How do you envision living the next twelve months? Maybe travel has been calling your name and it’s finally time to see more of the world. For others, perhaps 2019 is the year of growth and learning, and reading a book a month is their New Year’s resolution. For us, though, the new year provides the opportunity to finally take action on all those home renovation projects we’ve only dreamt about but never brought to fruition.
What have you had in mind? Installing those gorgeous floor to ceiling windows? Tackling the kitchen? Giving the bathroom a face lift? Whatever project you’ve been dying to start, now’s the time to take action! Get your head out of HGTV Magazine and get to work by following these steps.
- Establish a Budget
Okay, dream decorators and DIY-ers: this step is the single most important move you can make when starting your home renovation project. You need to lay out your budget clearly and concisely to save yourself from a world of heartache when you find out later that there’s no room left for those stunning granite countertops that were supposed to be the focal point of the entire space.
Take a look at your financials and determine an amount that you can reasonably afford to spend on your renovation project without going too far into the red. If you have your sights on some expensive home rehabbing, keep in mind that there may be home renovation financing available to you, but be mindful not to bite off more than you can chew—you don’t want your design project to put you too far into debt that you can’t actually enjoy it!
When making decisions and narrowing down the scope of your project (odds are you’ll need to scale back your ambition) try to focus more on renovations that add value to your property versus mere cosmetic changes. That way, if you ever decide to sell in the future, you could better your chances of seeing a return on your investment rather than trying to collect money on a then-trendy, now-outdated design concept.
Pro tip: Go for timeless materials and color combinations versus bold statements that are trendy right now.
- Hire a Contractor
This might be one of the more stressful elements of your project planning; interviewing contractors is sort of like going on blind dates—despite all the recommendations or reviews, you never actually know what you’re going to get. Don’t let the fear of the unknown prevent you from interviewing and receiving bids from at least three different contractors. Request to see examples from their portfolio of projects similar to the one you have in mind. You wouldn’t want someone who specializes in xeriscaping, for example, to take on your massive kitchen remodel. Come prepared (sort of like a blind date!) with a list of questions, such as:
- “What is your timeline for completion?”
- “What is your working day like?”
- “How are your payments scheduled?”
- “How will additional charges be dealt?”
- “Will you pull the permits required for this job?”
- “Can I see proof of licensing and certification?”
Pro tip: Cheapest isn’t always best when it comes to hiring contractors. Above all else, you need someone—and preferably, their own dedicated team of workers—to protect the security of your home and the integrity of your design project.
- Get to Work!
If you’re not hiring a contractor and are going the DIY-route instead, first of all, good luck! You’re going to need it, but the fruits of your labor will be well worth the elbow grease (and those saved pennies will be all the sweeter!). Secondly, make sure you obtain all permits and schedule any necessary inspections before getting to work. Trust us, “upset” will be an understatement if you have to go back and undo all the work that was against code!
Otherwise, it’s time to let your contractor break ground and get started with your bathroom, bedroom, or home office upgrades. Try to keep your stress levels at a minimum and avoid being one of those dreaded helicopter homeowners who hovers and tries to micromanage every detail. Let the person you chose to hire do his or her job, and if construction starts to cut into your quality of living, think about an extended Airbnb stay until the dust settles.
New year, new home! What’s at the top of your renovation list for 2019? Let us know in the comments below!