Step-by-Step Home Renovation Checklist

Last Updated on June 3, 2022 by Kimberly Crawford

Owning a home is a desire that everyone wishes for. For some, it’s to transform their “wasted” rent payments into mortgage ones to give themselves something tangible—equity. And for others, it’s the idea of independence they enjoy being the homeowner. Whatever may be the reason, buying a home is undoubtedly a good investment.

But no one can steer clear from the endless steps, tasks, and requirements that go into buying a home. Regardless of whether you are a first-time buyer or a pro, you cannot rule out the anxiety of the home buying journey.

To help you demystify the process, here is a rundown of what you need to consider before you say “yes” to home-buying and the home renovation steps to follow.

Let’s begin!

Let’s be honest. Home buying is not a straightforward process. You can still avoid spending hundreds of dollars later if you are vigilant enough when you go under contract.

Don’t Miss Out on This Element When You Are Under Contract

Buying a home is already pretty expensive. Why would you choose something where you have to spend a lot of money? This is why besides all the legal and financial contingencies, you must never miss out on home inspection when the home goes “under contract.” To those who are still new to this and have no idea What does under contract mean in real estate. Well! It simply means a process where you undertake different tasks to ensure that nothing is wrong (either from the seller or the buyer’s side). In layman’s terms, for buyers, it simply means whether the property is worth the investment.

Now let’s get back to the critical part—home inspection. For buyers, it enables them to learn about all the major or minor issues with the property. Not only that, it might even shed light on some life-threatening problems like mold or faulty wiring that could result in fire.

Is that all? Not really!

When you hire a home inspector, they will help you find the following elements to make an informed decision.

  • Water damages
  • Damaged roof
  • Faulty electrical system or wiring
  • Plumbing issues
  • Structural and foundation problems
  • Insect/ pest infestation
  • HVAC system issues

After the inspection, the inspector usually notes whether each problem is a safety issue or a major/minor defect. Also, the notes will reveal what all require a replacement and what can be easily repaired or serviced.

So, if everything goes according to the plan, the next step is buying the house. It goes without saying that you’ll be on cloud nine right now. But here is when the actual struggle starts. Please, we are not trying to scare you. We are trying to make you aware of all the steps you need to take to execute a successful home renovation.

But before you start with that process, let’s answer one crucial question.

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Should You Move Before The Home Renovation Process Starts?

Well! It varies from one property to another. Ideally, the size and the scope of the renovation, your family’s situation, and your lifestyle determine whether you should move in or not. Eventually, it all comes down to your individual needs and desires.

Once you clear this out, you can move ahead to the important part after the home-buying process.

Home Renovation 101: Steps to Follow

Whether you require only fixer-uppers or have to go for the complete renovation to transform the home as per your unique needs, it won’t be wrong to say that home renovation is a daunting prospect.

And who can forget those permits or demolition processes that sometimes give you sleepless nights? To help you with this, we have prepared a rehab plan of action as your primary strategy for assessing and executing your home renovation successfully.

The first obvious step is securing the property, and you did that already, right? So, without further ado, let’s move on to the next steps.

1. Planning is The Key For Perfect Execution

home planning

Irrespective of your home renovation scale, if you don’t create a plan and start haphazardly, everything will become a little chaotic afterward. So, you need to start with the list of problems and what you intend to do.

Besides this, don’t forget about those minor to-do’s that need to be done before moving in. Once you list everything out, create a logical order of attack. For instance, you can start with major systems such as roof, electrical, HVAC, or plumbing. The contractor might even do these things simultaneously.

Ensure that painting, new lightning, or any other cosmetic changes should always be at last. If you still have no idea about the list, here are some items that you must look at.

This is a generalized version of the list of to-dos. Pick the ones that suit your needs and requirements and create your plan of action.

2. Firm up Your Budget Estimates

home budget

So, you went through the list and marked the ones you need. For instance, you want to move walls to create more space, you wish to install a new bath, or your kitchen needs complete renovation. All these things will help you shape your budget.

But remember, if you are planning a major remodeling, enter the to-do’s in each element and make a tentative pricing structure. Many homeowners leave this step when considering remodeling. If you did not consider potential costs, all your financial planning might go astray during the home renovation process.

You can also take help from the contractor and manage the entire thing. In the end, whatever budget you have, make sure to add at least 10 to 15% for emergencies or surprises. This will help you ensure that the entire project does not fall once the process starts.

What if you still don’t have any idea?

To those who still think about whether their home needs remodeling, you already have a head start. Confused? Remember, we talked about the home inspection before the closing of the home buying process. That report will act as an excellent starting point.

For instance, by reviewing all the comments, you will know what needs small changes and remodeling. You can even take the help of an architect, engineer, or interior designer and figure out the essential aspects of the renovation project.

3. Narrow Down Your List of to-do’s

to do list

Once you set down your budget estimates, you need to decide on the plan of action by further choosing whether it’s a yes, no, or a maybe for that given element in the list. Keep in mind your end goal and what all you can afford to finalize the list.

So, finally, you have the final list in your hand. But hey! Don’t just jump right in with the interiors. Take out some time to tidy the exterior a bit. How to do that? Don’t worry! We’ll help you out with this as well.

  • Start with clearing out the loose debris in the yard or around your place. It’s not to please your neighbors. You need this because you must comply with local laws.
  • Don’t worry about the significant landscaping. That will come into the picture once you tackle the interiors.
  • Clear everything out if the home is not empty. Toss or donate old items so that you can move ahead with the construction.

