7 First Steps You Need to Take Before Your Home Remodel

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House renovation is one of the most exciting projects homeowners can take on. Of course, the key to a successful remodel is proper preparation – careful planning will ensure your remodel goes smoothly and that you’re happy with the final result.

If you’ve never taken on a remodel before, you may feel unsure where to start. Follow these seven steps to plan thoughtfully for your upcoming renovation project.

Consider Project Scale

Are you planning to remodel a bathroom? Your kitchen? Or update your whole house? Many of the decisions you make during the planning process will depend on the scale of the project you’re considering.


Remodeling everything at once can be a little overwhelming. To make the work more manageable, think about breaking your remodel into smaller chunks and completing one at a time.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! But over 2,000 years later, Roman roads still exist all over Europe. Quality results take quality planning time.

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Daydream About Your Space

Think about the reasons you want to remodel. What kind of home are you creating? Take some time to daydream about what your space could look like. Ask yourself questions like these:

  • If you could do anything, what would you change about this space?
  • What might stay the same?
  • What kind of flooring do you prefer?
  • What appliances/furniture would you like to move?
  • How might you change the lighting in the space?
  • What updates could my remodel include?

Create a vision for your new space, and document it. You can return to this later for inspiration and motivation to finish your renovation project!

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Count the Cost

To protect yourself from financial strain and any future stress, get a reasonable estimate of total renovation costs as early in the process as possible.


When making your calculations, consider the cost of permits, various materials, and labor. Always make sure you have a sizeable buffer in place. Sometimes, renovations can uncover underlying problems that need immediate attention.

Exact costs will vary depending on many factors – how much space you’re renovating, what you’re replacing, and how much of the project you do yourself. Being very thorough in your cost analysis will give you peace of mind during the rest of the project.

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Take Exact Measurements

Part of planning well involves measuring your space carefully. Many of the decisions you’ll make later depend on how large your space is – such as how many materials you’ll need, how much you’ll spend on them, and how long the remodel might take.

You can take measurements the old-fashioned way, with rulers and a calculator. Or, you can use newer technologies to get more exact measurements of your space. Whichever method you choose, take the measurements more than once. It’s best to double-check your numbers before they affect your remodel or your budget.

Talk to Contractors

Some remodel projects can be DIY-ed, but many are best attempted with the help of an experienced contractor. Generally, you’ll need a contractor if you are planning to change electrical wiring or plumbing, or if your project is large enough to benefit from a team of workers.


The process of finding a reliable contractor is essential since the contractor you choose will spend a lot of time with you in your home. To find the right contractor, start by asking for recommendations from people you trust.

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Before you agree to work with a contractor, ask them these questions:

  • How many projects will they be working on at once?
  • Do they have references you can call?
  • Have they done similar work before?
  • What subcontractors do they work with?
  • How do they typically handle projects that take longer or cost more than expected?

Take your time here, and get a feel for each contractor’s personality and habits. A healthy relationship with your contractor is vital for a smooth remodeling process.

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Do the Paperwork

Although not all remodel projects require paperwork, most remodels do. If you’re considering hiring a contractor, you definitely have paperwork to do.

Check the ordinances your city has for remodels to see which permits are required for your project. Large projects also require periodic visits from a house inspector to make sure everything’s up to code.

You’ll also have paperwork to complete with your contractor. The documents you sign will protect you, your home, and your contractor and should include at least the following:

  • Contract agreement – A signed, detailed summary of the project
  • Work schedule – An agreed-upon timeline for the work
  • Scope of work agreement – A statement of what the contractor will do
  • Bonds and insurance – Documents that offer legal and financial protection

Remember, more paperwork means more clarity and less room for misunderstandings or a lawsuit. Do your research and make sure you’ve requested all the paperwork you need to feel comfortable before moving forward with your project.

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Order Materials

Now it’s time to bring all your plans together and make the first move on your renovation project. Think back to your dream space and consider your budget. Can you achieve the same effect for less? Are there some parts of the renovation you can cut back on and others where you’d prefer to splurge?

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Check the measurements you’ve made and add up the costs to ensure you remain within your budget. Look at your options and consider how different features will appear together. In general, there are three questions you should ask before ordering materials:

  • Does it fit the dream?
  • Does it fit the space?
  • Does it fit the budget?

If the answer is yes, you can hit the order button! Keep a list of all the materials you or your contractor will need, and make sure you order everything with enough time to arrive before it’s needed.

Time to Begin!

Once you’ve completed these seven steps, you’re all set to put your remodeling project in motion. Keep a clear line of communication open with your contractor and subcontractors, and check with yourself periodically to make sure everything’s on track. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying your new space – the days of dusty remodeling far behind you.