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Planning A Major Home Renovation: How To Create A Realistic Timeline

Construction equipment

Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Whenever you are renovating a home or part of one, you need to carefully plan the job and build a realistic timeline and budget. Time is money. If you are not realistic about the amount of time your renovations are going to take, the renovation will cost you more. 

Home improvements are an investment, and you want to get the best return possible. Here are a few tips to help you create a more realistic timeline for your home renovations that will save you time and save you money.

Set Your Budget

Your renovation budget is going to have a massive impact on your timeline. The more you have to spend, the faster you will be able to get the job done. Before you begin any renovation work, you should get a range of quotes from local handymen and other trades to help you plan out your costs. You can also discuss a timeline for the project. This will help you plan the work and decide when to begin your renovation.

When you are budgeting, you should plan for overruns. Most renovations and builds cost more than you plan, no matter how well you budget. Once you have a rough idea of how much you will spend on materials and labour, you should add at least 20% to your budget to help absorb these overruns. If you do not spend all of the money, you will have something left over for accessories or decorative items.

Equity release could allow you to increase your renovation budget. Homeowners, aged over 55, can release some of the equity tied down in their home. Check out this guide from Retirement Solutions if you are wondering how long equity release takes. You may be able to receive the equity as a tax-free lump sum, or through something known as drawdown. A drawdown involves the homeowner receiving equity in amounts over time. This is usually all done through something known as a lifetime mortgage. This is only available to a homeowners aged 55 and over who is successful in their application.

Use A Calendar

Big renovations can take weeks or months to complete. You should use a calendar to help you plan the work and create your timeline. Make sure you take into account any important dates in your social and family calendars in case a birthday or school holiday impacts your plans. Doing this will give you a better idea of when to start the work.

Do not rush to make a start. The work can wait. Without proper planning, the renovation will be more expensive and more time-consuming, and it will also have a larger negative effect on your home life. Just like with money, you should plan for a time overrun. Whenever you are renovating part of a house or the whole home, you will experience setbacks that will stretch your timeline. Add extra weeks to your estimated timeline to account for the problems that you will inevitably run into.

If you are working with tradesmen or women, you need to factor their availability into your timeline as well. You may have to delay your start date to work around their schedule. When you begin to put your timeline together, look for small ways to speed things up. Storing materials ahead of time, for example, can reduce the amount of time spent waiting for deliveries or sourcing supplies and equipment.

 A man in a white T-shirt paints the walls of a house

Know Your Phases

Most home renovations have different phases that you slowly work through. Knowing these phases and accounting for the time they are likely to take will help you to make a more realistic timeline. The first phase is usually demolition and structural repairs. 

If you are making a big kitchen renovation, for example, it is going to take a lot of time to remove appliances. Walls may need to be stripped of tiles, any structural issues will need to be addressed, and any major alterations will need to be prepared for. This may include changes to walls, floors, or ceilings which can be very time-consuming and often overrun as workers discover problems that need to be addressed.

The next phase of a renovation is often called the ‘first fix’. With the room or rooms stripped bare and structurally sound, plumbers and electricians can begin to install new wiring or pipework to service the new room. This is normally a quick part of the process unless you are making major changes to plumbing or heating. The first fix phase of renovating a bathroom or kitchen will take longer than for a living room.

With the wiring and plumbing work completed, it is time to move to the next phase of the job. This is sometimes called ‘first finish’ and is when any plastering work will be completed on walls and ceilings. The floor will also be addressed, but not finished. Floorboards may be removed or fixed, but you will not finish the floor by installing carpet or laminate until all the work is completed.

At this stage of the renovation, your rooms should be ready for the ‘second fix’. If you are renovating a bathroom or kitchen the appliances will be installed in this phase. Kitchen cupboards and countertops will be fitted, and walls tiled for example. This is when your rooms begin to take shape and look more recognisable. There is still a lot of work to be done though.

The final finish is the last phase of the renovation. This is when you will paint walls and skirting boards or wallpaper the walls. Fixtures like lighting, plug sockets, and taps or appliances like ovens will be installed. The last job should be your flooring, so it does not get damaged or stained while the last of the work is completed. A great addition to any renovation can be a company offering stretch ceilings, which are a modern and stylish way to cover up an exposed ceiling.

Break your renovation up into these phases during your planning stages. This will make it easier to create a reasonable and realistic timeline. You can also arrange these phases around other commitments you have on your calendar. There can be gaps between these phases, and you can use these to balance your commitments with the renovation timeline.

Plan For Paperwork

The key to creating a realistic timeline for a home renovation is anticipating delays. Depending on the type of renovation you have in mind, you may need planning permission from your local council. This can be time-consuming, so make sure that you account for it in your timeline. It can also add extra costs to your budget. You may also need to sign contracts with tradespeople and suppliers which can also take time to complete.

The start of your timeline should include completing any relevant paperwork and account for the amount of time it could take to be completed. When submitting planning permission to a local council, it can take a long time to be processed, and you may need to make alterations to your plans and resubmit. This will have a huge effect on your estimated timeline. Complete all planning applications before you arrange dates or sign contracts with tradespeople or material suppliers.

With the help of these tips, you should be able to save time and money on your home renovations. Planning and preparation are the two most important steps in any endeavour. Make sure you set aside some time to plan the work and prepare for the amount of time it will take.