5 Tips When Starting a Large Renovation

Family of three in a room with painting equipment and the furniture covered with plastic

Remodeling can be a lot of fun if you plan right and keep your goal in sight. However, be prepared for mess and disruptions, and keep your sense of humor. The results of a successful large renovation make all the hard work worth it.

Meticulous Planning

Carefully review the building permit requirements for your project and plan accordingly. There may be inspection requirements to fulfill to make sure you meet building codes. Remember that these codes exist for your safety, so don’t cut corners with them. Not building to code, such as incorrect railing or stairs on your deck, can also impact your ability to sell the house later.

When planning a home renovation, it can be hard to visualize what will be where. One low-tech approach is to bring home some big cardboard boxes and put them where things like cabinets and appliances will go to make it easier to understand how things will fit together. Knowing exactly what you want will make any surprise future decisions easier to navigate.

If you are doing any work yourself you will need to invest in any tools you don’t already have in order to complete your projects. Make lists of what needs to be accomplished or purchased for each task. Will some surfaces need to be painted? That’s probably something you can handle. Electrical work however? Best leave that to a professional. 


No matter how carefully you plan, there will be surprises. You never know if your water heater may give out mid-renovation, or if you will in fact need to have your entire service panel updated unexpectedly. Take your planned expense worksheet for the project and multiply it by 1.5 to protect yourself from going too far over your renovation budget. Creating a budget is more important than ever since mortgage rates are expected to keep climbing. Whether you’re just tapping into the home’s equity or refinancing your construction loan at the end of the build, do your best to budget for every expense, and then some.

Dealing with Disruption

Disruptions are inevitable during renovations. The water may need to be shut off for a day, so you’ll have to shower at the gym. The electricity may need to be turned off while you upgrade or reroute wires, so you may need to take the kids to the library or to a relative’s house until the power is restored. Different seasons create different issues to overcome when dealing with a disruption in your home’s usual functions. Plan for shutoffs and have options prepared.

Dealing with Mess

Demo is fun and a way to reduce the expenses of your renovation. However, the first step you need to take is to mask and protect what you want to keep. If you have to pack up a space to renovate it, use this opportunity to get rid of things you don’t use. When the renovation is done, you can move back in only what you need and put it exactly where it will do you the most good.

Dealing with Stress

Make sure to schedule in some fun and have conversations that don’t have anything to do with the renovation. Close the door on the mess and go out to dinner or the movies. This is critical if you’re renovating with your spouse or if you have kids. Make sure you can all live with one another when the renovation is over. 

During a home makeover, it pays to plan, but you also need to stay flexible. Budget for your projects properly and invest in the right equipment for any DIY adventures you’ll be having to minimize stress during your investment. While renovating is hard work, the reward at the end of the project is sweet.