Things to Think About When You’re Planning for Home Renovations

A couple doing home renovations

Whether you’re getting ready to give your outdated kitchen a facelift or swap your bathtub for a walk-in shower, it’s easy to get wrapped up in smaller details like drawer handles and towel racks. But while it may be easy to picture what the room will look like when the work is done, it’s important to give some thought to the process. Who’s actually going to do the work? How much will it cost? And will it impact your home insurance?

Here are a few not-so-small things to consider while you’re dreaming of your Pinterest-perfect powder room:

Bring in qualified professionals

While it can be fun (and often less expensive) to DIY, there are certain jobs that are best left to professionals. Projects like intricate tilework, cabinet installation, and countertop replacement can actually decrease the value of your home if they’re not done correctly — so get the most bang for your buck by bringing in qualified tradespeople who can help you select quality materials and install them properly.

Did you know projects like intricate tile-work and cabinet installation can decrease the value of your home if they’re not done correctly? Consider hiring a qualified contractor to select and install your materials.

Specialized renos that affect the guts of your home (including its structure, electrical, plumbing, gas, and heating or air conditioning) should always be completed by licensed professionals who are equipped to meet today’s safety standards. It’s especially important to hire licensed and insured professionals for electrical work. If even a minor electrical repair is done incorrectly, it could cause a fire, electrical shock, or serious injury.

Expect unexpected expenses

When it comes to crunching numbers, some of us are more gifted than others. But even the most skilled budgeters among us should count on going over budget when completing home renovations. Whether you come across a problem that needs to be addressed before the rest of the work is done (like electrical or plumbing issues) or an error is made in the measuring process and you need to purchase additional materials, unexpected expenses should be expected in any home renovation project. Consider setting aside an additional 10% to 20% of your total budget to avoid breaking the bank if any unanticipated costs should come up.

When planning for home renovations, consider setting aside 10% to 20% of your total budget to avoid breaking the bank if any unexpected costs should come up.

Get the right permits

Depending on where you live and what kind of renovations you’re doing, you may need to obtain building permits (or even a home inspection) from your local government before you get started. As the property owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure you have these permits, whether you’re doing the work yourself or hiring a professional. If a contractor offers to arrange any required permits or inspections for you, make sure that’s specified in your contract. To learn what types of projects require building permits in your location, visit the website for your municipality or contact the municipal office.

Talk to your insurance broker before getting started

While there are many types of renovations that won’t typically affect your home insurance (like painting walls or changing carpets), others could impact your premium or compromise your coverage (like structural changes, for example). Plus, if you’re planning to move out while your home is being renovated, there may be special changes in coverage you need to know about ahead of time.

Reach out to your licensed home insurance broker to make sure you have the right coverage before you start working on renovations. If you’ve recently completed a home reno, ask your broker if your upgrades are covered by your existing home insurance policy.

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