5 Questions Smart People Ask Before Starting a Renovation

Couple planning a renovation

Many people wrestle with taking on a home renovation. The fear of being caught in a contracting nightmare with a demolished kitchen can stifle your excitement. However, with a trustworthy, knowledgeable contractor, the process can go much more smoothly. You can relax and enjoy the anticipation of your newly renovated space. As with anything in life, you want to have a solid plan in place. At Skylight, we know that smart homeowners ask smart questions before diving into demolition. Here are 5 brilliant questions to ask before starting a renovation:

1. What does your renovation entail?

What exactly do you want to change? Do you want to demo the entire kitchen or just replace the cabinets? Are you ready to tear out the bathroom flooring, or are you just looking to update the vanity? Take a walk through the space that you want to update, making a list of every detail that you may change. Spend some time scrolling through social media accounts to get ideas for current trends. 

2. How to find the right contractor for your renovation? 

Ask around. Do an internet search for contractors in your area, then ask your friends and neighbors about the ones you found. Online platforms such as Yelp and HomeAdvisor allow you to read reviews from former clients. The best information will come from people you know who have done business with these companies. Look for evidence of legitimacy. This includes a contractor’s license from your state’s board of contractors and a registered business structure with your state.

Once you meet with contractors, ask about these things:

  • Experience – How many projects has the company completed? How many of these projects are like yours?
  • Budget – How much will this renovation cost you? Do they foresee any problems that may wreck your budget? What percentage of their projects meet the initial price quote?
  • Timeline – When will construction begin? How long will the construction project take?
  • Payment – How big a deposit are they asking for? What forms of payment do they accept? Is there a payment schedule in place?

3. How to stay within the budget? 

Many contractors offer free quotes. Narrow your list down to only companies that you would work with. Ask for quotes, then ask questions. Have a thorough conversation with your contractor about any foreseeable problems that may blow your budget.

  • Plan and plan well. Don’t rush into the project. Take some time to pick the right layout and features. Look at photos, and select all of your colors, patterns, etc. ahead of time. Homeowners often exceed their budgets because they make changes once the project has started. 
  • Leave some room in your budget for unexpected expenses. Contractors often uncover problems once demolition has begun. Unless you’ve hired a company with a 100% budget guarantee, they will charge you change orders.
  • Decide which aspects of your renovation are must-haves, and which you can let go. This will leave you some wiggle room if unexpected expenses occur.

4. How will I pay for my renovation? 

Some contractors may have payment plans. Ask for several quotes from reputable contractors to get a general idea of what your renovation will cost. Have you saved enough to cover your project? If not, are you willing to borrow money to pay for it? 

You may use multiple methods of payment. If your savings will only cover a portion of the cost, consider looking into financing options.

5. What will life look like while my home is under construction?

Your contractor will give you a quote of how long they will displace you from your kitchen or bathroom. Make a plan for how to adjust in the meantime. How will you prepare meals while your kitchen is out of sorts? Do you have dishes you can use until they replace your cabinets? Do you have an alternative bathroom to use while yours is under construction? A reputable contractor realizes that you need your home, and will have you back in working order as soon as possible.

Proper preparation leads to more successful outcomes. If you’re ready to get a start on answering these smart questions, contact Skylight for a free virtual quote today!