There are plenty of reasons you may be planning to renovate your home. Perhaps your roof has seen better days and has started leaking, or a crack in the foundation needs to be taken care of sooner than later. House renovation may also include redecorating, extending or redesigning it to improve its value, functionality and comfort.
Whatever motivates you, house remodeling can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Without meticulous planning, what seemed like a simple and fun project initially can easily be a path full of frustrations and unforeseen expenses. Here are the five most important things to consider when renovating a home, according to experts.
Start With Planning and Designing
Home renovation tends to be more complex than building from scratch because you’re adding new ideas to an existing structure. To make the entire process easy, you want to spend quality time planning every step of the project. A well-thought-out plan makes the renovation process less frustrating. You also get ample time to correct potentially expensive mistakes before your new space takes shape.
Thanks to technology, home renovations are much easier and more fun today. Instead of perusing home improvement magazines for inspiration, sites like Pinterest and Houzz have hundreds of remodeling ideas awaiting you.
And you don’t need to make rough sketches on paper anymore. You’ll find tons of renovation apps that let you take a picture of the space you’re remodeling. After uploading the photos, an app like Photo Measures will give you a visual design of how your space will look after renovation. The app allows you to draw out and customize your measurements and export your designs for printing or sharing with your contractors.
Importantly, ensure that your newly renovated spaces match your home’s overall design and decor. This is true, particularly if you’re renovating only a part of your home, for instance, the kitchen.
Create a Remodeling Budget
The cost of renovating a home varies, depending on house size, material preference and the size of the project. For instance, if you’re planning to enhance your entryway with a manufactured stone veneer or build a rooftop family entertainment zone, you should be ready to spend more than average.
Practically speaking, renovating a house costs $10-$60 per square foot, although this can go up to $200 per square foot for some projects.
Another rule of thumb when approximating house renovation costs is budgeting to spend 10%-15% of your house value for every space. For instance, if your home is valued at $250,000, you should not spend more than $37,500 to renovate the kitchen. After identifying how much the entire project will cost, you also need to add an extra 15-20% for unexpected expenses.
The next consideration is to ensure that you have enough funding for the project. It’s best to use only cash when remodeling your home. But you can also use borrowed money, particularly if the project will lower your long-term expenses and increase the value of your home.
Consider Additional Expenses
When renovating, most homeowners only consider the major costs like breaking down walls but leave out other unexpected expenses. Home remodeling opens up several unforeseen expenses that could easily increase your overall budget by a few hundred or thousands in the long run.
A major factor to consider is your homeowners insurance. Depending on the type of project, renovation can increase or lower your monthly home insurance premiums. As a rule of thumb, if the cost of rebuilding your house goes up after renovations, you should expect a similar response in your insurance premiums.
Home renovation projects that increase insurance premiums include adding another room, updating current rooms with high-end building materials and building a swimming pool or jacuzzi.
As mentioned, some renovation projects are likely to lower your insurance costs. For example, a thorough update on your electrical and plumbing systems lowers your home’s risk and may, therefore, be rewarded with lower insurance costs.
Here are other additional costs to expect when planning a home renovation:
- Permits for major projects going beyond the surface
- Disposing of debris
- Pet boarding costs for the duration of the project
- Land survey fees to define property lines
- Bringing your home up to code
DIY or Pay Contractors?
If you’re a confident DIYer with all the right skills and access to the necessary tools, handling the project yourself may save you tons of money that could cover other expenses. But depending on the size and complexity of the project, there are tons of benefits to leaving the project to the pros.
First, home renovation takes time. Even when working with a reputable contractor, the average kitchen in the US can take six to eight weeks to remodel. If you’re planning to renovate your entire home, you should set aside six to twelve months (or even more), depending on its size and complexity. Contracting a professional will make more sense if you work a nine-to-five job and can only afford weekends for your home renovation project.
Second, keep in mind that renovations are complex projects that impact the integrity of the existing structure. One major benefit of hiring a licensed professional is the assurance that the results will be up to code. And in case of a construction issue that jeopardizes the safety and functionality of the new structure, the contractor is responsible for fixing it.
Prioritize Your Remodeling Projects
Another tricky part when planning a home renovation is determining where to start. This is especially true when you want to do a whole-house overhaul.
Return on investment (ROI) will be your first consideration, particularly if you intend to sell the house in the near future. In that case, you’ll want to start with the kitchen and bathroom because they add the most value to a house.
Another critical aspect when prioritizing your home renovation projects is your budget. If you’re working with a limited budget, we’d recommend making a list of all individual projects and getting bids on each.
Next, break them into separate phases, starting with safety issues like leaks in the ceiling, broken circuit breakers and cracks on the wall. Also, this is the time to be true to yourself: separate necessities from luxuries.
With the amount of money you have to start the project, you can knock out some items from the list as you save for the rest.
Photos by Spacejoy on Unsplash