How to Successfully Plan a Renovation Project

how to plan a renovation project
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Planning a renovation can be stressful, but it’s in the planning phase that the most profitable renovations are realized. To be sure that your renovation goes smoothly, take a look at these three tips from Xome Contributor Patricia Davis Brown.


Have a Professional Plan


Having a professional plan eliminates any guesswork and avoids expensive change orders. This is the only way to truly know how much your renovation will cost in order to budget for it. We have all heard the horror stories from people whose renovation turned into a money pit, but you don’t have to let that happen to you with proper planning. Getting a professional plan is the best money you can spend and ultimately will save you from unforeseen change orders. It’s always best to work out as much as possible on computer-aided drawings (CAD) and paper rather than as you go with your builder. Guesstimates do not take into consideration details that might be important to you, such as a layered lighting plan for a kitchen. A guesstimate would only have general lighting and leave out things like under cabinet or interior cabinet lighting which could add quite a large premium to the bottom line. If you want to know your true cost, putting together a professional plan is the best bet.


Build a Material List

A material list is extremely important for your budget. Guesstimates work off of allowances and are too open ended.

Properly estimating material costs will help you understand what products are essential and which can be cut to stay within the budget. Selecting all of your finishes up front will help you qualify your contractor bids by keeping everyone on the same page and leaving no room for misinterpretation. This tip needs a professional plan to begin with because it will allow you to make decisions on what design elements or materials are important to you for the renovation. For example, perhaps you don’t need the best quality cabinetry for your kitchen and you want the biggest budget allotment to be for the backsplash or countertop. With a list of materials, you can shift the value from one element to another for budgeting purposes. Do keep in mind that there are certain things you should not cheap out on in a remodel, but with a material list you still have the ability to adjust how much you want to spend on things, and find materials that fit your budget.


Compare Three Contractors bids

I recommend getting bids from at least three different contractors. Their bids should all be within a few hundred dollars of one another. If there is a big difference on cost amongst the group it means there is more you need to look into. Further investigation will be needed to qualify the numbers and possibly bring to light an important detail that might have been left out by either you or the other contractors. This exercise also causes the contractors to really work hard at getting you the best numbers on labor and materials, simply by letting them know that they have competition. This final tip is best done in conjunction with the previous two tips, because having a plan and material list that spells everything out will keep each contractor on the same page and avoid discrepancies in their specifications and scope of work.


By following these three tips, you will have a true budget set for your renovation. Good luck, and have fun!


This article was written by Patricia Davis Brown from PDB Designs.



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