How to Remodel a Home: Steps to Plan It Out and Save Money

You’ve searched Pinterest, scoured home interior design magazines, watched all of your favorite home improvement shows, and you are ready to begin your own home remodeling project.  You’re pretty sure you will begin with the kitchen cabinets, but you also want to make a few tweaks to the bathroom, and your master bedroom could use a few larger windows, and so on and so on.

Consider your Budget

Whole house remodel

While you may be ecstatic to get moving on all of your home remodeling dreams, your budget and your home’s resale value may not be.  Consider first why you are adding space or changing features of your home.  Is it specifically to add to your home’s resale value or is it simply for a long overdue update?

If you are considering a remodeling project based strictly on increasing your home’s value you should first consult a real estate agent who can guide you toward the projects with the best return on investment.

Extravagant, quirky, and over-the-top projects and additions most likely won’t add much to your home’s value.  Traditional projects such as mid-level kitchen and bathroom remodels or exterior remodels generally have a better return on investment.

Make a Plan


Home Renovation

You are going through with your remodel.  You’ve talked to a real estate agent and you have narrowed down the project to one that will benefit you and your family while you are in your home and your return on investment when you eventually sell your home.  Now is the time to make a plan.

Not just a random in your head fleeting thought.  A written down, well-crafted and detailed plan.  What is your remodeling goal?  What is your timeline? Who will be on your team of experts? What is your financial budget?

Will you live in your home during your remodel or will you find alternative lodging?  All of these questions need to be specifically answered to guarantee that your remodeling project stays on target and on budget.

Find Your Remodeling Crew

Hire contractors

One of the most important aspects for a smooth, budget-friendly remodeling project is finding the right crew.  If your home remodel is going to change the layout or the structural integrity of your house, you should hire an architect.

An architect can keep your project up to code and also deal with blueprints.  Architects generally have an hourly rate of anywhere from $60 to $125 so you should budget accordingly.

If you do not need an architect you can begin your search with a general contractor.  Your contractor will manage subcontractors such as plumbers, electricians, painters, and drywall repair persons.  Finding and hiring a general contractor is not as easy as picking up the phone and starting your remodel the next day.

Contractors are often very busy and may need to be booked several months before your remodel is set to begin.  In order to begin your search for the perfect contractor, you should ask family, friends, and neighbors who live in your area if they have had a positive experience with a contractor.

interior designers

Believe it or not, word of mouth is one of the best ways to find a reliable contractor.  After you have a few suggestions from friends or family you can do a little digging online.  Research the names you have been given, starting with the contractor’s website and possibly social media page.  Check out the contractor’s most recent projects and reviews from previous clients.

After you’ve done your fair share of sleuthing it’s time to actually speak to the contractors.  Set up an appointment and discuss things such as credentials, licenses, subcontractors, insurance, previous work, and of course payment.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

You are hiring this person to do a very big job on your home and that means your money and home’s value are on the line.  When you feel comfortable with the contractor you should discuss in-depth their method of payment arrangements and contracts.

All legitimate contractors should draw up a formal contract for remodeling projects.  Many government organizations advise getting at least three written bids on a project while you are in the process of finding a contractor.

Stick to Your Budget

Budget for Entire House remodeling job

You’ve hired your crew, the demolition has begun and now you’re waiting…patiently of course for the job to be completed.  But while you are waiting you begin to notice that minor kitchen renovation that is going to cost around $26,000 might be even better if you had the contractor add in a few additional light fixtures and an island.

How much extra would that cost?  Surely not enough to throw you that far off-budget.  If you find yourself thinking like this you are not alone.  Many homeowners get caught in impulsive budget boosters during their remodeling projects.

Stick to your plan and to your budget to avoid overspending.  While you should avoid impulsive additions to your remodel you should expect some problems to arise.  Include an extra 10%-20% in your budget to cover unexpected expenses.

new house

You can find small ways to shave a bit of cost from your remodeling project by finding alternatives to high-end options.  Affordable look-alikes are a great place to find savings.  Luxe marble countertops might be your first choice but a more affordable choice like quartz is better for your budget.

In the end, this small switch won’t negatively affect your return on investment.  You can also shop seasonal sales for discounts on major appliances and look on websites like Wayfair for deals on everything from vanities to cabinet hardware.


Finally, some contractors offer off-season discounts to clients who book projects during the slower winter months.  You can score a reduced cost and possibly a faster timeline since your contractor will be much less busy.

costly mistakes most homeowners make

With your finances in order, your crew prepared, and your remodel taking off, the only thing left for you to do is wait.  While home remodeling projects can come with a bit of stress, you can limit how much it derails your life by sticking to your budget, staying patient, and following your plan so that when your project is finished you can sit back and relax in your newly remodeled home.