A renovation or home improvement project can be a very rewarding experience. It’s exciting to see your plans come together and also meaningful to live with something you worked hard for. But it’s also important to consider the perils that come with such efforts, especially preparation.

Most people want their home to look its best. However, undertaking renovation projects and home improvement projects can be tricky. Here are four things you need to consider before starting any home renovation or improvement project.

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  1. Assess your budget

When you are ready to begin your home renovation project, add to your budget a cushion of 15% to 20% of the total cost. Budgeting this amount can help avoid unpleasant surprises when unforeseen expenses arise. It may also help you avoid borrowing more money than you really need to, which could end up costing you more in the long run.

Remember that while a larger home improvement project may offer you more design freedom, it also has a much greater effect on your everyday life until it is completed. A kitchen remodel, for example, may only take a few days to complete if done by a professional and will have less of an impact on your daily routine than an addition project that takes months to complete.

Consider the costs involved with each option. For example, you may be able to get by with a smaller addition or kitchen remodel than you think if you save money by doing some of the work yourself. However, if you don’t feel comfortable taking on such a large project, hiring contractors or renovators might be your best option.

  1. Schedule it out

The best way to plan out your home renovation is to create a schedule. Start by making a list of the different rooms in your home that you want or need to renovate. Then, estimate how many weeks and months it will take to finish each room. Once you have an idea of when you want to get started with your project, start looking for an architect and general contractor.

The architect and contractor are going to help you come up with a plan and budget for your project. They will also be able to recommend different materials, colors, types of flooring, design choices, and so on. During this part of the process, take notes about different ideas that you have for each room in your house.

After you have created a plan with the architect or contractor, get multiple quotes from different companies before making your final decision. Then, once everything has been approved, schedule out each part of the project and make sure that it is completed in a timely manner.

  1. Don’t forget the permits

The key to any successful project is to make sure you have all the necessary information and tools before you start. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you take on your next home improvement or renovation project.

Never start a project without a permit. Many homeowners begin a project without first checking with their local government office to obtain the proper permits. Permits are required for almost every type of home improvement or renovation, even if it’s just painting or installing new carpeting or cabinets. If you fail to obtain the correct permits, your city can force you to tear down any improvements and you could be fined.

Know your city’s zoning laws. Zoning laws determine how close together homes can be built, how tall they can be, and even what type of roofing material must be used. These laws also dictate how much land must remain between your home and the street and how much landscaping must be on your property. If you do not follow these laws, your city may require you to tear down any improvements that were made in violation of the law.

  1. Know your contractor

Before you begin any home renovation or home improvement work, it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into. At the very least, you should understand who will be doing the work, how much it will cost and how long it will take.

Platforms like Proven can help you find the right contractor for your job by connecting you with local contractors for free. You’ll receive information about each company, including verified reviews from past customers, pricing estimates and ratings from other homeowners.

Once you’ve chosen your contractor and set a start date for your project, it’s time to dive into the details of your project and make some decisions. Before the work begins, you’ll want to create a contract that outlines what services are being performed, when they’ll be performed and how much those services cost.

The contract should also spell out things like who is responsible for which permits and whether a payment plan is necessary or if payment is due upfront. Finally, don’t forget to ask about warranties or guarantees for the work being performed so that if something does go wrong, you have someone to turn to in the future.

So, when you’re thinking about your next home improvement project (or even if you just have a single item that needs attention, like dishwasher repair, remember to consider these four things. They may not all apply to every individual situation, but keeping them in mind will allow you to manage your renovation or home improvement project with better results. Plus, who knows? You just might have a more enjoyable time doing it!

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