The first step to renovating a home is a fairly simple one. You find inspiration. Perhaps you noticed your neighbors have a new structural addition and want something similar for your home.
Or maybe you saw images of renovated living spaces online and felt you just had to have those features as well.
5 Most Important Things to Do Before Renovating Your Home
No matter how you found your inspiration, it’s now motivating you to make some big changes around the house. Before you begin this extensive project, here are five important steps to take.
You already have a mental list of all the features that you’d love to see in your renovation project. Now is the time to add a bit of practicality to your dream home concept.
Your vision shouldn’t be limited to the features you find attractive – it should also include renovation ideas that actually increase the market value of your home.
Keep the following upgrades in mind:
Whether you decide to repaint the porch or install a new doorbell, small improvements to the front of the structure will instantly grab attention.
If your home doesn’t have a front porch, consider adding a new awning to provide at least a little bit of shelter right outside your door. Other improvements to the front of your home, such as repainting windows, could also add value.
The areas surrounding the structure of your home could use some touch-ups as well. In some cases, you might want to simply trim some hedges.
Or you might decide to plant some trees for additional shade in an otherwise exposed yard. If you have enough space in the backyard, you can consider adding a deck and pergola.
In the kitchen, think about making changes that add space to the room. This could involve anything from rearranging cabinets to completely knocking out a wall that separates the kitchen from the dining room and replacing it with an island.
Small changes to the bathroom, such as adding a new medicine cabinet or replacing faucets, are fairly quick ways to boost your home’s value. If you really want to go the extra mile, consider adding on an additional bathroom.
This is an especially useful upgrade for a growing family, and it can make your home much more attractive when it’s on the market.
While an additional bathroom is nice, there are other possibilities when it comes to expanding your home.
Building on additional rooms can require time and money, but it’ll definitely boost your home’s value. If you don’t want to build an entirely new structure, you can simply convert current spaces into something new. For example, an attic or basement can become a new bedroom.
Other value-adding upgrades can include:
- Replacing floor tiles
- Replacing old carpeting
- Installing a more efficient HVAC system
- Increasing closet space throughout the house
- Adding low-flow fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom
- Adding recessed lighting and dimmers
You might find that some of these ideas already overlap with your vision of a dream home. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to bump them up in priority on your list of must-have renovations.
Have a Timeline
When you’re renovating your living space, your day-to-day life will likely be affected. Contractors will be in and out of the house and, depending on how extensive the project is, some rooms might be inaccessible for periods of time.
With all that in mind, establishing some kind of timeline is important. You can negotiate with your contractors and come to some kind of agreement on the deadline. However, it’s best to think of that deadline as a possibility, not a certainty.
Delays happen – whether they come in the form of poor weather conditions or unexpected complications with the foundation of your home. Having the right expectations can help you avoid disappointments, such as that patio not being ready in time for your Fourth of July party.
Speaking of unexpected delays, discovering mold halfway through your renovation can really derail your carefully laid plans. Rather than risk being surprised later, have a professional mold testing performed on your living space. There are three basic types of mold tests.
- Air testing: This process will determine the number of mold spores drifting around in the air.
- Surface testing: The opposite of an air test, this process relies on samples collected on surfaces around your home.
- Bulk testing: This involves taking material from the home, such as a section of carpet or drywall, for further inspection.
Each test has certain advantages and disadvantages. For example, an air sample can help you measure the amount of mold in the room, even if the source is unknown.
In all cases, the collected samples must be examined, typically in a lab setting, before you know the results. If mold is present, you shouldn’t leave it in place. While different people have different sensitivity levels to mold, exposure can cause all sorts of complications, including difficulty breathing, eye, and nose irritation, and skin rashes.
Mold removal professionals like those at Pure Maintenance Nevada offer fast, non-toxic solutions to mold growth, so you won’t need to worry about any of the aforementioned symptoms.
Be Ready to Pay
If you plan on covering the cost of the renovation using loans, you’ll want to have a project estimate to share. Your credit rating can have an impact on the conditions of your loan, so run a credit check and determine if there are any steps you can take to boost your score.
Loan options for your renovation can range from cash-out mortgage refinance and home equity loans (or second mortgages) to FHA 203(k) loans and unsecured loans. Be ready to put in some research to determine what route is the best for your current financial situation.
When it comes to DIY projects, a list of materials along with their price tags is a necessity. Whatever estimate you come up with, you’ll want to give yourself a little wiggle room to account for unexpected costs, so tack on an extra 10 percent.
Get to Know Potential Contractors
If you plan on hiring a contractor to handle the renovations, the first thing you’ll notice is how many options are out there. Don’t settle for the service with the most visibility. Base your decision on customer reviews and recommendations.
It’s easy to find business reviews online. Avoid any contractors with low ratings. If you don’t want to rely on reviews written by strangers, ask your friends and neighbors for their opinions on local renovation companies. Whatever you do, steer clear of contractors who don’t seem to have insurance, permits, and other relevant paperwork.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, schedule a meeting with each contractor so you can get an estimate. This is your chance to look for some last-minute savings before renovating your home.