Home Renovation Dos and Don’ts

Here’s What To Do When Renovating a House

A renovation may be what you need to freshen things up if you recently moved into a new house that isn’t quite the right style or layout that appeals to you. Real estate inventory is low during the covid pandemic, especially if you are looking to buy in a metro area. Many home buyers have left or sold their urban properties and are moving out of the crowded cities into the relatively spread out suburbs.

At this time in the NJ real estate market, homes put on the market are being sold for thousands over asking price and bidding wars are pressing potential buyers to commit to homes they may not have considered if there were more available local options.

Since the reasons for leaving the city outweigh the concerns they may have about small windows, an outdated kitchen and a deck that may be in disrepair – home buyers may settle on a property they like and a house with ideas for a potential home renovation spinning around in their head as they sign the closing paperwork.

Buying a home that needs renovation work can be overwhelming since there are so many hidden expenses and uncertainties involved. It can be more confusing when you are presented with many renovation projects at once without any idea of where to begin. Before you put your plan into effect, it is important to analyze your reasons, needs, and the estimated budget for your renovation. This article gives information on the things you need to do before embarking on a house renovation project.

Check out our article about how to choose a house plan when building a new home.

Assess the Current Condition of Your House

The best way to get hold of everything that needs to be done is to start with the basics. It begins by assessing your house to get an idea of what needs to be replaced and what is still in perfect condition. A licensed home inspector will scour the basement and the attic checking for leaks, dampness, or any damage. They should also examine your roof, electrical panels, and plumbing system to ensure everything operates efficiently. Although many people have mixed feelings about having a house survey, it is a good way to get an idea of areas that need renovation. However, you should not rely entirely on a survey, as it does not cover personal preferences. Make a list of what you feel you want to change about your décor and get more ideas on how to go about it. Here is a great article if you’re wondering about Things to Know Before Closing on a New Construction Home.

List and Sort Priorities

Once you have made a list of the areas you think should be renovated, you need to sort and group everything into categories based on the task. This may include plumbing, plastering, electrics, cabinetry, or painting & decorating. You need to set priorities based on what is urgent, not urgent, can be done anytime, or needs to be done as soon as possible. Please keep in mind that there are projects that need to be done sooner rather than later. Bigger problems related to plumbing and electrics need to be handled first before you paint or add final touches to your décor. Start with major tasks that involve changing room layouts, knocking down or building new walls, or fixing water problems. Afterward, proceed with other little projects such as windows, plastering, tiling, floors, and finally painting and decorating.

Hire a Professional

Complex tasks that you cannot handle on your own should be left for a professional to avoid expensive costs of future repairs on things that were not installed correctly. Many projects in a home renovation usually affect others and may require the knowledge and experience of a skilled contractor if you want to achieve perfection. For example, if you are knocking down walls or rearranging your layout, you might need sorting some electric cables or plumbing pipes. Although the results from your home survey may dictate the order of your priorities, it is crucial to decide what is important for you. This may involve determining the project you want to finish first, what can improve your lifestyle, which project is most urgent, and the areas you can spend money most without interfering with your budget.

The Don’ts – Here’s what to Avoid When Starting a Home Renovation.

Figuring Out Your Budget ‘Along the Way’

Never assume that things will just blend in as soon as you start your renovation project. If you do not have a budget, there are high chances of spending more than what you intended to. You would not want to delay your project because you lacked enough money to purchase materials or pay your laborers. Even if the proportion of your expenses can be flexible, it is still important to work out the schedule in advance.

Skimping on Materials

Many homeowners have a wrong perception that “if you can’t see it, you don’t need it”. The reality is that cutting corners on things that seem imaginary may cost you more in the long run than you think. Reconsider other ideas recommended to you by a professional contractor as they have experience in what happens when you skimp on certain materials.

The time you start your renovation may vary depending on the repairs needed. Before you begin any renovation project, the first thing is to set a roadmap to guide your efforts. This starts by assessing the current condition of your house, setting your priorities, and working with a professional to bring your ideas into reality.


  • Michelle Garofalo

    Michelle Garofalo is the guiding force behind MSC Enterprises, LLC, a prominent custom home builder and real estate developer in Monmouth County and Ocean County, New Jersey. With over 25 years in real estate development, her expertise extends from a successful career in the solar industry, where she managed over 75MW of projects. Co-founding Infiniti Energy, Michelle now oversees day-to-day operations and leads business development, ensuring a seamless journey for clients. Her meticulous approach and commitment to excellence are reflected in MSC's residential and commercial properties, known for their quality, durability, and energy efficiency.