Renovating a House: The Top 5 on your Checklist

Renovating a House: The Top 5 on your Checklist

When you move into a new house, it looks beautiful and attractive – its value is high. But as time goes by, your walls may start to peel, your decor will start to look outdated, your appliances may start to break down or perhaps your kids have finally moved out.

You may decide to sell up but if you still love your house, it is time to renovate and give your home a new lease of life.

Modern palettes, airy spaces, walk-in closets, open plan kitchen, perhaps, even a sunroom. But, hang on. Before we get there, we have to deal with permits, contractors, architects, budgets and annoyed neighbours.

So, how do we make this process less painful? With a checklist!

If well prepared with a written down list of what needs to be done, the materials required, and the money required, house renovation will go much more smoothly.

What to include in a house renovation checklist

What to include in a house renovation checklist
What to include in a house renovation checklist
  • Have a plan

The biggest mistake you can ever make is to kick start your project without a well-thought plan. Planning helps you to envision what to expect after the project.

Your plan should consist of a sketch or blueprint of your finished project. If your neighbor’s house has inspired you, go and visit and know what to expect. You can also do extensive research online to explore many ideas. Pinterest is handy in the planning and envisioning stage.

The plan should also outline the steps needed to complete the renovation – divide this into professional and DIY steps. Come up with a schedule and estimate the time the project will take to be completed. The project must be completed within reasonable time to give room for other house activities.

Lastly, identify the best contractor for the project – you may need more than one to cover all bases – plumbing, electricity, HVAC etc. For critical systems in your house like HVAC, you need the help of professionals, like the New Jersey heating and air condition repair experts.

  • Get permissions and permits

Permits and permissions are vital, especially when the renovation will change the structure of your building. The location of your house determines the permit needed as requirements vary from city to city.

The city building inspector will explain to you the zoning regulations and the applicable restrictions.

For those living in an area with a homeowners association, there may be rules that define exterior design requirements. Consult the association to find out.

Lastly, have a polite word with your neighbours. Let them know when the work is starting and the expected end date. A little kindness and neighbourliness goes a long way.

  • Identify what needs doing first

Now that you have a go ahead, it’s time to identify the starting point. Even if you want to renovate the entire house, there are places you must start with.

You can decide to start from the exterior or interior- but it’s always better to start inside going out. Starting inside also ensures you can get back into your spaces faster.

You should start your renovation with structural projects like the roof or foundation, and finish with general cosmetic changes.

  • Prepare the house for renovation

Prepare the house for renovation
Prepare the house for renovation


You will have to move some, if not all of your household items to a separate room before the refurbishment begins.

If the project is small, you will probably be moving the items as you continue with the renovation.

However, for larger projects, you may require to rent a temporary storage space. But remember to keep the most important things at a place where you can easily access them.

Removing your household items makes it easier for the contractor to finish the job as per the schedule.

  • Begin the refurbishment

Now that you have a well-thought plan, permission from relevant authorities and everything ready, it’s time to get the job done. During this time, it’s best to keep children away for safety purposes.

It’s always advisable to use a contractor for a house renovation but if you are doing it yourself,now is the time to roll up your sleeves.

  • Hiring a contractor

Finding the right contractor for your project is always a sticking point for many homeowners. Ensure they are;

  • Knowledgeable and experienced
  • Insured  – An insured contractor is highly advisable- if anything goes wrong, you are not held responsible
  • A valid license to back up their certification
  • References from the contractor of happy clients.


House renovation is a multi-step process with many moving parts. With a good plan, necessary certification or permits, and a high level of preparedness, you can achieve your vision faster, well done and on budget.

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