Tips for Taking on Your Own Renovation

Kevin Gardner

You may be thinking about renovating your home. However, many find the challenge to be daunting. This stops them from tackling this project. It does not have to be a headache, though. There is a way to get the home you want and not be miserable. Let's go over some tips and tricks that can help you get the home you want in a painless way.

The List

Go through every room in your home and write a list of things you would like to change. Do not worry about the budget now. Create the ultimate list. Do you want to tear down the wall in the kitchen to have an open concept space? Do you want to install a glass shower in your bathroom? What about putting in a nook? Write it all down. You can even ask your partner or children what they would like to change about the home. They may give you some ideas that you didn't even think of. Scope out Pinterest. It can also give you some clues as to what you might want.

Narrowing It Down

Once you have your list, narrow it down. Unfortunately, your budget may not cover everything you would like to tackle. Think about what you really would like to change. Understand that renovations may last weeks to months depending on how large the renovation job is. Also, if this is not your forever home, you have to think about what future buyers may like. Painting walls bright, ostentatious colors may turn off future buyers from purchasing the home. When doing a kitchen remodel, pick something that is popular. Many people like stainless steel. Remember that when purchasing a home, people are focusing on the kitchen and the bathrooms. Maybe narrowing the renovation to those things will help improve the value of your home when it is time to sell.

Why is a Contractor Useful

Many people consider doing a project themselves. A general contractor usually charges an extra 10% to manage the renovation. However, if all you can do is slap on some paint and put together some IKEA furniture, you need a contractor. A general contractor can provide you with a schedule for the renovation so you more or less know when it will be over. With work and responsibilities, it may be hard to complete projects on your own. Time is everything. If paying someone a little more to get the renovation done faster, it is worth the money. A contractor will keep everything on task. The contractor also has a long list of people to help complete the renovation. You may know a reliable plumber but what about the drywall installer or painter? Are you able to keep everyone on schedule and on task? The contractor knows plumbers, painters, and carpenters. All of these people are skilled at their job so it is done right the first time.

Picking a Contractor

John Wooden, a famous basketball player and coach, once said, "Ïf you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it again?" When picking a contractor, it is important to be picky. Being cheap is not a good idea in this circumstance. The cheaper route may mean you will have to do the project again. Find a contractor who is licensed and has a good reputation. If your personality clashes with the first contractor you meet, find another one. Remember that you will be working with this person for the next few weeks or months. You have to get along. Talk to a few and take into consideration their quotes before making a decision. Usually, your gut will know the right choice.

Making a Budget

When considering a renovation, the budget is the main thing that can make or break the project. Budgeting does not just involve your income level now. If you are planning on having a baby in the near future, how is that going to affect the budget? Add 20% to how much you think a renovation would cost. Many people underestimate the costs. Slapping the renovation on your credit card is not a good idea, so really consider what you can put aside. Once you have decided on the budget, stick to it. It can be very easy to get ahead of yourself, but you have to remember that a renovation is an investment in your home. It is not supposed to be an opportunity to get into debt.

Having a Separate Account for the Renovation

It is important to keep receipts for a renovation as some updates may be tax deductible. Talking to your accountant before doing the renovation may help you decide what updates you would like to take on to get tax benefits. High-yielding saving accounts are a great way to make your money grow as you plan out your renovation. Keeping a separate account is a great way to keep organized. Doing so will prevent your personal finances from being mixed up with your renovation expenses.

The Contract

It is important to protect yourself when deciding on a home renovation. Therefore, one should be drafted between you and your contractor. In the contract should be written what you want and do not want in the renovation as well as the start and end date of the project. Not having a contract can mean risking the project being stalled. You have to hold your contractor accountable.

Insurance for the Renovation

It is possible that your home value may go up after a renovation. Your current homeowner's insurance may not cover that. Check with your insurance agent to be sure you have adequate insurance. You need the proper coverage in the event you have to rebuild your home.

The truth is accidents happen. Make sure your general contractor is properly insured as you do not want to end up in a lawsuit. If the general contractor does not have adequate insurance, then it is better to find a new one. If you are going the do-it-yourself route and friends are helping out, make sure you have good liability coverage. This covers medical fees that may come up. It can also help with wages missed due to your friend's injuries.


Talk to your contractor before breaking down walls. You may end up doing damage that can cost you more in the future. Make sure you protect your hardwood flooring. It is important to have the proper clothing and protection when taking part in the demolition. You do not want to inhale harmful substances or get something in your eye. Demolition can be exciting but you should remember to take these things into consideration.

Living Arrangements

If you are only updating your kitchen or bathroom, it may be possible to stay in the home during the renovation. However, if the renovation is massive and extensive, it may be wise to find accommodations outside the home. Perhaps you can stay with family, a hotel, or rent out an Airbnb. That also needs to be considered in your budget. If you choose to stay in the home during the renovation, pick a room in the home that is off limits and is not being renovated.

Organizing and Purging the Old

Put aside the things you need on a regular basis before the renovation so they are easy to find. Pack away valuables so they do not get dusty or broken during the renovation. Dust gets everywhere during a renovation. Cover any valuables or furniture that would easily get damaged by the dust. Makes sure to take down curtains as well as cover up furniture. Perhaps renting a storage unit can be a good way to prevent valuables from being destroyed.

A renovation is a perfect time to rid your place of old things you no longer need or are outdated. Get rid of the old pots in your kitchen that you no longer use. Take down the campy drapes that you no longer like and sell them. Sometimes getting rid of old things can make the room feel bigger as well as get rid of clutter.

Putting It All Together

A renovation is an exciting project to take on. With it, however, are many things to keep in mind. It is important to stay organized. A general contractor can help you do so. It is also important to be aware of your finances when taking this on. Staying in the budget and having a separate account can help with this. Also, repurposing old things can be a way to keep costs low.