If you watch a lot of HGTV it’s reasonable that you would think all the decisions regarding your renovation will happen after the construction begins. In fact, the biggest decisions have already been decided before a hard hat ever enters your space. The planning stage of a renovation is extremely important in the overall process. Without the planning stage, the design and construction would never be coordinated, no vision would exist, and no budget would be established. There are 4 important decisions you need to make before your renovation begins. If you can get on top of these, the rest of the project will happen with as few issues as can be expected.

1/ What is My Budget?

Not enough attention is paid to the importance of creating a budget early in the process. While you may have discussed it with your partner, your entire team needs to be enlightened as to exactly how much you have to spend.

The overall number is only one part of the process. Once that’s been established it’s time to sit down with your general contractor and your interior designer and huddle around the calculator. Yes, it’s true that there are times when the trades and designer don’t see eye to eye on things. Often, it’s because there’s been a breakdown in communication that started early on.

If you want your team to work together, make sure they all have the information that affects both the construction and design side of the project.

It’s much easier for me to understand why the GC needs such a large allocation of funds for electrical if I have been told that there’s a wiring issue. It helps me to see the big picture and I won’t feel like he’s taken some of the design budget without good cause. Open dialogue about budgets creates a team effect.

Want to know more about creating a budget?

2/ What is My Timeline?

This is another area where homeowners have been led astray by HGTV. No, it’s just not possible to complete projects with a “regular” team in the 4 weeks that you see on TV. A renovation can take between 2 months and a year.

Some of the timelines are predictable and those include how long a typical project of equal size and scope takes.

Others are unpredictable and that includes issues that crop up once walls have been removed or materials that become out of stock or even discontinued. This is just the tip of the iceberg but just know that in the world of renovations the only constant is that nothing is predictable. Plan with that in mind. Don’t expect to host Christmas dinner for 20 people just because your contractor gave you an estimated completion date of December 16. Remember to allocate some buffer around dates and you’ll be much happier.

Furthermore, you don’t pick up the phone today and have a meeting with all the necessary players at the end of the week. Most trades and designers are booked for months ahead of time. It could take 3 or 4 weeks to even get a meeting arranged to discuss your project.

Don’t wait until you’re ready to get started before you pick up the phone to set up meetings. The earlier you start, the better for you.

Understanding the timelines is critical and will save you a lot of disappointment going forward.

3/ Who am I Hiring to Work with Me?

Knowing that you need a good team is important but who is on that team and what role they play is also important. Typically, the initial meetings are between the homeowners, the designer and the general contractor in spite of the fact that there is a whole crew that will be working behind the scenes.

Ask as many questions as you need and do as much research as is required to understand who’s involved. Why is this important? Your contractor has likely been a part of dozens of projects so to them it’s standard practice. To you as a homeowner this is likely a new world.

It’s a good idea to understand who the contractor brings as part of their team. Are these people employees or subcontractors? Do you pay the contractor for everyone or will you be required to pay the trades individually? Does your contractor have back up trades if there is a delay or a no-show? You want to have a thorough understanding of who will be in your home and what it takes to bring your vision to life. You also want to decide early if you like the management style of your preferred contractor. Maybe you don’t want to be involved with trades at all. Deciding this early means you can allocate for some project management and be completely hands off during the process.

Think about how you want to live during the process. If you have requests, get clear and make sure these are articulated early. Don’t want anyone in your home before 8am? Make sure that is noted. Want your place left tidy at the end of each day? Say it before the project begins.

All this early-stage planning will bring less stress during the chaos of construction.

3/ What is My Vision for the Space?

This is one of the easier aspects to get homeowners to buy into because it’s exciting to dream up the vision of your new space. The reason this is so important is because during those first meetings your team will review your budget and your vision. They’ll be able to determine where there is a misalignment and how to get back on track.

For instance, if your $200k budget is only half of what you need to fulfil the list of things you’re asking for, wouldn’t you want to know that as soon as possible? It doesn’t mean you need to come up with another $200k. It means that my job as your designer is to find alternative options for you that are more appropriate to your budget.

With enough time, no part of your vision has to be sacrificed. It just needs to be modified so that you get absolutely every part of the design while staying under your total budget.

I hope this helps get you thinking about how to make your renovation the most rewarding for you and your family.

Want to discuss an upcoming project with me? Contact me today.

Thanks for being here,