Home Renovations Checklist: Making Your Dreams, a Reality

The Importance Of Understanding Home Renovations

A home renovation project is always very exciting. Whether you're upgrading your home to make it look nice, trying to increase the value of a home so that you can sell it for more, making your home more accessible and manageable for the elderly, or are just looking for a change of scenery without having to move, a renovation project will always be a welcome upgrade. However, renovating isn't the kind of thing that happens overnight. Upgrading your home takes plenty of time, money, and hard work. These things can frustrate you if you're not prepared for them. The renovation process doesn't have to be a negative experience; you can prepare yourself for these roadblocks. Having a detailed plan in place can make renovating your home easier. 

Your Home Renovation Checklist

You'll be relieved that you don't need a play-by-play plan for every part of your home renovation. Not only would such ambition be overkill, it would be impossible to stick to. Having a checklist of things to keep in mind, a plan to overcome each, and a general timeline is enough. Keep this home renovation checklist handy, and you'll drastically increase the chances of a successful renovation project that finishes with minimal frustration.

Understand Your Priorities

Knowing your renovation goals before you start renovating is vital. Do you want renovation work that will just upgrade your kitchen cabinets that look so old that your parents thought they were ancient, or do you plan on doing an entire kitchen renovation to make the whole thing look fresh? One of these will require much more work and cost more than the other. 

Something else that you should note is that upgrading a home you're going to live in the long term will be tackled entirely differently than a place you're reselling. If you're upgrading your home to make it more livable, consider what you're looking for in an upgrade. If you spend most of your time in the kitchen or your room, there's less reason to upgrade your living room. While adding a large fancy bath to your washroom may seem like a good idea, it might be a waste if nobody uses it. 

If you're renovating to increase value before a big sale, remember some rooms are more 'sellable' than others. For example, spending on your living room will give you a better return on investment (ROI) than spending on your garage. While there's no hard and fast rule as to which rooms give the most ROI, the more time an average family spends in a specific room, the more upgrading it will increase the value of a home. 

Starting renovations without knowing your goals is like running a race without knowing where the finish line is: you probably won't reach it and will probably waste a bunch of time and hard work for nothing.

Plan For The Long Term

Understand your life in the next decade or so, and plan accordingly. Sure, a shorter bathroom sink might help your 5 year-old now, but it will have everyone else hunched over, and your 5-year-old will grow up fast and no longer need a lower sink, so buying a step stool or something similar is probably better. If you only plan on using your basement as a home office for another few months, don't renovate everything to get yourself upgraded right now, just to want it back to the way it was before. An in-house gym is an excellent idea if you're into fitness and want the convenience of not having to drive every time you want to squeeze a workout in but only commit to one if you know you'll use it.

Also, if you or common guests are getting to the age where stairs are becoming a problem, planning on assistive devices or simply adding a more sturdy handrail is a good idea. You may not need these things now, but five years later, you'll save yourself a second renovation. 

Decide Between DIY, Hiring Pros, Or A Mix Of Both

Before the renovations even start, it's essential to understand the differences between doing the work yourself or hiring some professional renovators or contractors to do the work for you.

There are plenty of reasons you might want to renovate yourself. You may have very specific plans for how something will look, and don't trust anyone but yourself. You may like the rewarding idea of a well-done job and want to do the entire project yourself. You may be confident enough in your abilities and want to save money on hiring a renovation team.

However, contractors serve an important purpose. You may not want to spend the time renovating yourself. Maybe you don't have the skills to do the job yourself. You may see the outstanding job a team of renovators did to a friend or family member's place, and you want the same results. You may think that it's not worth the risk since you don't know all the safety precautions involved in working with heavy machinery. Remember that if permits are needed for certain upgrades in your neighbourhood, a contractor would know about these, while you might not.

Both DIY projects and hiring outside help have pros and cons, and you might even decide to go for a hybrid plan, where you spearhead the operation yourself, with a contractor or two providing expertise and some spare hands. Or you could handle some easier parts yourself while leaving the more advanced work to some pros. These plans are all fine, but either way, you need to know what your goals are and adjust accordingly. 

