10 Home Renovation Tips from the Pros. If you’ve been through a significant home improvement project, you will know just how stressful it can be. There is the planning, the budgeting, the waiting for work to begin. And then there is the actual work, which can be difficult to define because every home is different.
While there’s no way to eliminate the disruptions that come with a home makeover, you can reduce the stress on your home and family if you follow some advice from remodeling professionals. These home renovation tips on planning, organizing, budgeting, and financing can make the process a bit smoother.
1. Plan Ahead
Waiting on materials or designs can lead to frustration and missed deadlines. According to Ridley Wills, founder of The Wills Co. (a design-build firm in Nashville), to prevent that, you must plan and select materials and finishings ahead of time. This prevents you from having to wait weeks, months, or Years for materials that you need now while keeping you on budget. Knowing what you need in advance will also prevent you from having to redo designs or start all over again if things don’t go as planned.
2. Have a budget
How much do you want to spend on renovations? That’s a question that needs to be answered before you begin looking at contractors. Establishing a budget is important because your remodeling decisions will be made with an eye toward keeping you within that cost range. This can be a good thing. It means that if you fall behind on your mortgage payments or spend more on renovations than you can afford, you won’t have to pay more later on.
Establishing a realistic budget and sticking to it can avoid country club-style negotiations and unnecessary stress. “As contractors, we design our projects to our clients’ budgets. Homeowners need to know what their budget is upfront and be realistic about what they can afford,” architect J.P. Ward of Anthony Wilder Design/Build in Cabin John, Maryland told the Washington Post.
3. And then budget some more
You should also add in a contingency cushion for any unexpected or incidental costs you didn’t anticipate. HouseLogic recommends adding a 15 to 20 percent contingency “for the unforeseen problems and changes that occur on every project.” Adding this money into your budget helps ensure that you’re covered should there be an unexpected cost that isn’t in your original plan, like an unexpected contractor showing up at your door unannounced to start work on your project.
4. Figure out your financing
According to Zillow.com, most homeowners pay for improvements with either cash or debit (57 percent) or with a credit card they pay off immediately (27 percent). There are three basic types of loan options: cashing out on a mortgage refinance, taking out a home equity loan, or establishing a home equity line of credit (HELOC).
HomeLogic suggests that for the vast majority of homeowners, the best way to borrow is via a home equity line of credit, which qualifies for a lower rate than other loan types, and the interest is tax-deductible Approaching home financing this way can save you money over time because you won’t pay as much interest on the amount you borrow and interest on any outstanding balance will be deductible from your income in the future.
If you’re in need of a roof replacement, in particular, Watkins Home Products has convenient financing that fits every homeowner’s budget. Plus, the benefits of company financing often outweigh direct-lender financing.
5. Find good help
When dealing with home improvement contractors, you want to know that they will deliver what they promise. To find a contractor you trust, the experts at HouseLogic suggest getting “recommendations for at least three contractors from friends, neighbors, and other tradesmen who you trust. Give each one your project description and specific product lists and request an itemized bid.” In addition, be sure to check references and ask to see examples of recent work.
Talk to neighbors, friends, and other professionals who have worked with similar companies. Be particularly curious about pricing and complaints. Asking questions and getting answers early on will help you avoid regret later. The contractors you find will have a good feel for what you’re looking for in terms of cost, finish standard work, and provide quality service—but they won’t know everything about your situation. Ask around to see if anyone has problems with their contractor or has recommended someone else
6. Get it in writing
Putting everything in a contract, including payment schedules and procedures for changes, helps clarify both parties’ expectations at the beginning. “The contract needs the right address, a start date, a completion date, and a detail of what is and is not going to be done,” Rosie Romero, founder of Legacy Custom Builders in Scottsdale, Arizona told Better Homes & Gardens.
Contracts can simplify your life. It’s not easy to break an agreement, especially if you are dealing with multiple parties. But a properly written contract presents all parties with clear and understandable terms that no reasonable person could disagree with. Creating an enforceable contract helps protect you against surprise payments, late payments, or other fees that aren’t actually owed.
7. Declutter and organize
A home renovation is a perfect time to pare down and organize your home. Get rid of unwanted items, move furniture out of the renovation zone, and pack and store nonessentials in a garage or short-term storage. Removing clutter from your home is a great way to make room for the new and exciting things that will become important parts of your family’s life after your renovation is complete. It offers an opportunity to refresh your home aesthetic while you get stuff done in other rooms. “If there is something you use only a few times a year…those items can be stored away in a basement or closet,” professional organizer Debbie Lillard told HGTV.com.
If you’ll be living in your home during the renovations, consider your family’s daily needs and pack essentials accordingly. Houzz recommends using storage that moves, such as a portable covered clothes rail and some lightweight drawers on wheels. Pack everyday necessities in clear, labeled, plastic bins so you can see what’s in them.
8. Pack Away Your Valuables
If you make renovations, your floors and other valuables should be protected for the duration of the project. ”A remodeling project is going to affect every room in the house,” A. J. Paron-Wildes, general manager of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen in St. Louis Park, Minnesota told Better Homes & Gardens. “The homeowners need to take down pictures, move vases, and pack away valuables before work begins.” Put down the paper to protect your hardwood floors, drape furniture with tarps or plastic, and move your valuables to a safe or a safety deposit box offsite.
9. Plan a renovation-free zone
If you opt to stay in the home during renovations, pick a room in the house that is off-limits to everyone but you, suggest the experts at David Gray Design. It could be the master bedroom, where you can create a separate area your family can spend time together in at least semi-relaxation. Or it could be an upper-level room where you and your family can curl up on the floor and read a book, talk on the phone or just watch TV — all while being blocks off from the noise and chaos of renovation.
10. Take a mini-vacation
There’s no shame in running away (briefly) from all the dust and destruction, says designer and blogger Cathy Poshusta, who is chronicling her renovation of a 105-year-old farmhouse in Washington on her blog The Grit & Polish. “Give yourself a break when you need it,” she told Architectural Digest. “Renting a hotel room for the night doesn’t cost that much and can give you the renewed energy needed to complete a renovation.”
Want more home renovation tips?
Our number one home renovation tip? Go with the professionals. When it comes to renovating your house, hiring professionals comes with an array of benefits that will make your home more livable and helps you save money. With the right professional at your side, the process of renovating can move forward smoothly.
Whether it’s a new roof, windows, siding, or doors, the Watkins family of products are the go-to replacement and installation experts for all your home renovation projects. Contact Watkins Home Products at 601-966-8233 or online to request a free estimate.