Surviving Renovation

Part One — Planning


Choosing a project to do is the easy part, most of us have a long list. Executing the completion of the project is something entirely different. Let’s face it, no one likes to have their house torn apart. To make the experience a little more pleasant, plan the project well. Here are a few simple tips to help make the process less stressful.

Start by making a list of everything you need to do and purchase. From this list, decide (realistically) what you can do yourself, and what you need to hire someone else to do. Sometimes, we think we can save money by doing things ourselves or by hiring a friend — because they offered to do it for half the price. In the end you usually save money and friendships by hiring a qualified tradesperson.

Next, get quotes and time lines from tradespeople (even if they are friends or family). The rule is to get at least three quotes. Make sure the quotes break down all your costs so you can easily compare and fully understand what you are paying for.  Knowing how long each trade needs, or how long each stage of the project will take, has a two-fold purpose. First, if the work is being charged by the hour, the lowest hourly rate may not be the best deal if the person is going to take longer. Second, knowing the timeline will help you create a schedule to complete the project.

Having gathered all your information, you will be able to determine the cost in both time and money. Always add 10-15% to your projected budget in both these areas. If the project is too big, look for ways you can break it into smaller parts that are more manageable. Once the budget has been set, create a project time line. If you are having trouble doing this, ask one of your tradespeople to help you. A timeline is the key to a well orchestrated renovation.

The project won’t play out exactly as planned, so keep your stress level down by allowing for flexibility. Keep in touch with the trades throughout the project to confirm targeted times and to let them know ahead of time if you need to reschedule. A timeline helps you organize at the start and will evolve through to completion.

A renovation can be disruptive but the end results are worth the challenge.

I am going to walk you through a project we took on a few years ago. We purchased a house to move into, while our new house was being built. The house had been abandoned for three years. So, it needed a LOT of TLC. It was in a great neighborhood and had great bones, so we had confidence in the end result. Since it was such a mammoth project, I will break it down into smaller parts. This will take a few posts to get through it all — stay with me!

Here are before and after pictures…

House renovation before photosHouse renovation after photo

House renovation before photo

House renovation after photo

In my next blog we will start our renovation journey…