10 Renovation Steps You Don't Want to Skip

Before you dive headfirst into that renovation project, make sure to assess the full scope of the job—from budgeting to sourcing materials to hiring the right contractor.

Pre-Renovation Planning

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steps for home renovation

A home renovation is stressful. Parts of your house are unusable, there are loud noises throughout the day, timelines shift, and not to mention the money spent. While it's impossible to foresee every hiccup, thoughtful planning prevents some from happening and helps you be prepared when they do occur. Make sure you go through these 10 steps before demolition day for a smooth (and happy) home renovation. 

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First Do Your Research

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renovation resale value

Do your research. Check out your project on the National Association of the Remodeling Industry's website to get a sense of what to expect with price and return on investment. Also, look at property values in your neighborhood to make sure your plans are in line with surrounding homes.

Related: 9 Renovation Tips to Boost Resale Value

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Plan for the Long Term

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renovation planning

Think long term. How long do you plan to stay in the home? Will the size of your family change in that period of time? Answering these kinds of questions will help you decide if your project will still match your expected lifestyle years down the road.

Related: The 7 Deadly Sins of Home Remodeling

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Protect Your Pocket

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budgeting home renovation

Here comes the tough one: settle on a budget. Before moving forward with any serious plans, make a realistic budget for yourself that includes work and materials, plus a little buffer. Share this number with your remodeler—professionals will be mindful of your budget and plan accordingly.

Related: Here's How Much Remodeling Any Room Really Costs

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Make Informed Decisions

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finding a contractor for remodeling

Spend time on your contractor search. Get referrals from your friends and family, and then research them online. Look for credentials beyond licensing, like certifications and memberships in trade associations. Choosing the right remodeler for the job is one of the most important decisions you'll make!

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Ask Everything

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Contractor Questions

Prepare your questions beforehand. Remember, a remodeling project consists of more just cost and timeline, so have a detailed list of questions ready when you meet with prospective contractors. Ask about their background, training and experience, previous jobs, and any special skills that make them particularly well-suited to the project at hand.

Related: 10 Things Your Contractor May Not Be Telling You

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Look Into It Now

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contractor background check

Do a background check. Contracting is not a business in which you can trust everyone blindly. Double check all information you're given, like licenses and certifications, and ask to visit an active worksite. A professional will not be offended, but rather will see it as a positive sign of a successful partnership. They probably will expect you to ask!

Related: 13 Renovation Lessons You Don't Want to Learn the Hard Way

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Read The Fine Print

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signing contractor contract

Read the whole contract word-by-word. The contract should protect both you and the remodeler, so make sure you get it right. Ask your contractor to explain any remodeling terms you are not familiar with. Make sure everything is spelled out clearly—from fees to timeline to responsibilities. If it's not in the contract, it doesn't exist.

Related: 11 Things Your Contractor Won’t Tell You for Free

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Nail Down Your Idea

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home renovation inspiration

Don't overlook your design—it's the reason for the entire project! Clearly express what you like and don't like about the space, and what you'd like to change. Feel free to use images as examples, but articulate what aspects of the photo you like the most.

Related: These 10 Renovation Trends Will Be Popular in 2020

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Know Your Materials

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picking materials for remodel

Choose wisely. Many people don't anticipate how labor intensive selecting all the materials and products can be. In fact, a long decision-making process is the number one reason for extended timelines. Factor quality, style and cost into your selections, and include them in the contract to lock down pricing.

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Form a Communication Plan

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communication with contractor

Talk about communication upfront. Don't fall prey to the classic renovation mistake of not laying out in advance how you'll contact your remodeler. Nail down your plan at the beginning of the process and discuss availability, method and frequency of communication. And good luck!

Related: Decoding Shop Talk: Here's What Your Contractor Is Actually Saying

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