Home renovation is exciting, and the concept is surrounded by fun visions of your own version of Fixer Upper and grand “after” spaces that will blow your mind. While those scenarios have their place, the reality of a home renovation is much more in depth and filled with a lot of uncertainty and obstacles. Setting realistic expectations and understanding the full spectrum of what you might experience is helpful in making sure your renovation is a success. So let’s discuss three things to consider before you even get started planning!
Home Renovation End Goal + Budget
When beginning to plan your project, it’s essential to understand the end goal. Are you doing this renovation in a home you plan to stay in? Or, in a home you plan to sell? Or will the property be a rental? The level of investment and quality of the products you choose to use will be impacted by this end goal.
- If you are working on a home you plan to rent out, you will want to focus on materials that are durable, easily replaced (i.e. easy to find and mass produced if possible), and affordable. You need to keep your investment profitable, but also in a way that can withstand the use and abuse of renters. Remember, no one will care as much about your home as you do! You will also need to design your spaces in a way that will appeal to the masses so they are relatable and functional for the majority of renters. Clean, simple, and a heavy dose of white is always a good direction.
- If you are working on a home you plan to sell, you will want to focus on the spaces in the home that are typically prioritized and valued by potential buyers. You will also want to keep your renovations in check budget-wise to protect your potential profitability. And, like with a rental home, you will want to keep your design appealing to the masses. This isn’t the time to go crazy with ornate tile, trendy paint colors, or super style-specific fixtures. Kitchens and bathrooms are often regarded as the most important to potential sellers, so focus your budget on those spaces. Keep the design clean and simple. Most buyers like having the ability to easily see things they could do to make a house their own. It’s also important to make sure the work is done well. Buyers will judge an entire house by the little things they notice having been done poorly.
- If you are working on a home you plan to live in for a while, then do what you love. This is the time when you can go for those custom cabinets, or the freestanding tub of your dreams. Figure out what works well for you and the way you use your home, identify your style and what brings you joy, and create a home you love.
Timeline and Accommodations
People often joke that if you have a timeline for how long you think a project will take, go ahead and multiple it by three. In reality, that’s not far off. In almost every project there will be challenges and obstacles you couldn’t have anticipated. Anything from materials taking longer than expected to arrive, to discovering something like mold or termite damage requiring a more in depth renovation than you originally planned on. Set a realistic timeline, and then add in a good buffer for the unexpected, and prepare yourself for the possibility that it may be even longer than that.
Along with this, depending on your situation you may need to consider where you will live during the renovation. Living in a house being renovated is challenging in many ways. It can also slow progress if contractors, or you, are having to work around people, things, and a family schedule. If you are able, especially if the renovation is taking place in a main or highly used living area, it’s a great idea to live somewhere else during the renovation. If that isn’t an option logistically or financially, designate rooms to be your living space. You will be thankful for the sanctuary from the construction.
Living through and in a kitchen renovation are no joke!
Our little girl was a trooper living through this kitchen renovation in our first flip house.
Renovations are very much like giving a mouse a cookie. They can feel endless, and they can make you realize there are endless possibilities for all the projects you could do. But since most budgets aren’t endless, and neither is time and patience, try to evaluate the needs you have for updating your home. Think about what improved functionality would provide the most benefit, or which rooms or spaces will be the most used. If it’s feasible, break up your desired projects into phases. Phase one projects are those you want done as soon as possible. Phase two and beyond are those you want to get to at some point, but you can live with those spaces for now.
Within the actual project, prioritize the pieces of it that mean the most to you. If you are remodeling your kitchen and you are dying for a certain kind of countertop but don’t care much about what the cabinets look like, then splurge on the countertops and find a budget option for your cabinets. I usually find it’s better to spend the money on the things you love, even if it means going a more budget route for others, rather than trying to evenly distribute your funds and ending up not loving anything in the end.
Read about the top 5 mistakes we made in our bathroom remodel here!
Don’t miss the step-by-step coverage of our projects on my Instagram here!