Remodeling and Renovations: 10 Tips for Homeowners

Remodeling is one of the most exciting options of homeownership. You get to design the room (or rooms) of your dreams, pick out paint colors and countertops, and maybe even buy new furnishings and décor. This is your chance to create a space that you and your family will love coming home to.

But with great expectations comes great responsibility. Before you make your final decisions, here are some things to consider when renovating your home:

1. Hire a Professional:

Painting walls and replacing faucets is relatively easy. Demolishing and rebuilding a gourmet kitchen, not so much. If you’re doing a home renovation that’s beyond your DIY skills, your best bet is to contract with a professional crew to tackle the job.

2. Mind the Law:

While many renovation projects can be done without the need to file permits or plans, major changes typically do require an inspection. If you plan on making structural changes (for example, removing a load bearing wall), having a general contractor on site can help ensure that everything’s up to code.

3. Don’t Fall for Fads:

The verdict is still out on concrete countertops. And shiplap has jumped the shark. Even if your favorite HGTV celeb swears that orange tile is the new black, it’s better to use “fad” color trends in accessories and décor (throw pillows and furnishings, for example) than to literally plaster them all over your wall.

4. Consider a HELOC:

You’ll need money to complete your renovations, so consider getting a home equity line of credit (HELOC). With a HELOC, you’re in control of your loan funds. You can draw out money as you need it to pay for materials, contractors and other remodeling expenses.

5. Keep It Classic:

While design trends change from year to year, trends in “foundation” items like kitchen cabinets and bathtubs can stick around for up to a decade. When choosing materials for your home remodel, consider sticking to neutral tones and subtle (if any) patterns.

6. Take the Pressure Off:

Whether it’s your designer, your contractor, your spouse or your mother-in-law, there may be people around you with strong opinions about your home renovation. As choices need to be made, take the time to think them over first or consult with any other decision makers (spouse, roommates, family, etc.). This way, you can be sure to make the decision that’s best for you.

7. Look for Creative Ways to Save Money:

Even if you’re working with contractors, you can still control some home improvement costs. Consider doing smaller remodeling projects like painting and sanding yourself, have friends help you do some of the demo work, or look for sales on big-ticket items like tile and countertops.

8. Pad Your Timeline:

When your contractor gives you the estimated time that your project will take to complete, mentally add another couple of weeks to each date. Unexpected snags can happen along the way; for example, the wrong laminate delivered or permits delayed. By padding the finish date, at least in your head, you’ll be happy if renovations happen on time and thrilled if your room is done early!

9. Get Away From It All:

No matter what you’re having done, renovations can be loud and/or messy at various stages of the process. If you can swing it, book a hotel or stay with family or friends for at least part of a major remodel. If you work from home, now might be the time to consider co-working space, going into the office, or doing your daily job from a coffee shop or library.

10. Have Patience:

The remodeling process isn’t always a breeze, but any potential aggravations will dissolve once you see your beautiful new space!

Now that you’ve thought through a few of the considerations, it’s time to get the process started. If you have equity in your home, you could potentially qualify for a home equity line of credit that will allow you to complete your renovations on a flexible timeline. Download The Handy Guide to Home Equity free to see how a HELOC works and get design ideas for your renovation!

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The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.