Starting a home renovation can be such an overwhelming time for you and your family, especially if you have not tried doing one before. Whether it is just a part of your home or the whole house, renovation will surely involve several details that can easily become daunting and confusing for you. Because home remodels take time and money, there are a number of steps that you must be aware of in order to ensure that your home remodel goes as smoothly as possible. Moreover, because you are most likely to hit a detailed timeline and max budget for the project, here are some steps and tips for planning a home remodel in order to choose how to order, prioritize and build a detailed home project plan that will help reduce your stress level while keeping you on budget and on schedule

  1. Planning

One of the most time consuming parts of renovating your home is the planning phase. Just like any other project, a whole-house renovation just does not immediately start because of an eureka moment. There are too many factors that you must consider in the overall plan for your remodeling project and choices you have to make in order to make the whole project work. With that, everything about your home renovation should be well  thought-out, researched, and discussed. Hence, developing a plan is the first and maybe one of the most crucial steps in a remodeling project. A project plan should clearly state the goal for your renovation and should include designing inspiration and an extensive outline of the work that requires to be completed. To be more specific, your project plan should also include blueprints or the sketches of your finished project; a list of needs and wants for your project; and project steps divided into DIY steps and steps that will require a professional.

In order to breakdown and help you, here are the specific things you must include in the planning phase of your home renovation: 

Home Renovation plan

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  • Plan your budget

As they say, when it comes to a whole-house remodeling project the sky really is the limit. From the size of the house to the style and design, the amount of demolition and reconstruction that will be carried out, the customization, details, and luxuries that you desire to add, all of these factors will significantly influence your final output. So the biggest decision that you have to make during your planning process is the amount of money you are willing to spend. With that, setting a budget should surely be your top priority when doing a home renovation. It is vital that you have a maximum amount you are willing to spend in mind and to make sure that you should never go over your budget. The different costs that factor into a house remodel can be much different than you think, so you must start a running list of all your must-haves or home essentials and the things you want to be in your house in a spreadsheet. After doing that, do some extensive research in order to determine even just the average costs for those items, and tally it all up together so that you get a better idea of how much those items would cost.

You must also remember that the most difficult aspect of budgeting is estimating the cost of labor. However, it is usually a safe bet to plan for labor accounting for approximately 15% to 30% of your total budget for the project. Moreover, depending on the size and complexity of your project, a 10% to 20% contingency fund should also be included in your total budget. This may appear like putting too much contingency money for a project especially when you are trying to make every dollar count, but it must be noted that this fund serves as a safety net, and you may be left with some extra dollars if it goes unutilized. Furthermore, it must also be noted that a wide majority of issues arise during the demolition and framing or drywall process. This is when common yet significant problems such as leaking pipes, mold, defective wiring, damaged foundations, and termite damage are frequently discovered. Once you get through these stages of the process, you can now spend your contingency funds on things that you like such as house furnitures or even splurge on that freestanding tub or those fancy light fixtures you had your eye on.

  • Investigate local zoning regulations and permits

Before starting your project, you must first consider your local zoning regulations and also apply for your local permits. At this point in planning a home renovation, it is important to make sure that your neighborhood is zoned for your remodel because there are some locations that do not allow some renovations such as garage conversions. You must also ask your locality’s permit applications because if you are completing a project that will change the structure of your home or the use of a room, you will most likely need a permit. It is vital that you wait to apply for permits until you have hired a team and built a project timeline. It is usually recommended to apply for permits 6 to 12 months before you would like to begin your home renovations. 

  • Visualize your dream house

This is actually one of the first things that you must do when you want to have your home renovated. You must first have a vision of how your home should look like. You can sketch on a cocktail napkin, or have a full-blown architectural plan, or just a firm set of thoughts about how the remodel should progress. You may also want to start by looking through magazines or visiting home improvement stores in order to have some ideas and inspiration. But before capitalizing on those dreams, you must consider if they will work in the layout of the house, add to its function or even fit into the budget. It is a good idea to prioritize the top 5 to 10 home essentials before making a definite plan.

You must also consider the size of your renovation or how much of the home are you willing to renovate. You must ask yourself if you are going to renovate every room or just the kitchen, the living, or the dining area, or even consider renovating the square footage you already have or add another room or a story of the house. All of these are important questions regarding the size of the home because they will greatly affect your budget. So you must envision what changes you want with the space that you have.

Another thing that you must include in visualizing your dream house is its style and design. Everyone has their unique personality and hence personal style and design they want in their homes. You should pick something that will definitely not go out of style, while making sure that the other decision makers and members in the family approve of the style. It is important that you do not pick a style and design that is so trendy because you will have the want to update it again in a few years or get so customized with the lighting or built-in cabinets that it is almost impossible to resell them later in the market. There are definitely a number of different styles to choose from such as classic, rustic, industrial, or modern and many more. Once you have decided what style and design you want,   you must stick with it as it will influence the structure and materials you will choose as well.

Last thing that you should include in your visualization is the future use of the house. Even if you are not planning to remodel the whole house at once it is important to plan ahead to future phases. This is especially relevant if these future phases will need duct work, plumbing, or electrical changes. Even something as small as a misplaced light or electrical outlet could cause problems for later renovations. Another future aspect to consider is how will you utilize your home as you grow older. While it might be nice to have a low-rise toilet for your toddler now, how will this be used once your kids are teenagers? Your teens might like a customized video game room, but will this space be appropriate once they move out? Whatever customizing or personal design work you plan now, make sure it will last through the next 20-30 years and not just fit your family’s current needs.

dream home
Black bar stools at kitchen island and sofa with pillows in spacious interior in rustic style
  1. Contact your contractor

Hiring a contractor might be one of the best ideas you can make when doing a whole-house renovation. Contractors like Remodeling Contractors in Des Moines can help make the whole process simple and stress-free. Not only will they be able to tell you what will work or not work with your current home, they’ll provide suggestions for design, style, and the most current technologies in home improvement that you may not have considered. They are also invaluable when it comes to hiring sub-contractors such as plumbers, electricians, and carpenters who specialize in different areas of the home. Here are some pointers from the National Association of home builders on How to find a contractor in Des Moines.

