So you’ve decided (along with many, many others in 2023) to renovate your home! As someone who spent the last three months going through the renovation process, I thought I would share what I’ve learned to help better prepare you for the journey ahead and hopefully leave you thinking, “I’m so glad I was ready for that!”
Are You Ready For A Big Project?
- It will always take more TIME and more MONEY that you planned. I have never heard of a project coming in under budget or being completed in half the time you were told. Unexpected issues come up. Contractors fall behind. Supplies get back ordered. Things happen and you have to be ready to go with the flow. If you have realistic expectations from the beginning, the inevitable delays will be a little easier to swallow.
- You need to be available at all times. Probably the biggest advantage of doing a renovation during COVID has been that my husband is working from home. That means he’s always available to sign for deliveries, talk to contractors and check on progress. If you have the type of job that doesn’t give you that kind of flexibility, or you aren’t able to “run home,” a big renovation might not be for you.
- You think you’ve thought of it all, but you haven’t. We spent hours designing the kitchen, planning the space and looking at colors and selections. However, once the work started, we realized there were a number of things we had given no thought at all. Did we want the toilet to go on the left side or right side of the bathroom? What kind of closet doors did we want? Where should the lighting go? Again, being available to make last minute decisions is imperative.
- If you aren’t a decorator, hire one. Renovations are expensive and there are a lot of beautiful choices. Don’t waste money changing paint colors later or being unhappy with something you picked out. There are many talented decorators available to pay by the hour, and for just a few hours investment, they can’t make sure your paint, floors, cabinets, countertops and fixtures all work beautifully together in your home.
- Hire a professional for the big projects. Weekend handymen are great, but most projects take more than a weekend. Hire a reputable contractor for the big stuff; electric, plumbing and wiring should only be done by professionals. These types of mistakes are too costly to mess around with.
- Be prepared to live in the dust. You are in the middle of a construction site. Truly. The dust never ends, the noise is loud and constant and new people are walking in and out of your home at all times. Try to get out of the way and live in a part of the house that won’t be near the construction.
- If you think you can DIY, know the consequences. I get it. We’ve all watched the shows and thought, “If they can do it, so can I.” The reality is, there is no behind the scenes team at your house tearing out walls and putting up shiplap. Renovations require accurate measurements, correct cuts and considerable time. If you have a project in mind and want to give it a shot, go for it. In my experience, getting it done faster and with fewer mishaps is worth a few calls to contractors.
I hope this helps you understand the good, the bad and the ugly of home renovation. With a lot of time and patience, you can and WILL get the home you’ve always dreamed of!