We’ve been doing more and more renovations recently. Some are small, single bathroom updates, while others are large. Renovations are hard. Period. They’re hard on everyone involved because they are never convenient, never cheap, and never without issues. They are usually so exciting at the end, though! A brand new room in your house…and most likely a room you’ve disliked or wanted to change for a while, is now brand new! Who wouldn’t be happy?! But there are ways to help prepare yourself for the process of enduring a renovation that we want to share. Whether you hire people to do the work or do it yourself, you will always need to be involved in a big way, so here’s what you need to know!
IF you choose to hire someone to help with the work, be sure to do your research! And remember, price shouldn’t be the first concern. We are strong believers in the “you get what you pay for” mentality and people should be compensated fairly for their time…or else, they’ll try to cut corners (to save money on the back end). So get all the info on the people you are hiring—examples of previous work, a clear and mutual understanding of timeline, a detailed scope of work and even a rating on how well you feel that they communicate. Don’t get us wrong, there is a certain level of trust you need to have in your contractor, however, there is also a certain level of communication you should have with them. Be sure you feel comfortable with how they communicate because that one element will be key to a successful renovation!
Have the money talk very early on. Discuss your budget with your contractor, designer, or project manager so that they know where things need to be. If they express concern about how much you are wanting to spend, listen to their concerns. A tight budget can make for more issues and it may be worth it in the end to either adjust your scope of work or wait until you have enough money to fairly cover the costs involved. Do research in advance as well so that you have a good idea of what you think it should be. You don’t want to get scammed by someone over estimating costs but you do need to trust their professional opinion if the conversation goes that direction. We always advise clients to have a 20% cushion for any sort of construction. There WILL be unexpected items that pop up that WILL cost money. Save yourself the headache and have the money available.
Get out! If you are doing a major renovation, move out! For the sake of your mental health, your marriage, and your kids’ sanity, remove yourself from the stress of living in a construction zone because it’s HARD. It’s loud and dirty and distracting and puts everyone in a bad mood. It also adds a whole new level of stress to the entire process that could be avoided. If you’re just doing a small one bedroom remodel and can live in another part of the house during the construction process, that’s a little easier. But if you’re doing any major updates to your home, be sure NOT to be there.
We understand things can change, but it is always best to have as many of the major decisions made BEFORE construction begins. Issues may arise that require you to change your selection, but the least amount of decisions you need to make under pressure and stress, the better. Select colors and tile and make layout decisions when you have a clear brain. Stressed brain doesn’t always make the best choices.
Finally, understand that your involvement is required, not matter what. A renovation is almost never a one man job. Multiple people are involved and even if there’s a project manager who is supposed to be overseeing everything for you, your involvement matters too. You don’t want to turn into a micromanager but you don’t want to be in good communication with the people involved so that there’s no guessing on anyone’s part. For this reason, some of your budget decisions should also involve time….not just money. Consider your daily schedule and plan for the time you’ll need to take out of your day to be involved in this project. It will require it.
Ultimately, look forward to the finished product. Keep the end in sight so you don’t forget what you’re working towards. If you have nothing to be excited about, you’ll quickly become negative which will only delay the process. Positivity and encouragement always makes for a smoother work place.