Let’s talk about home renovations. It’s not something one does all the time. Unless you bought a real fixer upper, there probably aren’t many problems with your house that would warrant a renovation. Any changes you want to make are mostly cosmetic and fall within the remodeling range. It’s possible that your family is about to expand and you find yourself needing more space and perfectly willing to sacrifice some of your land for extra rooms. Overall, though, they don’t happen often. Which explains very well why most people who are about to embark on a renovation aren’t always prepared – mentally or otherwise – for what exactly it is they’re getting themselves into. If that happens to be you, then it’s your lucky day! We’ve got some helpful hints on how to prepare for your renovation so you can protect your investment and your sanity in one fell swoop. 

Money Matters

It really does. It’s also one of the number one causes for problems within relationships which get significantly tested during a reno. It’s also something you’re going to be dealing with a lot during this transformation so hear us loud and clear: control your budget! There are enough physical things happening in your home to make you go crazy; stuff in boxes, rooms blocked off, the mess, no access to your kitchen or private bath, half a dozen people working around the house… It adds up and you can’t always control it. Control what you can to prevent any mental free falls. The best way to do this is by thoroughly researching your reno, carefully procuring funds, and itemizing every last cent starting with your emergency fund which should be 20% of the entire budget. 

Check this budget spreadsheet every morning to stay on track. Consult it when you have to change your plans for whatever reason. Use this tool to minimize the mental load of paying for this project. 

Sweat The Small Stuff

Okay, not every little minute detail. But let’s say you’re renovating your kitchen. How does that affect feeding yourself? How much cooking will you actually be able to do during the renovation? Eating out definitely adds up, especially if you’re a family of 4 or more. Bedrooms. Will you still be able to sleep in this room throughout the whole process or do you have to stay a few nights in another room? Where does all your furniture go once work commences? You may end up needing a storage facility off-site if you can’t cram it all into your garage or other rooms of the house. These are things to apply to the budget, as well.

While you’re thinking of these budget boogers, you might want to consider setting aside some money for a night away. Like we mentioned earlier, it’s an upheaval of your everyday life. If the reno is estimated to take more than a week and really interferes with day-to-day business, there might come a point in the process when you need an escape. It makes a difference being in a clean room without clutter and chaos. If you don’t take advantage of this treat, use the money for something new in the new room. 

Set Boundaries

This is a conversation to have with your contractor. Some contractors have a company with employees that they vet and employ on all their jobs. Some sub-contract with outside, freelance workers depending on availability and need. Point is, you’re not likely to personally know all the folks who work on your house. We’re not suggesting that they’re untrustworthy, but it is still your home and your personal space. They really only need access to a bathroom, a break area, and the room being worked on. Designate these spaces for them. Close off rooms that aren’t part of the traffic flow for working and set your boundaries.

Set boundaries on when work will begin and end each day. Create a chain of communication and have all contact information sorted with the people who need it. Talk about where tools and materials can be stored as well as end-of-day clean up. Your contractor should be up to code with how to properly store machinery, block off hazardous areas, and properly dispose of garbage. You should be equally up to code with zoning laws and permits. The potential fines are not worth your efforts to claim ignorance. At the end of the day, be informed and direct with all these issues so they don’t become an issue. 

You won’t be able to control every aspect of this adventure. You’ll likely be at work when most of this is taking place. And you can bet that something is going to go awry at some time. Wrap your mind around these facets, control what you can, and breathe. It will be worth the work, though it won’t be easy. This makes it easier.