

It’s absolutely crucial to plan ahead, whether you’re embarking on a fresh fixer-upper adventure or making some much-needed updates to your well-worn family abode. So sit down, take a deep breath, and ask yourself these five vital questions to create a solid strategy for getting the most out of your renovation projects. 

Start by thinking about these concepts:

  • What room(s) are you renovating — and why?
  • What is your budget?
  • What is your timeline?
  • How do you find the best contractors for your project?
  • How will your daily routine be impacted?

Once you’ve wrangled these ideas, you’ll have a clearer picture of how to proceed. It’s also important to discuss everything with your entire family to make sure everyone is on the same page. Home renovations can cause stress and inconvenience for weeks or even months, so hopefully, you’ll be able to get back to a harmonious household as soon as possible. 

What’s The End Goal For Your Renovation?

Many homeowners would love to update their entire place with the latest designs and technology, but the smart move is to take it one step at a time. The two most complicated renovations are kitchens and bathrooms, but they’re also arguably the most utilized rooms in your house as well, especially if you have a large family. 

There are a lot of different opinions as to where to begin if you are renovating your entire home. If you have any immediate safety or health hazards, such as damaged floors or mold, you should tackle those right away before addressing any cosmetic issues. 

Are you planning to sell once the project is complete? If so, then you’ll want to take your return on investment (ROI) into consideration. The experts at HGTV list these as the top three home improvement moneymakers:

  1. Bathrooms — everyone appreciates a little luxury in there.
  1. Landscaping — healthy plants and flowers add an attractive pop of color. 
  1. Kitchen — new appliances, countertops, and a backsplash can really boost value.

Money Talks

Some renovation projects, like bedrooms and dining rooms, can be easily accomplished by a relatively handy homeowner for a nicely affordable price. Things like painting, removing overgrown shrubs, planting flowers, and replacing hardware are just a YouTube video away from that satisfying feeling of accomplishment. On the other hand, ventures like electrical work, plumbing, demolition, and roofing should be left to the professionals. 

These are all factors that will come into play when planning your budget. If you’ve never put this much thought into the costs of renovation before, there are plenty of online calculators out there that will make the process a bit easier. 

Basically, your budget should include these three major buckets:

  • Materials
  • Labor
  • Miscellaneous and unforeseen expenses

Obviously, if you decide to splurge on high-end materials like granite, stainless steel, or handpainted Spanish tile, you should expect that bucket to be quite a bit heavier. Don’t be tempted to save money by scrimping, however — poor-quality materials will not look as good even if they’re properly installed. 

When it comes to labor, this can be a vast chunk of your overall renovation costs, as it’s essential to do things right the first time, which will also save you tons of money in the long run. More on finding the best labor for your budget below.

The Clock Is Ticking

How long does it take? That entirely depends on the size of the project you’re embarking on. As Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither is a gourmet kitchen. Some easy home refreshers like painting a bedroom or installing shelving can be done quickly, while large undertakings like a whole room addition can take up to four months

Delays often happen, unfortunately, and there are ongoing building supply shortages all around the country. You may also have to wait for permits, inspections, or for the weather to cooperate. No one will want to work on your roof or install a new garage door in a rainstorm or dangerous heatwave. 

If you’re working with an interior designer or licensed contractor, they should provide you with a detailed build plan that includes a comprehensive budget and a realistic schedule based on the current materials market. 

Find The Right People

If your renovation plans demand professional help, then you’ll want to do your due diligence to locate the provider that’s right for you. Thankfully, there are a plethora of exceptionally talented firms in the Chicago area that can make your home refurbishment dreams a reality.

Here are a few key questions you should put to any prospective contractor:

  • How long have you been operating? Ask for references, portfolios, and testimonials.
  • Do you have licenses, permits, and insurance?
  • Who will personally manage my project and how do I reach them?
  • Do you offer any warranties or guarantees?
  • Do you work with subcontractors and if so, are they bonded and insured?
  • Can you provide me with a detailed schedule and estimate?

The perfect firm should combine the correct answers with good customer service and an exceptional work ethic. While this might sound like a unicorn, these builders do exist and they’ll be a joy to work with.

Go With The Flow

As mentioned above, getting everyone on board with your renovation plans will help ensure that things go as smoothly as possible. Changes like this involve loud noises, smells, strange people in the house, dust, debris, unusable rooms and appliances, and other irritating inconveniences. If you have small children, they may not enjoy having their routines interrupted.

A kitchen redo is especially annoying. Where are you supposed to cook and store your food during this hectic time? It will all be worth it when you’re making meals in a magazine-worthy bistro paradise, but what about until then? Martha Stewart has a few clever suggestions that will ease the transition:

  • Set up a temporary kitchen in an unused corner.
  • Have a moveable kitchen kit with utensils, dinnerware, and cutting boards.
  • Instant Pot!
  • Stock up your freezer in advance.

Planning ahead and staying calm will go a long way toward making your home renovation journey as easy as possible. 

You’re Never Alone

Every home is unique, and every homeowner has their own specific needs. Whether you’re thinking of selling your home after renovating it or looking forward to purchasing a fixer-upper of your own for the first time, your Baird & Warner agent is here to offer expert advice and guidance. If you have questions about navigating the vibrant Chicagoland real estate market, call or email us today!

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