Between establishing your career, maintaining a social life, and learning to manage your finances, you go through a lot of life changes in your 20s and 30s. Amidst all the chaos, you may also be thinking about joining the 7.6 million other millennials in buying or renovating your first home. As millennial buying power continues to increase, more young adults are seeking homeownership and investing in their living spaces.
Becoming a first-time homeowner and improving your home’s aesthetic is bound to be exciting, but it can also be an emotionally, mentally, and physically taxing process, especially if you don’t plan ahead. To help ease the planning process, here are five ways you can ensure you’re prepared for your first home renovation:
Do Your Research
There’s a lot of planning that goes into renovating your home, and for good reason. Chances are you want to make sure your project is completed properly the first time, which is why research should be a critical step in your planning.
Before deciding what you’d like to renovate, make sure to research factors, such as materials, labor costs, and contractors. This could include interviewing potential contractors, looking up cost estimates for certain projects, or consulting a third party to help manage your project. By researching your options, you’ll make more informed decisions throughout the process.
Organize Your Finances
If you have the cash on-hand, it’s best to pay renovation costs upfront to avoid debt. However, renovations aren’t known for being budget-friendly, which is why you should establish a budget and consider all financing options prior to finalizing your project plan.
If you haven’t built up enough savings to pay for your project in-full, you may want to consider alternative financing options. For instance, you could take out a personal loan or apply for a low-interest credit card. Or, you may be able to qualify for a home equity loan or HELOC that you can use to cover renovation costs if you’ve built up enough equity in your property.
Clear Out the Clutter
Whether you’re planning to demolish walls or simply replace a few appliances, you’ll need to clear out your living space to make room for construction. Getting rid of clutter ahead of time can save you time and even money if your contractor charges a per-hour rate.
Renovations also serve as the perfect excuse to clear your home of any furniture or decorations you no longer need. Set aside any items you use on a daily basis, and stow away the rest in storage. Alternatively, you can sell, donate, or throw out any items that don’t serve a useful purpose to you. That way, you’ll clear a path for contractors while also making room for new additions.
Stow Away Valuables
The dust from construction can damage and soil your belongings. And, with so many people filtering in and out of your home during the project, you’ll want to ensure there’s enough room to move around. Fortunately, you have several options when it comes to storing your valuables.
For instance, you can designate empty rooms like the basement or a guest bedroom to temporarily house valuables. Learning some tips for decluttering small stuff or renting a storage unit may be a sensible investment for larger furniture and items that you don’t need on-hand. For added convenience, some storage companies even offer to pick up your belongings, so you don’t have to worry about damaging them in transport.
Notify Your Neighbors
Renovation projects often mean noise and mess, which can not only disrupt your day-to-day but also your neighbors’ normal routines. As a courtesy, you should notify those in your community at least 30 days in advance so they know if and when they need to plan around construction.
Let them know when you expect construction to start, the duration of the project, and what potential disruptions they may encounter. In addition, be sure to provide your contact information, and invite them to reach out to you directly should there be any issues. Being communicative with your neighbors before and during the project will help you build stronger trust and rapport within your community.
You may envision the perfect renovation in your head, but factors like weather, budgetary restrictions, and time can all impact your ability to achieve everything you want. That’s why it’s important to head into any project with an open mind, and prepare yourself for if, and when, your renovation doesn’t go exactly to plan.
You should also understand that renovations rarely cost less than you expect, so be sure to add a buffer of at least 10% to your budget and anticipate unplanned expenses. That way, you’ll be prepared should any unexpected costs arise. Having a flexible mindset and budget will help ensure you have a smooth renovation experience.
Before jumping head-first into your next renovation project, take time to make a plan. Use these tips as a guide while you lay out your project plan, so you can ensure a seamless process.