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3 Handy Tips for First-time Home Renovators

by Gloria Louden
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Renovating a home for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. You might not know where to start, what the most important steps are, or what issues you need to look out for. Then there’s the stress of trying to ensure everything comes in on (or preferably under) budget.

If you’re considering taking on your first renovation project, then this blog post is for you! We’ve compiled three handy tips that will help make your first-time renovation experience as smooth and successful as possible.

1. Fail to plan, and you can plan to fail

Planning is the single most valuable thing you can do to ensure your project goes smoothly.

Take the time to really think about what you want to do in each room of the house, and devise the ‘grand plan’ for the entire home. Understanding this from the get-go will make decision-making significantly easier down the track once the project kicks off, as you’ll always have a clear vision of what you’re trying to achieve.

Major renovations may need to be drawn up by a draftsman or architect, and you may also need to get a structural engineer involved if you’re making any structural changes to the home.

Develop a project plan and time schedule so you have an idea of which trades you’ll need, and when. If you can, try to schedule work so that contractors can complete work on more than one area of the home per visit to save on call-out fees.

Also, try to use your planning time to apply for any permits, seek quotes from a few different contractors and vendors like Outdoor Fountain Pros. Then you can start shopping around for your fittings, fixtures, and materials to have everything ready on-site when you begin work.

2. Don’t try to do it all yourself

When you start getting quotes from a few different contractors, you may be shocked at how much more they’re quoting than what you initially estimated.

If this happens, taking on some of the work yourself rather than paying someone else to do it can be a great way to cut costs, however, you need to proceed with caution. While you may be able to comfortably manage jobs like painting or landscaping yourself, it’s best to call in the professionals to take care of renovations in key areas of the home, such as the kitchen and bathrooms.

It’s best to use kitchen and bathroom renovation specialists if you can afford to, as these areas of the home can add significant value to your property and you don’t want to get them wrong.

3. Build in a good contingency

First-time renovators often underestimate the amount of time and money it takes to complete a renovation, so building a contingency into your budget when you’re finalizing quotes is always wise.

A good rule of thumb is to add an extra 10-15 percent as a contingency in your budget to cover you against any unforeseen issues or delays—and if you’re a first-timer, you can almost guarantee that some unexpected expenses will pop up over the course of construction.

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