Next in your home project planning, you’ll need to hire your team. Don’t choose your contractors on cost estimates alone. When interviewing and selecting your contractors, also consider:

  • Years of experience: A contractor who’s been doing business for a long time makes them a safer bet than one who is new to the business.
  • Contracting license: Make sure your contractor has gone through all the steps needed to obtain any required certifications specific to their line of work.
  • Certificate of insurance: Contractors should have workers’ compensation and liability insurance for the type of work they perform.
  • References: Request and call references. This is a great way to make sure your contractor isn’t just good on paper.
  • Payment schedule: A reputable contractor won’t ask you to pay the full price upfront, and the Better Business Bureau advises not to. However, it’s important to discuss payment terms before construction begins. In some cases, it’s better to spend a little extra to get someone you’re comfortable working with.

If you are hiring multiple contractors for a job, determine who is in charge before the project begins to avoid confusion or slowdown later.

Completing a DIY project? During this step, make sure you have the expertise and support you need to complete the job without hired help, including confirming the help of friends of family for when your project starts.

When to start: 2 to 3 months before your start date

When planning your home renovation, don’t be afraid to quiz your contractor about every step of the process.

Find out their professional opinion about your:

  • Budget
  • Schedule
  • Other contractors
  • Materials

That being said, stick to your plans as much as possible. Don’t let a contractor force a more expensive product or service on you unless there’s a good reason for it. Just use their expertise to validate your choices and prevent serious mistakes.

  1. Start of home renovations

Now that you have a plan in place it is time to begin the anticipated remodeling project. Below are some of the main steps that are involved in a whole-house renovation. Of course some of these steps may not apply to your specific project, especially if you have chosen to do a simple remodel by just updating the floors, refreshing the paint or installing new kitchen cabinets.

The order of these steps may also vary slightly depending on the contractor you hire and how much of the work he will do himself versus how much will be done by subcontractors. When you hire Remodeling Contractors you can be assured that each of these steps will be handled with the highest importance and carefulness. We will sit down with you and discuss your concerns as well as use the best quality materials for completion.

  1. Demolition – Before the new and improved can be installed, the old needs to be done away with. Demolition can mean different things to different homeowners, but could include everything from pulling up carpet and wallpaper to tearing down walls or cutting a hole in the roof. Some demolition projects can be done in a day or two while others may take much longer. You will want to have a plan in place for staying somewhere else during this process or moving the location of the demolished room to somewhere else in the house.
  2. Rebuilding – After the demo is complete it is time to start rebuilding. If walls are being repositioned or added this is the step where wood framing is reassembled along with windows and doors being installed within the framework. For room add-ons, the roof will be added and enclosed along with the gutters and exterior siding.
  3. Mechanicals – Once the skeleton of the new rooms has been completed, the utilities can be repositioned to fit the space. This step may also coincide with the rebuilding step if your contractor wants to piece everything together at the same time. Depending on the scope of your project this might be a good time to rewire the entire house especially if you live in an older model. For those who are installing new appliances or find they will be utilizing numerous electronic devices, the electrical panel may need updating as well. Gas and water utilities need to be considered especially if you are remodeling a bathroom and/or a kitchen. Water lines are not as easy to move so your remodeling project may have to be carefully planned around existing pipes. However, this is also a good opportunity to update water supply lines to new copper pipes which are not only more sturdy but allow water to run more quietly. For a remodel that is going to add gas appliances, running new pipes is a must but a larger meter may need to be installed too. During this third step, the duct work for central heating and air conditioning units will also be moved or extended to accommodate your new space.
  4. Walls – After all of the behind the scenes work is done it is time to start enclosing the walls. Insulation will be inserted or blown in first. Dry wall will be hung next along with taping, mudding, and sanding. Once the walls are smooth they are ready for paint, wall paper, or whatever finish you chose during your planning stages.
  5. Flooring – While some contractors choose to install the flooring after the walls have been painted and finished in order to avoid damage to the floors, others could recommend flooring first. This will be discussed as part of your overall plan. Any needed subflooring will likely have been installed during the rebuilding step but now is the time for your personal choice in flooring to bring the room together.
  6. Cabinets – This is the step where your personal design choices really start to become noticeable. Any new cabinets for the kitchen or bathroom will be installed during this step. Everything from upper storage cabinets to vanities along with countertops that have been pre-cut with spaces to accommodate sinks and appliances. This step will probably be skipped if you only remodeled the bedrooms or living room.
  7. Appliances – Your new space is now ready to become functional. Any new appliances you fit into your plan and budget will be installed. Everything from the refrigerator to the stove, sinks and tubs with their stylish faucets and fixtures, as well as the washer and dryer. Even if you chose to keep your previous appliances they will be introduced to their new locations.
  8. Final touches – Before clean-up can begin all of the finishing touches will be applied. Touch-ups to paint will be completed along with any wallpaper that needed to wait until floors were done. Those personal touches like the customized backsplash and light fixtures will be installed. Along with door and window trim, hooks, shelving, and hardware. If you aren’t a person with an eye for decorating, this is the step in which an interior decorator can help make your personal style a reality.