How to Stay Focused On Your Remodeling Goals
Use these five steps to keep you focused on your remodeling goals, rather than getting lost in a swarm of remodeling decisions.
Renovating is one way of making the best of your current home, and the changes made can dramatically improve your living conditions. But going through a renovation — including going over budget — can be a nightmare without proper planning. That’s why it’s important to factor in at least 20 percent over your budget amount for unforeseen circumstances. In the end, the best way to stick to your budget is to know exactly what you want and to stay focused on those goals. Here’s how!
1. Know Why You Want to Remodel
Whether you’re looking to improve your home’s energy efficiency, increase resale value, improve the layout, or a combination of fixes, you want to be sure that your goals are rational ones. For example, someone who eats take-out most of the time probably shouldn’t be prioritizing high-end professional appliances.
Also understand that oftentimes there are more than one way to accomplish a goal. For example, doubling the size of your kitchen may not be necessary to increase the amount of usable counter space you have. It might be possible to work with your design professional about your specific needs and routines to increase usable counter space in a less intrusive fashion.
2. Set Your Budget, Then Set Aside 20% to 30% to Cover Uncertainties
Once you know exactly what your project will entail, create a budget for it that you can comfortably manage. Then set aside at least 20 percent of that amount for any possible unknowns that may come up once you get into the project. The remaining figure is considered your “build to” budget and that’s the amount you want to stay within when designing your project. Do not dip into your 20-percent contingency fund before you begin construction — it must remain fully intact in case of any emergencies.
Keep in mind, a contingency fund is an essential component of remodeling and is just as important for budget allocation as any other part. Unknown issues cannot be predicted and have the ability to completely derail your project otherwise.
3. Articulate What You Want
As you draw up an opening list of wants for your project, you’ll probably find you have a lot of items competing against one another to make the final list. Rather than making cuts on your own right away, set your initial list aside and first talk to your family and friends about the ideas you have for the project. Taking this time and vocalizing your ideas can help clarify them and make whittling down your list easier.
Consulting a designer can also be helpful in understanding the scope of your project and finding efficient ways to see your goals realized. Remember, you are the only expert on your life. Don’t be afraid to document how you function in your home — how you cook, clean and entertain, for example. This simple exercise can help pinpoint problem areas to address so that your renovation investment dollars are well spent.
4. Put Your Priorities On Paper
Write them down! While this may seem like a waste of time, having your priorities written out in black and white can be very useful to keep you focused when you’re in the thick of your project with temptations and difficult choices swirling all around you. In those moments, you’ll be able to take a step back, consult your document, and evaluate whether a new option helps or hurts your goals.
In most cases, for whatever reason, last-minute choices end up costing more than the original choice. This can be because something else must be upgraded or redone before the improvement is made, which wasn’t accounted for originally, or simply because you happened to see something that caught your eye that you thought would be a nice fit for your remodel. No matter what the situation is, having your list of priorities makes it easier to come to a sound decision.
5. Keep Referring to Your Priorities Throughout the Project
Throughout your remodeling project, there will be many decisions fighting for attention. Your list of priorities will help keep your head clear and focused when you start to feel overwhelmed.
Because construction projects are large and complex, they have a way of diverting homeowners from the overall goal. There are so many details to consider — flooring type, lighting style, materials, and so on. In most cases, you can divide decisions into two categories: personal preference and design direction. Personal preferences include details like fixtures, while design direction includes bigger things that will impact the overarching goals on your priority list. As an example, personal preference decisions generally won’t impact the overall environment you’ll have to cook meals. Design direction decisions will.