Are you thinking of or planning a home renovation? We all know this can be a very stressful time. To avoid this as much as possible, I’m sharing a checklist of all the things you need to think about before you start. Preparation is key to project-manage a stress-free project. Here is some advice to get you all prepared to face the big renovation monster. If you are following my blog you should know that we have been planning and carrying out our home renovations for more than a year now. Last year we renovated the upstairs of the house, you can see all the updates here. But after a year-long wait, we are now on day three of our downstairs renovation and I couldn’t be more excited!
A renovation project is divided in 4 main sections.
- The designing of the space
This is when you decide and design any structural changes.
- The planning
This is the time to research, order and decide on contractors, time schedule, budgets, materials and appliances.
- The build
Your renovation project begins, your contractors are starting the works.
- The decorating
Once the build is complete, this is the time to ‘dress’ up your home. Time to choose colours, your soft furnishings and furniture.
Designing and decorating is the fun part. We’ve done all the floorplans ourselves, but you can get an arhitect to design your plans.
Here are all the things that we planned leading towards ‘the big day’ of our renovation.
01. Take your time.
There is nothing worse than throwing all your savings into a home renovation project because you feel your house is not working for you the way it is. Take your time, live for a while in your home (especially if you just bought it). This will allow you to clearly identify the areas that aren’t working for you and what you would really need to change to make it work. We’ve spent almost 2 years on this stage, trying to decide what are our actual needs vs what we like. Check here what we did in the meantime while waiting.
02. Do a mid-way update.
Try to think of ways to sprouse up your existing rooms without breaking the bank. This will make the wait much easier and will revive your love for your home. Check what we’ve done to our living room here and to our dining room here, while waiting. Declutter as much as you can, trust me you will be thanking me when ‘the big project’ takes place. Don’t be afraid of the paint, it will transform your place! And if it doesn’t work, it’s only paint, you can change it easily.
03. Find a good builder.
This proved more dificult than I thought. But after meeting with about 7-8 different bulders, I feel we found ‘the one’. I wanted to find someone that loves his job and would work with me not for me on this project. Doing a big renovation is always stressful, so find someone that is not only skillful but also easy to communicate with and really gets you! Make sure you discuss everything with them, every single detail, your worries, and most importantly your budget. A good builder also comes with a set of good contractors for all the other contractors you need, plumbers, electritians, structural engineers, etc. We’ve opted out of building companies as that proved too expensive for our budget. Make sure you use someone with good reviews and recommendations. A great place to look for contractors is Houzz.
04. Have clarity.
When you get quotes about the work you requested make sure you have clarity about everything. There is no such thing as a silly question, so go back to your contractors as many times as you need until you are absolutely clear of everything that is going to take place. Very important. When you are hiring a contractor for the job, it’s your responsibility to tell them what you need, but it’s their responsibility to tell you the work that is involved. Make sure you have a full understanding of the work that needs to be done, and what is expected from you (apart from just diping your hand in your wallet!).
05. Get your costings right.
Make sure you know how much this project is going to cost you and what you will get for it. Use spreadsheets, apps, whatever works for you to make sure you keep track of everything you need to pay, down to the last detail!
06. Have a contingency plan.
Let’s face it. You can do all the planning of the world, and suddenly when the build starts, your builder discovers that instead of rewiring your kitchen, you need to rewire your whole house. The previous owners did it on the cheap and your electrics are not complying with the regulations. True story – Day two of our build! They say you need to have about 10% extra of your total budget, for any unforseen costs and that I think sounds right.
07. Find somewhere to stay.
If you are trying to renovate whilst living in the house this can be one of the most stressful things. Often left with no electricity, hot water and heating can make life really uncomfortable. Make sure you take those all important breaks and go and stay with family or friends for a few days at a time or even big chunks of time if you can.
08. Stay focus.
On the end goal. Always remember that this project will eventually be completed. Make sure you remember that goal when things get tough.
Good luck with your project!
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