I’ve been getting a lot of questions and requests for advice on home renovation recently. So, I thought I’d share some of my experience & write a blog post about 5 easy ways to make your home renovation go more smoothly.
1)Make Sure Your Space is Clean and Ready
This really sounds like a no brainer, right? I hear stories from contractors all the time about how a room has furniture still in it, personal items, etc. On the day your contractor shows up, the room(s) you are doing work on should be ready to go. If you are gutting your kitchen, that means all of the appliances should be empty and all cabinets packed up – that way your team can walk in, do their demolition and get to work. Your contractor shouldn’t be packing up your china, or throwing out last night’s leftovers. Do this yourself.
And, *ask* your contractor exactly what you should have ready for him/her when they arrive. That way, you complete your checklist so they can complete theirs.
2)Make Sure All Items Are in the Home
What I mean here, is that all materials for the renovation should be in the house (or awaiting pick-up from your contractor) and ready to go. If you are re-doing a bathroom, that means, the sink/vanity (with faucet – those are usually sold separately), all tile, the new tub, the shower trim kit, light fixtures, medicine cabinets, etc. Quite often, homeowners think they will just run out and buy what they want – sometimes a product has to be ordered and could take 4-6 weeks to arrive.
Another tip – if you are ordering a vanity from a big box retailer like Lowe’s or Home Depot, and they are shipping it to you, there is a good chance it may be damaged in transit and you may need to arrange for another one to come in – this happens frequently and can add weeks to your project.
Most contractors can pick-up materials from your vendors if the load is too heavy for your car – but make sure you arrange that with them in advance and they include that in their bid.
3)Check Your Contractor’s Work. Daily.
When renovating, you can’t just “set it and forget it.” You would be wise to check the progress & work, without notice, to your contractors. Stop in the middle of the day and make sure they are there and working. If they have told you 2 weeks, and you come in on day 3 and no one’s there….you need to address it. Contractors are notorious for spreading themselves too thin across too many jobs, instead of focusing on 1 or 2 jobs for a week and getting them completed. Be a tiger and hold them accountable.
4)Budget 20% More
Every renovation goes over budget. It’s almost a given, so prepare for it. Plan 20% of what you think it will cost. Last minute finds/repairs/items always make their way in.
5)Add 2 Weeks
Every renovation also goes over time (see #2 about damaged product). Following #2 can *really* help keep on time and track. But be realistic that despite everyone’s best efforts…it will likely take longer than you wanted or anticipated.