Note: You must have a junk removal plan in place before you start with the demolition. Or else you’ll find everything piled up in your front yard. You can even opt for renting a “roll-off” trash can.

Now comes the exciting part, and that is the renovation of your home. Unless you have to deal with any external leaks, experts recommend starting with the interiors first. The reason is simple. You can utilize your budget for your house where you will be living rather than going on the top for the curb appeal initially.

So, shall we begin with the interiors? Let’s start!

4. Home Renovation: Interiors

home renovation interiors

Before you start with this:

  1. Talk it out with your contractors and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  2. Review your plans again.
  3. Begin the repair work.

In this phase, you need to decode the systems that need work. You must always hire licensed experts like HVAC contractors, electricians, or plumbers to evaluate your home and fix the repairs.

Once they are in working condition, you might see a significant portion of the property covered in holes. It’s because repairing these systems requires cutting through walls, which eventually results in exposed studs.

Again, don’t give vague replies when it comes to remodeling. Things like the cabinets should be around here, or the bathroom floors need to be something like that won’t give you a “job well done.” So, be specific about your needs and see what you want. Accordingly, the contractors will begin the actual process.

Here’s what you can do when it comes to interior remodeling!

Flooring Repair/ Replacement

Always consider cost, durability, and curb appeal before installing a new floor for your home. The new floor might give your property a nice look, but that does not necessarily mean it will have the same impact over time.

You can also opt for refinishing the original flooring or go for laminate flooring to give a finished look. For the kitchen/bathroom, you need to check whether the tiles are dirty or broken. Ideally, it would be better to go for linoleum to upgrade the appearance of your home. Experts advise you to contact a professional and not go for any DIY tricks since any issue with the flooring is highly visible.

Give Your Kitchen/ Bathroom The Necessary Facelift

Of course, you can completely change the cabinets, storage areas, or countertops. But it’s not always the case. You need to review the condition of the existing elements and opt for something that will be feasible. For the kitchen, even the most minor updates can completely transform the entire place. For example, you can swap the sink rug or change the front of the sink.

In the case of the bathroom, you can again opt for an entire overhaul. But don’t stick to this plan if it’s not necessary. Like, you can look for options that increase the visual space of your bathroom. Besides the flooring or other fixtures, you can install a large mirror in your bathroom. Further, you can opt for floating shelves or go for side vanity storage to clear the unnecessary clutter.

Create a Welcoming Space For Your Bedroom

Besides the wall texture or painting, you can create a relaxing space for yourself by installing a headboard to accentuate the entire room. Then, look at your windows and see if they align well with your current home decor style. And create different storage areas to kick out the clutter from your bedrooms.

Repaint The Entire House

It is no surprise that a fresh coat of paint completely transforms the aesthetics of your home. And it is a must-do for every renovation project, especially if you repaired or added drywall.

Once you complete the repair work, prepare your home interior for the pain. If you wish to apply the paint on your kitchen or bathroom cabinets, make sure they are sanded well. Cover everything that you don’t want to paint with plastic or painter’s tape.

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Make it light and bright

While we are always busy with kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom remodeling details, we often miss out on one thing— sufficient lightning. In fact, it is one of the critical factors that make your home welcoming and comfortable. So, opting for options like floor lamps, art lights, tabletop lamps, or other overhead lighting fixtures are all great ways to make your space brighter.

You can opt for many other options depending on your budget and the style of your home. Once you are through with your interiors, now is the time to tackle exterior needs or requirements.

5. Home Renovation: Exteriors

home renovation

Are you done with your interiors? Then comes the part where you need to take a look at all the options available that will help you improve the curb appeal of your home. Here’s what you can do to achieve that goal.

Give Your Front Door an Uplift

Let me tell you that people usually make up their mind about your house before even entering inside. This is why you must never underestimate the power of the front door. So, spruce up your entry point by either painting it or by replacing the front porch light fixtures. You can even give it a renewed look by thoroughly cleaning the front door. Further, you can even opt for tossing down the doormat to upgrade the overall look of your abode.

Create an Attractive Landscape

Everyone comes across a house with a patchy lawn or overgrown bushes. Right? So, when you complete your interiors, you can move on with tidying up your lawn a bit. Start with trimming and edging grass, prune the shrubs/ bushes to make the lawn, and eventually, your home enticing.

Also, if you have a green thumb, you can also opt for options like a raised garden bed. This option will make it easier for you to grow plants like vegetables, flowers, herbs, or fruits. Also, it is quite less time-consuming than maintaining an in-ground garden. Not only that, it will improve the aesthetics of your home.

Sometimes even hiring a landscaper might be worth the money. Other options like adding a nice mailbox or number of the building can also be beneficial in improving the overall home value.

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Design Areas For Creating Special Memories With Your Family

You won’t be spending the entire time inside your home. So, think of creating spaces where you can spend some quality time with your family. We’re talking about adding a deck, a patio, or a gazebo. Plus, you can create a gravel-like area where you can add your seating, which can become your primary “destination spot” for those heartful conversations.

You can also opt for options like adding a swimming pool in your backyard for those splashing summer parties.

Final Takeaways

When you buy a home, you always have a dream of a “picture perfect” abode. But to reach that goal, you need to take a lot of steps and hundreds of small and major repairs and renovations. Experts suggest spending money on quality products on things you touch every day. These include your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom utilities the most.

Moreover, underestimating the importance of the “right people” for the job might cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Remember, just because someone is a good designer doesn’t mean they will be a good fit for your project. You need to consider your unique needs before saying “yes” to someone for home renovation.

So, if you are also starting with redesigning your abode, the tips mentioned above will help you head in the right direction.