You’ve decided to take the plunge and move forward with that big home renovation you’ve been dreaming of for years. You’re excited and nervous, but are you prepared? Without proper preparation, your dream reno can quickly become a nightmare. To avoid any big mistakes in your next home renovation, take the time to properly prepare and follow these tips.

1. Is Now The Right Time?

desk calendar

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When it comes to planning your project, you should consult your calendar first. Think about the kind of work you’re planning on having done and if its compatible with the weather. While a plumber can work in any season, installing brand new windows in every room in your home is a job best done when the weather is temperate. If you’re planning to have this done in January, you may want to reconsider.

In addition to considering weather, you should consider what’s going on in your personal life. Are you planning on going away for vacation while the renovation is going on? Are there any major family holidays happening that you normally host? Check your calendar for any important life events.

2. Know What You’re Getting Into

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You don’t have to be an expert, that’s why you hired a professional in the first place, but it doesn’t hurt to know what’s going on and what you can expect. Research is key when you’re planning a major home renovation. Luckily there are countless resources these days to research everything you need to know. Never hired a stucco professional before? No worries — a quick search online will tell you the basics of what you need to know. There’s no need to be an expert in stucco removal, but having a general idea of the process and terms can’t hurt. It also helps to know some key terms when you meet with a potential contractor to discuss the project.

3. Budget

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Having the right budget can make or break a project. You don’t want to get half of the work done and realize you’re out of money and only have half of a new roof. This is why planning ahead and keeping track of your budget is so important.

Once you have your budget in place, make sure you stick to it. Don’t spend money you don’t have or plan for additional upgrades you know are way out of your budget. It’s also important to set aside some funds for unexpected costs. Generally 20% of your budget should go to a contingency plan. If nothing goes wrong during your project, you’ll have a little bit of money left to splurge on something nice.

4. Don’t DIY To Save Money

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Going the DIY route with the hopes of saving some money can actually lead to additional costs and a longer timeline. While you may think you can easily save a couple extra bucks tearing out your kitchen yourself before the new one is installed, you may accidentally knock out a pipe from your sink and cause a flood you didn’t have before. You’re already investing a big amount of money, but you’ve budgeted for everything so don’t try and cut corners now. Your DIY attempt could turn into an expensive second project you didn’t want in the first place.

5. Hire Smart

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Your home is your biggest investment and you want to make sure you hire the right professional for the job. Take the time to get quotes from multiple companies, ask your friends and family, and do your research. HomeStars’ reviews are there to help you learn not only about the type of work done, but also about other homeowners’ experiences with similar projects. Read reviews to better understand what others wish they had known before they started their projects and how they handled things that did not go to plan. Once you’ve found a couple companies you would like to get quotes from, be sure to ask them questions about what the reviewers had mentioned.

6. Communication is Key

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There’s a reason this saying has become so cliche. It’s because it’s true. You have to be able to communicate with the company you’ve hired and the workers involved in the project. Don’t be afraid to ask multiple times if you don’t understand something or details are unclear. Will the work be done on the 7th or around the 7th? If you’re concerned about becoming a burden on the project, you can read about how to help your contractor here.

It’s important to communicate your renovation plans to your neighbours, especially if their homes will be impacted by the reno. The last thing you want is your project being held up because your contractor and your neighbour aren’t getting along. Read through this article for tips on how to be a better neighbour during a reno.

7. Make Plans For During The Reno

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Will you be living at home during the renovation or staying somewhere else? This is a decision that shouldn’t be left last minute. This is why it’s so important to know the timeline of your project and how it will sync up with your personal life. If you plan to stay at home during the reno, make sure you know the crew’s schedule so you are not inadvertently in the way. You’ll also have to make arrangements for any children or pets who are normally at home during the day. There are many moving pieces to a reno and you need to know where you fit in.

8. Be Realistic

house renovation prioritization

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It’s important that you’re realistic about your renovation wish list. While you may want a new bathroom, kitchen, and basement right now, your budget and sanity may not allow it. Do not plan to take on more than you can handle. Start small and prioritize your wish list. It’s better to do a little at a time, than taking on one never-ending project. If you’re looking for tips on how to prioritize your home renovations, check out this helpful list.

9. Eyes On The Prize

Going through a renovation is no small feat. While it can be stressful while you’re in the middle of it, don’t give up! Focus on the end result and how happy you’ll be once this is all over. Keep yourself motivated by looking forward to enjoying your newly updated space. Don’t despair and pull the plug halfway through. While you may be annoyed living through a renovation, you’ll be even more upset if your project is left incomplete and your house is still a construction site.

10. Reviews Matter

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We may sound like a broken record, but writing a review when the project is done is the final step of a complete renovation. Not only does reviewing the work done help the company, reviews help the entire HomeStars community.

Review when the job is done and pass on the knowledge you’ve obtained. Not everything goes as smoothly as planned, no matter how much we budget or research. Share your learnings with those who are just entering their renovation. What do you wish you had known ahead of time? What could have gone better? Share these tips so that others can benefit from your experiences.

Taking on a home renovation, no matter the size, is always exciting and overwhelming. Avoid any major mistakes by ensuring you’ve properly planned. Have you encountered any big mistakes you wish you could have avoided? Share them with us on Facebook. Good luck and happy renovating!

Cover image courtesy of Home Building.

Posted by Jessica Greaves