It is finally time to start that home improvement project that you have been thinking about. You can hardly wait to begin enjoying the finished product, but there is a lot to do between now and then. You will need to plan ahead in order for the project to go as smoothly as possible. Here are some important things to consider before you actually start.

Decide Your Vision

No matter what project you are preparing for, you need to develop a vision for the end goal. Ideally, this will come with plans and pictures of how you want it to look. One way is to create an idea board. This can be digitized or printed out, but it is basically a collection of design elements you want to incorporate into the project. As you research building plans, colors, styles, and textures, you will collect pictures or samples of the items that catch your eye and place them on the board. This will give you a good general idea of what you like. Then, be sure to communicate it fully with any professionals who will be assisting you.

Your Budget

The next step in the planning phase is to create a budget. You have a general idea of what you like, but you need to know how much money you can dedicate toward the project before you decide on an exact design. Determine how much you can realistically spend. Once you have that number, you can break it down. Remember to itemize every expense. Include everything from labor fees and materials to accents and décor. If you will be hiring professionals, now is the time to get quotes from several different companies. Once you know the various costs, you can finalize your design. Your budget will determine which companies you hire and what materials you will be able to incorporate.

Pick Out Your Materials

Regardless of what home improvement project you are doing, you will need to select the materials that you want to use. Be sure to involve your budget during this step.The internet is a great place to learn what materials have worked for other people with a similar budget and vision. You can also get good input from the professionals you are hiring. It is a wise idea to bring home samples, whether it is fabric, flooring, stone, wood slats, paint colors, or whatever else you might need. Sometimes, colors and textures look one way at the store, but a totally different way at home with your lighting and interior design.

How to Stay Safe

Safety is always the first priority, and there are some things you can do to ensure that you and your family are safe during construction. Block off the construction site, making sure that young children if you have any are unable to access hazardous tools and building materials. If you plan on doing the work yourself, be sure that you follow all safety protocols, especially regarding protective eyewear and clothing, power tools, and ladder safety. It is important to have a singular place to collect debris, rather than allowing it to be strewn about the property. Trash hoppers increase safety by removing debris from your home improvement site.

Acquire Necessary Permits

State laws require that you obtain a building permit whenever you are completing a substantial home improvement project. Building codes will vary depending upon the state where you reside, so be sure that you know your state’s requirements. Working without performing this vital step can lead to fines or even forced demolition. If you are hiring the work out, the construction company may do this step for you. If you are doing the work yourself, you will need to get the permit on your own. Keep in mind that this process can take several weeks, so start early.

Communicate With Neighbors

Home improvement doesn’t only upend your life for a few days or weeks, it can also affect your neighbors. This is especially true if you are working within the parameters of any shared space, such as fences and yards. Be a good neighbor and give the people around you a heads up. They will be dealing with increased noise and traffic, and they may need to adjust their schedules as a result. Taking them some cookies as a peace offering wouldn’t hurt, either! It is also a good idea to speak with construction workers about any concerns your neighbors might have.

Figure Out the Financing

As with everything, the best way to pay for your project is to plan ahead and save the money. However, on significant home improvement projects you may need to take out a loan to finance it. One common and easy way to finance your remodel is to refinance your mortgage, taking out equity to pay for the construction costs. You can check with your current lender for rates, but it might pay to switch. Get quotes from two or three other lenders. Ideally, you will be able to find a loan with lower interest rates. Another option is to get a home equity loan, or second mortgage. This is a good idea if you already have low interest rates on your current mortgage, or if you don’t have enough equity built up to pull out yet. Be certain your financing is in place before signing with contractors or beginning the work.

Protect Your Investment

If you are adding finished square footage to your space or are significantly adding to the value of your home, you should speak with your insurance company to be sure that your assets are fully covered. You may need to increase the amount of homeowner’s insurance that you have so that you don’t run into any surprise insurance payment refusals down the road. Also, keep a record of any warranties included in the project so that you can utilize them later if needed. You might even want to purchase warranty extension plans if the cost seems worth the risk of loss.

Home improvement projects are exciting! It is no wonder you are looking forward to the many benefits the improvements will bring you and your family. Be sure that you are fully prepared so that there are no unexpected surprises, and you can move forward in your project with confidence.

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