The Renovating a House Checklist You Absolutely Can’t Skip

New cabinets glisten in the light of trendy pendant lights. Attractive tiles line the bathroom floor where pink vinyl used to be. Durable yet attractive flooring maintains its beauty despite untrimmed pet claws.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been dreaming up similar post-renovation scenes nonstop. A kitchen, bathroom, or complete home makeover might be overtaking your every thought. But how do you achieve those picture-perfect goals? This renovating a house checklist will take you through each essential step.

From goal setting to enjoying your upgraded space, our list has your reno all planned out.

Renovating a House Checklist

1. Rank your reno goals

Have a laundry list of potential home renovations? Yeah. Us too.

It’s fun to dream up extravagant home upgrades. But remember that each one comes at a price. You might not know your budget yet. So, reorder your wishlist from most to least important. This will help you cross upgrades off, starting at the bottom of the list, once you establish your renovation budget.

Tip: Write each renovation idea on a separate sticky note. Move the notes around until you have the most important one at the top and the least important at the bottom (and everything in between). You can add estimated prices via a quick online search for added budget info.

2. Consider home value increases

As you prioritize your reno wishlist, it might be helpful to consider the potential equity you could be adding to your home with each project. We can’t give you exact numbers since every local housing market is different. But, there are some widely accepted “higher value” home upgrades you might invest in:

  • Modest kitchen updates – Cabinet refinishing, new backsplash, and upgraded lighting.
  • Basic exterior face-lift – Fresh coat of paint, siding replacement, or simple landscaping.
  • Upgraded bathroom – A new toilet, fresh tiling, and modern light fixtures.

If you know a good real estate agent, reach out for their expert opinion on renovation projects that might increase your home equity. They’ll know your local market much better than Google does.

What’s home equity? It’s the amount your home is worth, minus what you owe on your mortgage loan.

3. Set a budget

You knew this was coming. You can’t get a kitchen that chefs dream of without forking over some dough. If you’ve saved up for your home upgrades, great! You already know your budget.

If you don’t have the funds lying around, you might consider a cash-out refinance. With a cash-out refi, you’ll replace your existing mortgage loan with a new one and pocket a portion of the home equity you’ve been building. It’s like breaking into the piggy bank you’ve been slowly filling with each mortgage payment.

The great thing about using cash from a refinance for home upgrades is that you’ll be working to rebuild the equity you withdrew. Plus, you get to enjoy your renovated home for years to come. It’s a win-win.

Connect with one of your mortgage experts for a cash-out refinance estimate. There’s no commitment and no charge.

Going the cash-out refinance route? Your cashback amount can serve as your budget.

Now that you know how much you can spend on renovations, it’s time to nix the projects that don’t fall within your predefined budget. And remember to leave some financial padding for when something costs more than expected.

Sorry. But also, you’re welcome.

4. Find inspiration

Budgets are boring, but renovation inspiration is so much fun! Now that you know which projects you’ll invest in, it’s time to browse the internet, magazines, and home design shows. Establish your style so you can guide the final outcomes.

5. Select your team

Seek contractor referrals from friends and family. You can also take to the internet for home renovation professionals with glowing reviews.

Sites like Yelp, Thumbtack, and Angi can be beneficial when finding the right team for your renovation. Consider hiring several contractors who specialize in the different projects on your list. You might not want the plumber to install your kitchen backsplash. Just saying.

Tip: Get 2-3 estimates for each project you’re planning. You’ll be able to compare pricing and see how each contractor approaches communication.

Once you pick your favorites, it’s time to get renovating!

6. Prepare your space

Your home prep to-do list for renovations will depend on which areas you plan to upgrade. But in general, you’ll want to put away valuables so they don’t get damaged or dusty. And don’t forget to think through the fact that you might not have appliances like a fridge or washing machine for several weeks. Consider updating your security system while you’re at it. If you’re going to be out of the house for extended periods of time, solid security makes sense.

7. Make living arrangements

Planning on refinishing the basement or upgrading a space you rarely use? You might be able to kick it at home during your remodel. But, if your kitchen and bathrooms are off-limits for a week or two, you might want to book a hotel or plan to stay with loved ones. Unless you want to camp in the backyard, that is.

8. Expect surprises

Remember when we said you should have a budget buffer for unexpected expenses? Well, budget might not be the only unpredictable aspect of home renovations. Timelines, materials, and the people involved can all throw wrenches into your reno plans.

Can you prepare for the unknown? We’re not philosophers, but just don’t say we didn’t warn you.

9. Enjoy your new space

After all that planning and couch surfing, you’ll finally be able to sit back and enjoy. Your home might even look like one from those gorgeous catalogs you’ve been pouring over. Plus, you probably upgraded your home’s value as you worked through this renovating a house checklist.

More home enjoyment. More home equity. Totally worth it.

You can’t get a kitchen that chefs dream of without forking over some dough. If you don’t have the funds lying around, you might consider a cash-out refinance.

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