8 Steps To Planning Your Home Renovation

Planning your home renovations

When it comes to home renovations, most of us start off with a dream. However, if you don’t plan your home renovation, there is a good chance that your dream can turn into a real-life nightmare.

So before you jump in head first, here are eight steps to planning your home renovation.

Steps to planning your home renovation #1

See it on paper
Before you head off to an architect, or start buying your supplies, write down what you would ideally like to heave in your home and try to draw a sketch of it.

Invest in some simple home design software and try to really envision what it is you would like to achieve with your home renovation.

Steps to planning your home renovation

Steps to planning your home renovation #2

Speak to homeowners with experience
Head online and check out forums where homeowners talk about their renovation experiences. This will give you an enormous amount of feedback on the pitfalls to avoid and things you may not have otherwise considered.

Steps to planning your home renovation #3

Think long-term
If you plan on living in this home for years to come, then a home renovation makes financial sense, as you will be getting the ROI from it. But if you plan on selling your home within a few years, then maybe a home renovation that is going to cost you thousands isn’t ideal.

Also keep in mind that some home renovations end up decreasing the value of a home, so think before you leap.

Steps to planning your home renovation #4

Add to the budget
Let’s say you are budgeting to spend no more than $10,000 on your home renovations, my advice would be to add at least 20% more to that budget because even the best laid out plans tend to end up with a monkey wrench in them.

Steps to planning your home renovation #5

Select your players
While some of us are blessed with the DIY talents, others, like me, need to call in the help to make sure all requirements are met. Before you start cracking open magazine and simply calling up the people listed in the ads, do some research, talk to other people for recommendations and always check references.

Steps to planning your home renovation #6

Get it in writing
Sure, the general contractor seems like a super cool guy and the architect, well, he just “gets” you. But at the end of the day, money matters and expectations need to be provided in writing so that there are no misunderstandings.

Build a contract together that stipulates the costs, the expectations and the deadlines for delivery. You also need to emphasize the types of materials you would like to use. Even if you don’t DIY, you need to be fully involved in the project.

Steps to planning your home renovation

Steps to planning your home renovation #7

Ask for permission
In most provinces, you need a legal permit to begin your home renovations and a building permit assures that your project meets building codes and safety regulations. Typically, general contractors will take care of the paperwork, but the permits are ultimately your responsibility so stay on top of it.

Steps to planning your home renovation #8

Plan for Murphy’s Law
The adage, “Things that can go wrong, will go wrong,” could not wring truer than with home renovations. You should really plan for delays, new and disappointing discoveries when breaking parts of your home down, and for sheers moments of incompetence. Equipment will fall apart, there will be miscommunications and there is a good chance that you will lose your patience from time to time.

So work hard and then treat yourself to something you love and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.

Not planning your home renovations?

If you decided that buying a new home is a better idea than renovating your current one, then visit ComFree.com and check out all the beautiful properties for sale.


  1. Rena says:

    I was searching the web for home renovation tips and I’m happy I found your blog. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Great tips here! Hope you have a great weekend.

  3. Adam A says:

    In my firms line of work I find that the two most overlooked and or under investigated issues when planning any construction project are as follows:

    1. Contracts

    Contracts are great tools; however, they are often poorly assembled, rarely understood and difficult for most homeowners to enforce. While a contract is a MUST – the understanding, the terms and the administration of the prepared contract are more important than the contract itself. More often than not the Contractors that homeowners are contacting are typically the ones preparing the contracts. 9 times out of 10 the contract will be prepared/slanted in the Contractors favor. We have also seen many cases where Contract’s have been improperly prepared by a Consultant (i.e. Architect/Engineer).

    How many homeowners retain 10% lien hold-back? Not many. How many homeowners know if Sub Contractors are working in their home? Very few. How many homeowners ask for Statutory Declarations from their General Contractors? Maybe one. While I am sure there a a few well versed homeowners in Ontario (especially those that are well versed in the Construction Lien Act) – the fact is many are not.

    What does a homeowner do when a contractor purchases goods that are delivered to their house but does not pay for them? Usually find themselves with a lien on their house. What does a homeowner do when their contractor fails to pay their sub contractors? Usually find themselves with a lien on their house. What does a homeowner do when their general contractor goes out of business and suppliers are owed money? Usually find themselves with a lien on their house.

    The majority of Consumers are not utilizing the tools available to protect themselves. Furthermore and in addition to not utilizing the tools available they are seeking help.

    In our line of work we often hear comments from homeowners and business owners like we had a contract and we reviewed past work. We also commonly hear that references were checked.

    2. References

    Checking references is great. But do you know if you just spoke with someones cousin, someones childhood friend, someones partner, etc. References are a must; however, calling them is not enough. Many contractors use family members, family friends, cousins, etc. References should be visited. In addition to visiting the reference a project catalogue of photographs. schedules. permits, inspection reports, etc., should also be requested and reviewed.

    I have been in the construction industry for over 10 years. I am a Senior member of http://www.GeoFocus2000.com and http://www.Mould-Solutions.com. I have personally managed the placement of over $60,000,000.00 worth of construction, renovation and restoration work over the past 10 years and have completed hundreds if not thousands of projects. In all projects associated with the two firms listed above I have been involved in the preparation of almost every single sale.

    With all that said (the 10+ years and the over $60,000,000.00 worth of construction, renovation and restoration work placed) here are a few tidbits of information from a contractors perspective:

    – the number of times we have been asked for references that I can recall in the past 10 years. 5-10 times (if that many).

    – After investigating on behalf of one of our Clients – the number of times we have discovered that a past reference was a relative (I have lost count).

    – The number of times homeowners / business owners have checked references, obtained written contracts and their project was significantly over budget, significantly behind schedule and severely deficient (almost every project we have taken over).

    This topic always frustrates me because the majority of problems associated with unscrupulous contractors in Ontario are AVOIDABLE.

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