How to Plan a Remodel in 5 Steps

Cormac Reynolds

  1. Develop a Detailed Plan for the Home Improvement Project

The first step in a remodeling project is building a plan clearly stating the goal for the renovation and usually includes designing inspiration along with a work outline.

The project plan also needs to include the following:

–           A list of wants and needs for the project

–           Sketches or blueprints of the finished project

–           Project steps divided into steps requiring professional intervention and DIY steps

You should also investigate the local planning permission at this point in planning a home renovation.

If you will be completing a project that’s likely to change the structure of the home or the use of a room, then a permit will most likely be required. Wait to apply for permits until when you hire a team and come up with a timeline for the project.

When to Begin: 6 – 12 months prior to the start of the project

  1. Set a Budget for the Project

Determining your budget and financing is the next step when planning a home renovation. The budget needs to include the costs for building materials and permits, labor costs, along with the cost of cosmetic touches or decorations.

To build the budget:

–           Decide on the amount of money you are willing to spend and finalize financing. Set aside at least 10 percent of the budget for unexpected costs.

–           Price out all materials required for the project

–           Ask professionals for cost estimates

If the cost estimates don’t fit in the budget, use the home improvement project plan from the first step to eliminate lower priority project elements. To find the ideal option for the budget, request cost estimates from several different contractors.

When to Begin: 3 – 6 months prior to the start of the project

  1. Hire Contractors

The next step in your home project planning is to hire your team. Refrain from hiring contractors based solely on the cost estimates. When you interview and select contractors, it is also important to consider the following:

–           Certificate of insurance: The contractor should have liability insurance for the kind of work they do as well as workers’ compensation.

–           Years of experience: A contractor that has been in the business for longer is a safer bet than one that’s new to the business.

–           Payment schedule: Reputable contractors don’ ask you to pay the full price upfront, and the Better Business Bureau advises against it. Still, it is important to discuss payment terms before construction starts. In some instances, it is better to spend a little bit more to get someone that you are comfortable working with.

–           Contracting License: Ensure that the contractor has gone through all the steps required to obtain the relevant certifications specific to their line of work.

Use the checklist above when hiring contractors to complete the process.

If you will be hiring multiple contractors for the project, determine who will be in charge prior to commencement of the project to avoid slowdown or confusion later.

If you will be completing a DIY project you need to ensure that you have the necessary support and expertise needed to complete the job without hired help, including confirming the assistance of family and/or friends once the project begins.

When to Begin: 2 – 3 months prior to the start date.

  1. Build a Timeline

Once you have the budget and team in place for the remodeling plan, you should now put together your timeline. The first step here is to identify a suitable start date. Next, sit down with the contractors to determine the amount of time each portion of the project is likely to take. Discuss the steps of the remodel that have to be finished first, the amount of time they are likely to taken and which project portions can be successfully completed concurrently.

You should also ensure that the timeline:

–           Includes time for cleaning out the project area

–           Accounts for holidays that your contractors may take off

–           Allows for the shipping and delivery of materials

Use a calendar to mark out every step of the project. Choose a completion date that’s inclusive a few days’ worth of wiggle room in case of unexpected issues. Confirm with team members or contractors that it is a realistic timeline that also keeps you within budget.

When to Begin: 1 – 3 months prior to the start date.

  1. Pack Up and Prepare for the Renovation

Now that the home project planning is close to the end, you need to prepare the space and make plans to avoid using the room while construction is underway.

Whether or not you can live in the house while construction is underway will depend on the work being done. If you plan to have major work done to the kitchen, you should build a temporary place for cooking and eating and remove all the dishes and minor appliances. If you are renovating the master bedroom, make new sleeping agreements and find a place for storing the furniture like container storage. You might need to move out completely for a relatively short amount of time if you plan a whole house renovation.

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired three decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement (Your Simple Path to FIRE) and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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