Plan Your Budget

If you're looking for estimated renovation costs, keep in mind that there are a lot of costs that you might not account for. There's the obvious cost of building materials and parts that need to be bought. It's also clear that if you've decided to hire contractors as described above, you need to pay for their labour. After this, however, many of the costs of renovating might only occur to you once you're facing them. 

If your kitchen is being redone, and you don't have a bunch of non-perishable goods ready to go, you might have to eat out each meal for a few days. If your bedrooms are being redone, you might need to stay at a hotel for a night or two. If your living room is being renovated, your kids might lose their primary source of entertainment, and you'll need to take them out somewhere. There also might be some unexpected expenses in building that you didn't account for in the construction itself, which is especially true if you're doing a DIY project. It's best to think about all the potential secondary costs involved with having sections of your house unavailable for a few days and also plan for your expenses to be higher than you expected. Also, remember that older homes are often more expensive to renovate, especially if you want to upgrade electrical wiring and plumbing.

Compare Quotes And Reviews 

This is most applicable to those looking to hire potential contractors. Most companies will have a website and have online reviews. If you can find a directory or other site that compares renovation companies, that would be a valuable resource. 

It's also best that before you sign anything, requesting quotes from multiple companies or contractors that appeal to you is an excellent option to ensure that you find the right price. Both price and performance are important factors for most people, so make sure to find a company that gives you a balance of both that works for you. 

It's also important to find someone who does the right work. Even if an interior designer is the best in town and works for a reasonable price, if you're primarily doing outside work, it's best to find someone else. Finding the right contractor or renovation team is essential in the home renovation process.

Let Your Insurance Broker Know

House renovations will almost certainly have an impact on your home insurance. This is not just because the value of your home is increasing but also because your home will technically be under construction for a while. Your plan will have to get adjusted to one that covers construction due to the things that could happen to the home itself and the risk of injury. Furthermore, if you have to vacate your home temporarily, or you or your contractors find outdated wiring, plumbing or other safety hazards, your insurance may not cover you adequately. While this might seem overwhelming, our expert brokers at Morison Insurance know their way around this. They would be happy to navigate these obstacles for you once you provide them with the needed information.

Make A Schedule

While it's impossible to plan when every nail is hammered in, every screw is driven through, and every wall is put up, you should have an approximate end date. If you hire contractors, they will likely give you an estimated end date and a time for when each room is expected to be done. If you're doing it yourself, the onus falls on you to research and understand how long these renovations will take. While you might not have an exact date for anything, having an approximation will likely put your mind at ease and let you rest easy knowing that your renovation dream will soon become a reality.

Have A Plan For The Little Disruptions

As much as it might inconvenience you, your life will be disrupted by this type of remodeling. Your life won't continue for a week as usual with the only difference being some construction in the background, as there will be many secondary effects. Any rooms you're upgrading will almost certainly be inaccessible for some time. This means that if you have multiple washrooms, don't work on all of them at once. If you only have one, you may have to make other arrangements while working on it. You may have to make alternative eating plans when working on your kitchen. You might also need to change sleeping arrangements, whether this means sleeping on the couch or with a sleeping bag. If enough rooms are being redone at a time, you may need to vacate your house briefly. If you're lucky, maybe a friend or family member will let you crash there, but otherwise, you might have to spend some time at a hotel temporarily. If it comes to this, it's best to have confirmed plans beforehand instead of running around at the last minute to make accommodations.

Love Your New Home

This approach to renovations might seem like a lot of work, and that's because it is. However, remember that you're doing these house renovations because you love your home. If you didn't, you would have moved instead of renovating. After the remodeling job is done, you will live in a place you have further customized and is one step closer to being your dream home.

This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon any information in this article, you do so at your own risk. While the information on this website has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee that there are no mistakes or errors.

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