1. Plan to succeed
– No one plans to fail, but you aren’t planning to succeed if your project hasn’t been clearly defined. This means making use of design plans such as blueprints to show details of your project right down to the placement of electric and plumbing lines.
2. Get it approved
– Many municipalities require that you, the homeowner, submit your plans for approval before the town planning board. This is particularly so when the footprint of your home changes or some other work is undertaken that changes the size of your home as in raising the roof. Some towns require that you notify your neighbors personally and get their approval. Know what your town requires before starting work otherwise your job could be held up if the proper permits have not been issued.
3. Seek financing
– Unless you have cash on hand to pay for your home improvement project, you’ll need to obtain financing, such as home equity lending, a move that can take some time to complete. Your financing needs to cover the entire cost of the project, but expect that some costs will change, including materials and labor. Set aside a buffer amount of cash to cover contingencies. Insist that your contractor keep you apprised to changes that will drive up your costs.
4. Talk to your insurance agent
– Notify your home insurance agent of your pending project. She can discuss with you the types of insurance you must have while the project is taking place. You may need to increase your homeowner coverage before the project is complete. In addition, your agent will instruct you to check with your contractor and his subcontractors to ensure that everyone who comes on your premises has personal liability insurance. This may be a good time to review your umbrella policy or extending the limits of your personal liability to include workers on your project.
5. Moving out
– An extensive renovation means one thing: you’ll need to find temporary housing while your job is being completed. If you anticipate that the work will take six months to complete, then find a rental with a six-month lease. Also, ask for a proviso where you can extend your stay month to month in the event that the job does take longer. You don’t want to be forced to seek a different housing arrangement if you don’t have a contingency plan in place.
Further delays can happen at the end of the project if clean up has been slowed down or an occupancy permit hasn’t been obtained by the town. Work with a calendar and anticipate when you need to take action to help get the job done.