House Flipping

How to Plan a Home Renovation Project

The exterior design for our renovation project.

Planning a home renovation project can be intimidating! Even though we have made it through this process several times, we still know the importance of spending the time to plan. Planning out the project can actually take lots of pressure off of you and make you feel more at ease before going into such a big task and commitment.

We are starting a new renovation project of our own in a few weeks, and are right in the middle of the planning process. So I thought I would share a few tips that might be helpful to you for planning your home renovation!

Set a Budget

Whether you like it or not, your budget is going to be the most important part of your planning. Why? It will determine exactly what and how much you can do. It will set boundaries for you going into the project that will help you from getting into some major financial trouble. There is nothing worse than going over on a project because you didn’t realize it was going to cost as much as it did.

Don’t get me wrong, you probably will go over, but knowing this upfront and budgeting for the unexpected costs will definitely make a project go smoother.

Hopefully, we will soon be coming out with a more detailed course on budgeting, because there is a lot to be covered there. When budgeting a project, make sure to include every aspect of the project from start to finish, including demolition to every interior and exterior finish.

We always set a budget and in it, we always go on the high end, but not over what we can afford. It is also a good idea to set an emergency fund aside somewhere. This is only to be touched when you run out of funds completely, and will hopefully never be touched.

Create a Timeline

Figuring out a project’s timeline is very important. It determines how long you and your family will need to make other living arrangements and in some cases, like ours, how long it will be before you are ready to sell the home. A timeline with this type of project is not only beneficial but can be necessary.

The house we will be renovating.

A projected timeline isn’t written in stone because we all know that things can change. With building or remodeling a home, it normally always takes longer than anticipated, so keep that in mind. This is not a shock for us and people who do this all the time, but can often make newbies mad. Patience is a huge attribute that is needed in this line of work! I have learned that workers normally don’t show up when they say they will nor does the weather always cooperate as we want it to.

Although timelines are not set in stone, they may be necessary as I mentioned before. Projected timelines for your project will be needed when borrowing money from the bank, dealing with home insurance, lining up workers for the project, and of course living and selling arrangements. In other words, come up with some type of timeline. It will be useful, may be necessary, and will help you keep organized!

DIYing or Hiring

As much as everyone wants to save some money, DIYing a big project isn’t for everyone. So decide what parts of the project, if any, you will be doing yourself. DIYing parts of the renovation will definitely save you money, but be careful not to take on too much. This could cause stress and cause you to go over your timeline. Believe me, we know from experience.

Once you’ve decided what DIY projects you will take on, get estimates from subcontractors for all of the remaining work.

Before selecting the person you will hire for each part of the project, it’s very beneficial to get several estimates. This not only will allow you to compare costs but will also let you to see who fits your timeline.

The Design

As I mentioned above, it’s very important to plan a budget and timeline. But it’s equally important to carefully plan the design of your remodeling project. After all, the design will have a direct effect on both the budget and timeline.

The exterior design for our renovation project.

If you’re doing a flip house, as we are, it’s crucial to select finishes that will wow potential buyers, and that will not become outdated too quickly.

With our projects, we try to choose materials that are timeless. We also take a minimalistic and clean approach to our designs, being careful not to “over design”. Remember that less is more! I believe that this approach helps prevent a home from looking dated.

When planning the design, you need to determine what parts of the home are most important. This is where you will want to allocate more of your budget.

We normally focus on these three areas:

  • Exterior curb appeal
  • Kitchen
  • Master suite

Functionality and layout are also very important to the design. For example, the house we are remodeling does not have a master bedroom and bath on the main floor. Since this is something that almost every buyer is looking for, we are planning on adding a master suite. This will also obviously add more square footage, which is a big plus.

Also, focus on the kitchen. This is the room where you will get the most bang for your buck. A high-end kitchen is a huge selling point and adds a ton of value to your home.

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