Home improvements can be stressful, but they don’t have to be. Here are some easy tips to improve the quality of a home renovation project.
Now is an ideal time to renovate. Due to COVID, contractors are hungry for work and competitive with their bids. Costs for materials are down.
Right now, homeowners can get a sweet deal on a room extension, kitchen refurb, new conservatory roof, or new master bathroom with savings of 25 to 30 percent over 2019r’s bids. But you can lose all these opportunities if proper preparation falls through the cracks. Homeowners must do a little prep work to ensure a refurbishment project runs smoothly from start to completion.
Homeowners who perform specific duties in advance will simplify the renovation process and avoid certain obstacles. Whether it’s a family room make-over, sunroom extension, or window renovation project, homeowners should have a clear vision of what they want to achieve long before the builders show up.
Choosing Design Elements
There are infinite products and materials to choose from, and because of this, many renovation projects get delayed while the homeowner shops. For a kitchen renovation, the decisions that you should make in advance are:
- French country, contemporary, English cottage, cabinets
- Oak, cherry, maple, fixtures
- Stainless steel, brushed nickel, antique bronze, and counters
- Ceramic tile, granite, or Corian
Nailing down these elements before construction begins will keep improvement projects in check. Having a clear idea upfront of style, products and materials will save time and confusion once the project starts.
Budgeting and Permits for Home Improvement
Researching products and costs for materials in advance will help determine a realistic budget, add estimated contractor fees, and allow enough overage for unforeseen events.
Homeowners can perform due diligence by checking with their city’s building department to ensure there are no restrictions on construction. Permits are required for fences that stand over six feet tall, attached decking, and structurally making changes to the dwelling. Obtaining a permit can take a few months, though it might be quicker now that construction has slowed down.
Finding a Contractor
Ask for referrals. A licensed contractor is highly recommended for any major home renovation, home improvement, or home repair project. A great sign of a dependable contractor is that they are more than happy to show you samples of their previous work and provide testimonials from past customers. Ask to visit their completed work and, if possible, speak to their previous clients.
The contractor’s fees vary by location and level of expertise. There are three types of fees:
- Cost-plus – the contractor charges a fee for services, materials, and subcontractors.
- Fixed fee – the contractor bids one price to perform the work. Fixed fees make it easier to plan the home renovation budget.
- Percentage fee – the contractor’s fees are based on a percentage of the project’s total cost.
Preparing for a Start Date
A task that is often overlooked is preparing the space that is to be renovated. It would help if you cleaned out the area before the contractors arrive. If the project is a kitchen or bath remodel, you should empty all drawers and cabinets the day before the project begins. You should clear out space in the garage for the builder’s supplies and tools. A plastic walking path between the job site and garage will protect floors from dirt and damage.
The home renovation process is a positive experience in most cases. However, to ensure success and reduce stress, pre-planning and a little leg work are crucial.