How to Survive a Home Renovation Project

How to Survive a Home Renovation Project
  • Opening Intro -

    Watch some home improvement shows and you'll be under the impression that the job was smooth sailing.

    In fact, if "Renovation Raiders" visited your home, it was a job you never saw coming.


In reality, home renovation projects require much patience and not a little resolve on the part of homeowners. Managing your expectations is essential too as well as showing much flexibility. Here’s how to survive your next home renovation project.

A Grain of Salt

With any home improvement project that brings about significant change, you’ll want to take everything with a grain of salt. That doesn’t mean ignoring problems, rather learning how to roll with each one.

Problems will come up and some of the issues with your home may not be foreseen as the work begins. For instance, if asbestos is found in your basement you may have to leave the home and have it sucked out before being allowed back in. If a structural problem arises, your costs may suddenly skyrocket, putting stress on your budget. Then again, you may be thankful that the problem was found before it became a big issue.

Do What You Can Do

Home renovation projects can skyrocket in cost, but you can contain some expenses by handling at least part of the work yourself. Your contractor will understand and will work with you to allow you to paint rooms, lay flooring and install new cabinet faces.

You should also know that not every job is something that you can or should handle. Realistically understand what you’re able to do and have time to do. Stay within your skills and means, and you’ll be much less frustrated as the project unfolds.

Consider Long-Term Value

Even as your project unfolds, you’ll want to consider its long-term impact beyond the benefits that it gives you. Most certainly, you’ll enjoy the renovated kitchen, the new family room or the added second floor. You’ll also benefit from an increase in the home’s value.

This does not mean that you should build a mansion in a neighborhood where cottages dominate. You may be able to afford the renovation, but if you should move, buyers won’t appreciate the high price you home may command in a standard neighborhood. Understand how your home renovation will work in your neighborhood and plan accordingly.

Not All at Once

Your dreams of a fully renovated home may strain your budget. It may be an update with potential long-term benefits, but it could be something that you simply cannot afford right now. You won’t survive this home renovation project if your finances are pinched.

Consider dividing your project into smaller portions, attacking it piecemeal. For instance, one year you may be able to afford a bathroom renovation. A few years later you might update the kitchen. Years later you might add the family room. No home renovation project must be done all at once — breaking your project up may be more affordable for you.

What You Can Afford

You can eliminate home renovation frustration by outlining a budget and sticking with it. Add 10 percent to the budget’s final cost to handle over runs, but hold close to it and you will survive your next home renovation project.

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Categories: Home Renovation

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".