There are great reasons to undergo a home renovation: to fix or update an aging (but still solid) home, to make room for new family members, or simply to build a relaxing space for watching football or playing Scrabble®.
But it can be difficult to remember these benefits when you’re staring down the barrel of a huge, expensive, and invasive process during which millions of decisions will need to be made — by you.
Luckily, we’ve compiled 6 tips to help you make it through your next renovation with your head on straight.
1. Plan, plan, and then plan some more
Your home most likely has a foundation, and for a very good reason: when Mother Nature gets angry, your home stays in one piece.
Think of your renovation in the same way. If you don’t create a solid base by planning, the project may begin to fall apart when stress and challenges arise. You’ll want to make as many decisions as possible before construction begins. Some of the most important decisions are as follows:
Choosing the right team
The contractors, electricians, and plumbers you hire will spend lots of time in your home during renovation — so make sure you actually like them. You need to be able to trust that they’ll do their jobs and respect your property. Contractor interviews are important and should be treated as such. Good contractors will have good client references. These can be a great way to get perspective on work habits, efficiency, credibility, and work quality. If they don’t offer references, ask!
If you successfully manage your expectations up front, the number of frustrating surprises will be minimal.
Be realistic with your budget, and understand that there are usually additional costs added during the process. Also, don’t be too optimistic with your timeline. Ask the contractor for the worst-case scenario completion date, and plan for that. That way, if it’s finished before then, you’ll be ecstatic.
Living at home or not
Should you stay or should you go? It’ll be different for every renovation, but it’s easiest to plan ahead instead of fleeing last minute. And if you have young children or a medical condition, there may be specific times you’ll want to be out of the house (like when they’re refinishing floors, painting, or demolishing).
Making interior design choices
Try your best to decide on designs before the renovation starts. That way, you won’t be making hundreds of specific decisions on the fly — a method that may result in regret.
2. Pack like a pro
Nobody likes having to do the same thing twice. If you’re going to take the time to wash and clean your belongings before stowing, pack them well. If you don’t, dust will invade and you’ll most likely have to rewash everything. Here are a few tips for packing your prized possessions:
- Use air bubble packaging or newspaper, a cheaper alternative for not-so-fragile things, to protect your belongings before boxing them up.
- Pack like you’re trying to beat your high score in Tetris® and label your boxes. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to dig through every sealed box because I didn’t label them.
- Set a 35-pound maximum weight limit for each box to make moving easier. Use your bathroom scale, or if you don’t have one, your best judgment — if it feels too heavy to lift, it probably is.
- Store your framed artwork and mirrors in an upright position.
Weed out unnecessary items
Deciding what to keep and what to pitch can be difficult, but there’s no better time for cleaning out than while you’re packing up. And doing so will help make your new living space less cluttered.
3. Stay the course
If you want to finish on schedule and within budget, don’t stray from your original plan. Avoid additional changes like moving outlet locations, adjusting wall color, or changing backsplash tile once you’ve begun. These tend to add up during a project, delaying completion by weeks and adding hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars to your total cost. And making last-minute decisions is one of the most stressful aspects of home renovation, especially if you’re not the only one making decisions.
4. Keep things tidy
Right from the start, work with your contractor’s team to keep your home as clean as possible. For example, if you know they’ll be sanding, make sure they cover any furniture within dust’s range. While some days might still be messy, this’ll help to reduce your stress due to mess.
5. Trust your instincts
This applies to all aspects of your renovation. Whether your gut’s telling you that the sage green tapestries don’t work or that the contractor you’re interviewing can’t be trusted, it’s probably right.
6. Enjoy the process
It may seem challenging and exhausting at times (maybe more often than not), but remember that your renovation is an opportunity to showcase your creativity and personalize the place you call home. And if you do it right, you’ll be left with a beautiful space to live in. So put a smile on your face, and make the best of the situation.
Don’t forget to enjoy the results
Once you’ve finished, it’s time to celebrate and relax. Invite some friends over for a game night, or host a dinner party for your coworkers — whatever you do, enjoy your new space!
Protect your beautiful new space
Make sure your amazing new space (and even some of your stuff) is covered with homeowners insurance. Not sure where to start? Head over to esurance.com to do everything from learning how homeowners insurance works to easily getting a quote!