The Wisest Advice For First Time Home Renovators Before Starting A Project

If you've been paying any attention to the housing market over the last couple of months, you probably know mortgage rates are at a 20-year high and homes are now less affordable than in recent years. So, while this might not be a perfect time to invest in your dream home — which, realistically, likely isn't available on the market anyway — it may be worthwhile to start thinking about a potential home renovation. However, if this is your first go at it, set your expectations appropriately, whether you choose to DIY most of the work or hire professionals.

When undertaking a renovation for the first time, certain necessities may not be quite so obvious, like shopping around when looking for contractors (per Travelers) or starting out small when getting your hands dirty with DIY projects. Additionally, many homeowners make the mistake of beginning a renovation without a clear concept of what they want to accomplish. Without fully realizing a complete vision, it could be difficult to discern whether you or your team will be capable of completing the project to meet everyone's needs.

When hiring a renovation team

One reason homeowners tend to underestimate the trickiness of a home renovation is that they expect to simply hire trustworthy professionals and everything else will work itself out. However, this attitude belies the amount of research and work that goes into finding the right contractors and drafting a contract that protects your interests. According to Seacoast Construction, asking family and friends who have previously completed a renovation is advantageous, especially compared to working with a door-to-door contractor. Additionally, when you find a top-notch general contractor, review their online portfolio to ensure they're capable of undertaking and completing any contracted work.

According to MLM Incorporated, even after finding the right people or the job, there are still quite a few pieces of business worth hashing out before signing on the dotted line. While licensing and insurance are factors some people forget to inquire about, it's also important to determine whether any subcontractors are needed and who will be supervising them when the contractor isn't present. It's also a good idea to find out which simple tasks you can tackle to lessen costs.

When attempting a DIY renovation

When it comes to managing expenses for a home renovation project, sometimes going the DIY route is your best bet. In fact, according to The Zebra, you're bound to save more than $100 per hour by doing so. However, rather than jumping in headfirst, DIY renovation expert Jenni Yolo recommends starting out small in order to build up your skills and confidence. Not only will this make life easier, but it can also save you money on costly repairs (or a future renovation) for any work that's completed with shoddy artisanship.

Thus, instead of tackling something complex or dangerous, like plumbing or electrical work, start with entry-level projects that won't cause a disaster if you happen to mess up. For instance, instead of paying contractors a premium to refinish hardwood floors, this task can be done fairly easily — even by newbies. While you'll likely need to rent a few tools (per Home Depot), you're bound to save a lot of money while also picking up some priceless experience in the process. Installing wood paneling or bold floor tiles for a unique modern heritage look are two other beginner-friendly projects for homeowners who are new to home renovation.