Home improvement projects offer a lot of excitement about how much better our lives will be (and how much value will be added to our homes) when they’re completed.
But renovations require a lot of forethought and planning. You need to know the right questions to ask when you’re starting a new home improvement project so you can leave as little to chance as possible.
If you’re ready to tackle a new project this year, we’ve got some advice to get you started in the right direction.
SET YOUR GOALS
Before you get started with your home renovation project, you need to think through your specific goals.
A new patio can give you a place to hang out with family and friends in your backyard and bring you added enjoyment. New, energy-efficient windows or updated siding can provide some curb appeal if you’re planning to sell.
Thinking about the utility of your planned project in the early stages can help guide you through the process. It can help inform your decision on which project to tackle first, too.
As part of your planning, you want to think about the cost of your project, the value of your home, and how much value the project will add.
“If you’re planning a project that costs almost the entire value of your home, it may not be a good investment,” says Mike Senesac, an inside salesman for Big C Lumber. “You want to make sure you’re adding value to your home and not getting yourself into a worse financial situation.”
Your home is a long-term investment, and if you’re making a significant home improvement you should consider it a long-term investment, too.
“You want to think about how long you’re going to be living in your house,” Senesac says. “If you’re closing in on retirement and don’t plan to move, building your dream deck makes a lot of sense. If you’re in your starter home, you may not want to make that big of an investment.”
Your long-term plans with your home can help you figure out how in-depth you want to get with your project, and which project to tackle first.
FIGURE OUT YOUR BUDGET
Once you’ve decided on your project and have figured out if you’re going to run the project yourself or go with a contractor, you want to think about your budget.
“You need to get a budget in line right away,” Senesac says. “You need to figure out how in-depth you want to go with your project, and then plan to spend a little extra.”
Senesac suggests researching similar jobs online before you finalize your project so you have a good idea of how much you may be spending. He says that it’s almost inevitable that unforeseen circumstances will arise and increase your cost.
“You could have hidden mold, hidden water leaks in your kitchen, you could find junction boxes that weren’t properly installed, or even studs that are off-center,” he says. “It’s always better to plan to have extra money available in case you run into a big problem.”
When budgeting for your project there are a few things to keep in mind:
Price Of The Product: Since the pandemic, inflation and rising demand has caused the price of materials to jump in the past year. As you research for your budget, this number will likely be higher because of that fact.
How Long Will The Project Take: Understanding the length of a project will help inform your labor costs. This can also be important to know for inside work to know how long your daily life will be disrupted.
Price Of The Labor: If you’ve got the ability to do some of the work on your own, you can save on labor costs. But it’s vital to be honest with yourself and know when you’re out of your depth on a project and when it’s time to call in a professional.
Your ROI: This may or may not have monetary value attached to it. If you’re replacing siding or adding on a deck, you can calculate the value added to your home. But if you’re remodeling a room with amenities, it may just provide value to your quality of life, which can be difficult to place a dollar value on.
DIY OR A CONTRACTOR
This can be the most difficult part of the entire home improvement process.
It can be hard to let go and let someone else take charge of the process of remodeling your home, but sometimes — a lot of times — it’s the right call. We can’t all know everything, and that’s why it’s important to understand your limitations and call in a professional to handle some jobs.
When it comes to DIY, it’s best to stick to what you know. If you have the know-how for laying tile or you know your way around carpentry, go for it! Know what your limitations are and let a professional help.
“You don’t want to get deep into a project only to find that you didn’t understand what all was involved,” Senesac says. “When you hire a contractor, you’re paying them for the skills and their experience with a project.”
If you decide to hire a contractor, Senesac suggests thoroughly vetting them before getting started. Find out if they are reliable and will stick to their word by searching for reviews of them online. Look at how in-depth their estimate is, how much money down they are asking for, and how long they’ve been in business.
“A home improvement project should be a fun and exciting time, so I think people should embrace that!” Senesac says. “You’re adding value to your home, so there’s nothing bad that can come out of that. Do your research on your contractor and it will put your mind at ease.”
BIG C LUMBER CAN HELP YOU GET STARTED
Whether you’re starting a DIY bathroom remodel, or you need a helping hand designing a new deck, Big C Lumber is there for you.
Our team of experts can help you through planning, designing, and estimating your project.
Get started by finding the phone number and address for your closest Big C Lumber location on our locations page.