Renovating a home is exciting and can even be fun, especially if you know what to expect ahead of time. If you are new to home renovation, it is completely normal to have many questions about the process, pricing, and any potential issues. Projects vary widely, but there are some common questions that tend to be universal among homeowners. Understanding these questions and, more importantly, their answers will help make sure you are fully ready for your home renovation project, whether it’s a new countertop or a full makeover.
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1. How Can You Estimate the Project Timeline?
Construction projects of all kinds are notorious for taking longer than expected. Rather than being frustrated when your project doesn’t meet its original completion date, you should plan ahead and leave plenty of buffer time. For example, most bathroom remodels take on average one month to complete. However, this can vary greatly depending on many factors. The size of the bathroom and the complexity of the remodel will be the biggest contributors to a lengthy project timeline.
You should prepare for the unexpected on any home renovation project, though. Houses can have quirks that you may not know about until the project is underway. Indeed, there are often delays getting appliances and materials. So, examine rough estimates for each space you want to remodel. Also, add a decent chunk of buffer time, perhaps 25% extra. If you don’t need it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised and have your project done early.
2. How Can You Estimate the Renovation Cost?
One of the most challenging parts of a home renovation is figuring out how much you will have to pay for the whole project. Since every house and renovation is different, it can be difficult to find comparable prices to use as an estimate. Some things, like appliances or fittings, are easier since they are generally not custom purchased. However, even for things like new floors, a new roof, demolishing and replacing walls, or decorating, it is still possible to get a clear estimate.
Professional home flippers recommend bringing an expert set of eyes to the house to get the best estimate possible. Someone like a general contractor with extensive experience renovating homes will be familiar with pricing standards for a variety of remodeling projects. Researching standard prices for certain components and consulting with an expert is generally the best way to make sure your price estimate is high enough. However, make sure to include some extra buffer money just in case.
3. Will the Contractors Make a Mess?
It is understandable to be concerned about the mess that a renovation project might create around your property. Especially since you are spending a significant amount of money to improve your home, worrying about contractors is normal. However, good contractors will have a responsible cleanup procedure. Often, this is even detailed in their contract, including the types of machines they might employ to move materials around and keep the area tidy.
During renovation projects, there is frequent use of tarps and plastic dividers to contain debris and protect the property. Any renovation will naturally create a certain level of “mess”; However, professional contractors will make sure it remains to a minimum by cleaning them up as soon as possible.
4. What Equipment Will Be Around Your Property?
When homeowners worry about a mess around their property during a renovation, bulky construction equipment often comes to mind. Contractors won’t use heavy vehicles and equipment if they don’t genuinely need to, though, since they have to pay to use and maintain that equipment. Typically, only large-scale renovations, such as those requiring groundwork, will need heavy ground-engaging tools, backhoes, and similar equipment.
You can rest assured, though, that contractors have the proper training to use this specialty equipment. They generally won’t leave it on your property any longer than absolutely necessary. This is the case especially if they have rented them. However, if you are concerned about any equipment the contractor will be using, you can always research the specific vehicles and tools just so you know what you are signing up for.
5. Do You or the Contractor Need Insurance?
This is one of the most important questions to consider when planning a home renovation. The reason is that the answer is often “both.” While it varies depending on the scale of your renovations and your specific insurance provider, you may need to let your insurance company know that you are doing renovations. Even if you are not strictly required, it may be a good idea. This could allow your insurance provider to cover things like new appliances or increase coverage adequately for a home with a new addition.
Along with your own insurance, the contractor should have insurance of their own. Any professional contractor will have, at a minimum, liability, Workers’ Compensation, and property insurance along with proof of all three. The same goes for any subcontractors the general contractor hires.
6. Can Renovations Have Zoning Issues?
Zoning laws cover the regulations on the development of land within a certain area. Sometimes this means buildings cannot be taller than a certain height or too near one another. Different municipalities have slightly different zoning laws, including some that may affect you. While your local government generally won’t care if you remodel your bathroom, they may need to know in advance if you are planning to add an addition or another story to your home. For example, zoning laws commonly include rules about how close a house can be to the street.
Regulations like these need to be researched and accounted for well in advance. You may need to get a building permit, which can take time. This is especially important if your home may qualify as a historical, cultural, or ethnically significant site, in which case the interior may have protection by zoning laws as well as the exterior.
7. Are Renovations a Good Return on Investment?
Yes! Home renovations in general are considered a good investment for multiple reasons. For starters, renovations improve the overall quality of your home, which improves your quality of life. Some kinds of renovations, like a new roof, will protect your home from damage and the elements. These in turn protect your family and belongings inside.
Some types of renovations will have a greater return on investment than others depending on your specific circumstances. This is especially true if you are considering renovations because you want to sell your home. The idea behind this strategy is to get a better selling price. You can achieve this by updating key appliances and rooms, namely the kitchen and bathrooms. This tactic can certainly pay off, but experts have advised homeowners to stick to a traditional look in order to appeal to the highest number of potential buyers.
Overall, though, a home renovation will provide you with an updated living space that fits your designs and may even be more spacious. Getting a good return on investment is a matter of making sure you get the best value for the money in each step of the process.
Building Your Dream Home
Renovating is a great way to make your dream home a reality without moving out. Similarly, it could help you sell your house for the best price possible while offering someone else their dream home. Navigating the most common questions surrounding renovations is the first step toward a good remodeling experience and the home that is perfect for you.
In case you have any architectural, structural, and MEP design requirements, or need subtle home additions for your home, feel free to contact us. We provide you with the full permit set design + T24 for your home additions.
Rose is the managing editor of Renovated. She’s most interested in sharing home projects and inspiration for the most novice of DIY-ers. These are the values she developed growing up in a family of contractors.