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5 Things to Do Before Starting a Home Renovation

Lower the stress of a construction project with some preparation and organization

Video: Home Renovation Preparation Tips

Home renovations, no matter how exciting, can be stressful. But just a little bit of planning goes far in warding off worries during an update. ​

​Here are five ways that certified aging-in-place specialist Nora El-Khouri Spencer recommends to prepare and stay organized when you’re thinking about making a major change to your living space.

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1. Create a budget

Before any work starts, prioritize what needs to be done. Talk with your contractor about costs associated with each aspect of the project, then create a budget that includes all of those costs — adding in some padding for any financial surprises along the way. Renovations are rarely straightforward, and changes can be costly. If the total is more than what you planned to spend, go back to your prioritized list and see if a lower-priority item can be removed or delayed.

2. Make a detailed schedule

Early on in the project, go over target dates and other important aspects with your contractor. Highlight dates when you may not be able to access certain areas of your home or when water or power may need to be turned off. Be sure to factor in time for your own tasks, such as choosing paint colors.

3. Organize paperwork

Keep copies of forms, documents, purchase receipts and warranties in a safe location so you’re not scrambling to find them halfway through the project — and potentially holding up progress. Know HOA permit requirements if applicable.

4. Prepare for changes in daily routines

If your bathroom will be under construction, find places where you can shower and have access to running water. If it’s the kitchen that will be out of commission, make a plan for mealtimes during renovation. Move small appliances like a microwave, toaster or coffeemaker to other areas of the house so you can do some cooking and reheating.

5. Sort belongings

Store items that won’t be needed for a while, and be sure you have easy access to necessities such as clothes and toiletries. For example, if your bedroom is being worked on, take out enough clothing to get you through the construction period and store it in a suitcase, wardrobe or another room that won’t be in the middle of the project.

For more on avoiding snags when upgrading your home, watch the video above.​​

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