Thinking of Renovating? 7 Key Questions to Answer First

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Home renovations can be extremely valuable. They can greatly improve the functionality and appearance of your house, increase the sale price of your house, and even boost your mood in some cases.

That said, renovations can also be time-consuming and expensive. Before you choose to follow through with a renovation project, there are several questions you’ll need to ask yourself.

Key Questions to Answer Before Renovating a Kitchen or Bathroom

These questions will help you make sure you’re ready to move forward with a renovation project, and give you some of the information you need to start planning efficiently.

  1. What are my goals? First, ask yourself what your goals are. Obviously, you’re interested in renovating a portion of your house, such as the kitchen or bathroom, but why are you interested in this renovation? Are you trying to increase the value of your home for when you sell it in a few years? Is something in genuine need of replacement? Are you tired of the old style? Or are you just trying to introduce something new and interesting to your environment? There are no right or wrong answers here; it’s your home, after all. What’s important is that you truly understand your goals so you can make better decisions throughout this process.
  2. Am I going to hire contractors or do the work myself? Unless you’re already highly skilled, you’ll likely consider hiring contractors to plan and conduct your renovation. However, there are many easy upgrades and renovations you can probably handle yourself. For example, in less than a day, you can probably learn how to replace a toilet and install a heated bidet toilet seat completely by yourself. That said, if you’re completely gutting and rebuilding a major room of your house, you’ll probably need some professional help.
  3. How much can I afford to spend? How much can you truly afford to spend on this renovation? Take a quick financial audit to figure out how much you can spend on this single upgrade without affecting your other financial goals. It’s also worth learning the ROI of this renovation project so you can estimate how much value you’ll get back when it’s time to sell the house.
  4. What is the project timeline? How long is this renovation project going to take? In some cases, the renovation can pose a serious disruption to your life; for example, if you’re demolishing and rebuilding the kitchen, you may not have access to standard kitchen appliances for more than a week.
  5. Do I need any permits or permissions? Depending on where you live, you may need certain permits or permissions to renovate your home. If you’re hiring a contractor, they’ll likely know whether or not permits are required. If you’re doing the work yourself, do your due diligence to make sure you’re not breaking the law.
  6. What style or aesthetic do I want? Depending on the extent of your renovations, you may have to make dozens or even hundreds of little decisions about various components associated with the change. But you can start with a high-level vision; what kind of style or aesthetic do you want to underlie all these changes? What rules or guidelines are you going to follow?
  7. What does the future look like? Finally, what do you anticipate in the future? Is this a renovation you foresee being relevant to you and your family for another couple of decades? Are you planning on selling in a year or two? The answer should dictate your approach to things like budgeting, timeline planning, and even some of your aesthetic decisions.

Finding the Right Contractors

If you do decide to hire contractors, these are some of the best guidelines to follow:

  • Talk to multiple people. It’s a good general practice to get at least three quotes before choosing to move forward with a project. This is especially important for major renovations, so have conversations with multiple contractors willing to take on your job.
  • Ask about insurance and licensing. Always take a moment to ask about insurance and licensing. You don’t want total amateurs working on your house, and you certainly don’t want to be responsible for any accidents that happen while they’re working on your house.
  • Review qualifications and past work. Next, review qualifications and any past projects this contractor can show you. How long have they been working in this field? What skills do they offer? Do their former clients seem happy with the work they did?
  • Pay attention to communication dynamics. Finally, pay attention to the ease and fluidity of your communications. Is it relatively easy to get in touch with this person? Do they answer your questions honestly and transparently?

Renovations range from inexpensive to highly indulgent and from hardly noticeable to totally transformative. What’s important is that you plan your renovation around your wants and needs so you get exactly the improvements you want for a price that’s well within your budget. If you’re willing to ask yourself these questions and do a little bit of due diligence, these goals should be quite achievable.