Address these steps before you start your home renovation. You’ll thank yourself.
Once the renovation is designed, budget prepared, contractor selected, and supplies ordered, it’s time to get down to business! But what did you forget to think about? There are a few things home owners commonly forget to plan for until it’s too late.
Security of your Documents and Valuables
If you don’t own a safe, get one. There will be contractors, subcontractors, permit inspectors, and tradespeople of all stripes coming in and out of your house for days, weeks, or months. You may have carefully selected your contractor – he or she may be the most honest, trustworthy person in town – but…Won’t the front door be unlocked (or completely open) most of the day? Delivery people dropping off supplies? Helpers doing some of the work? You never know who might stop by during this project.
Those who are supposed to be there may be unaware of unwelcome visitors due to the construction noise surrounding them. At the very least, the open doors can attract vandals, and you don’t want to be the victim. Lock all financial documents securely inside the safe as well as valuables such as jewelry. Of course firearms need to be secured in a safe out of sight or removed from the premises also.
Dust and Toxins
Almost all home renovations will produce airborne dust and debris – it’s easy to underestimate this issue until the project’s in full swing. Create a containment barrier around the project area, and try to keep all dust away from the furnace return air registers, as it will quickly move throughout the house if allowed into the air duct system. These are measures that your contractor, if you’re hiring one, should take to protect you and the rest of your house.
What contractors usually don’t address, but you should, are your curtains and furniture. Despite all best efforts, home remodel dust has a way of getting everywhere in the home, and it can be very hard to remove from large fabric items. Remove curtains and store them either off-site or sealed in plastic. Cover the windows with temporary paper blinds (available at all major home improvement stores). If you can part with it temporarily, have your furniture removed into storage during the remodel. If this isn’t feasible, then cover the furniture with plastic and seal it thoroughly, placing a washable blanket or cover over it if you’ll use the furniture during this time.
Home renovations in older homes can get really tricky. If the house was constructed prior to 1978, lead based paint could be present…asbestos too. It’s easy to underestimate the negative effects these can have on your health, both short- and long-term. Please make sure you and your contractor are following proper protocol for handling lead and asbestos dust. Strongly consider moving off-site during renovation of an older home to reduce your exposure to airborne toxins. And remember to have the furnace and ductwork professionally cleaned with a HEPA filtration system renovation and before you move back in.
Where to Sleep and Eat
Don’t underestimate the disruption, and plan, plan, plan ahead. Make a Plan A, a Plan B, and a Plan C. Talk with local friends and family, and see if you can housesit or borrow a room for a few days or weeks – you’re more likely to need it than you think. If you have pets, plan where they can stay when needed. Between dust, noise, strangers, and open doors, a remodel project can create quite an unhospitable environment for most pets. Consider searching your city or town on VRBO.com to find temporary, comfortable, private accommodations that feel like home away from home. Many VRBO hosts in fact will give small discounts for local guests, especially if you’re doing your project during your location’s tourism off-season. And last but not least, go ahead and price extended-stay hotel rooms – know where you will go last-minute if the conditions at home become more than you can handle.
It goes without saying that a kitchen remodel will disrupt your usual meal routine. If possible, set up a secondary kitchen location inside your house with a mini fridge, microwave, and a source of water nearby. Think about buying paper plates and cups to use during this time if you won’t have access to the dishwasher. And of course, prepare to eat out or order in more than you’re typically accustomed to – it’s just a natural side-effect of remodeling a kitchen – and add a line-item on your budget for that. Avoiding too many restaurant meals is another reason why staying temporarily with a friend or at a local vacation rental home can be beneficial – you can prepare the home-cooked meals you’re used to, despite the disruptions on the home-front.
The inconveniences that accompany a home renovation can take a toll. Not only have I seen many clients endure the home renovation process, I’ve put myself through it many times as well. Every mistake that could be made, I’ve made it! So I speak from personal experience with these recommendations. I hope next time you’re ready to do a home improvement project you’ll think about and plan for these things in advance.
Here’s to your safe, efficient, healthy remodel process!
Do you have more than one project on your list and aren’t sure where to start? Take a look at our article on the renovation projects that will give you the highest return on investment. If you’re all ready to start design planning, check out our articles on Innovative Surfaces and Materials to Modernize Your Home, Hottest Kitchen Design Trends for 2020, and our guide to Xeriscaping your Garden in Colorado.
Lauren Collier is a licensed REALTOR who lives and works in Colorado Springs. Through her proprietary approach to listing and selling houses, she specializes in helping home owners maximize their profits by treating their property like an investment.