Spring is here! For many homeowners that means it’s time to start on a home improvement project. If you’re one of them, there are a few steps you should take to ensure your renovation goes smoothly, and you enjoy the changes you make to your home. Here are some tips to get you started:
Set Your Budget
The first and biggest decision in home renovation is to figure out how much you are willing to spend. A budget helps you set expectations for yourself. Make sure you don’t overextend yourself financially by setting limits and making project decisions you can actually afford. Figure out how much you must spend or if you need to borrow money from a lender for your project. Get quotes from a few contractors to find the most professional business at the best price. It’s also a good idea to add a buffer of at least 15% to your budget in case there are complications and the work costs more than anticipated.
Identify Your Project
It’s important to have a clear goal for your project. Start with a little research by browsing similar type projects online or visiting home improvement stores for ideas. Much of your vision will depend on your budget. Some important questions to answer include:
- How much of your property do you want to remodel?
- Do you want to remodel every room or just a specific area?
- Do you need to add a room or new story?
- Do you want to renovate all at once, or possibly break it into multiple projects over time?
- How long do you want the renovation to take?
Hire a Contractor
Hiring a good contractor is important. Make sure to do your homework because you’ll be working with your contractor for a long period of time. You should try and find someone you trust in your home. A good communicator who will listen to you and be mindful of your budget is a necessity. Ask around for good references and make note of a contractor’s experience with similar projects to your own.
Obtain Permits and Certifications
It’s important to make sure your home improvement project meets local building codes, especially if you are adding on to the property. State and local authorities will issue these permits to ensure compliance. Go to your governing municipality’s planning office, talk to them about your project and ask what your options are. It’s a good idea to bring photos of your property, measurements of the rooms and perimeter of your house, and any sketched plans that show what you plan to do. They will tell you if a permit is required or not, as well as the submittal requirements, and review and processing times. Permit prices average around $1,000 but can range anywhere from $400 to $1,600. This cost should be factored into your budget.