Ron Thompson

Surviving your home renovation

By Ron Thompson

Some tips on how to survive your home renovation.

As the last leaves fall and another season comes to an end, we are reminded that perhaps the only certainty in this life is change (along, perhaps, with death and taxes, as Benjamin Franklin pointed out).

Sometimes, change is exactly what we’re looking for, but that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier! That was certainly the case when I had my kitchen and bathroom renovated last summer. Having survived the experience, I thought I’d share a few tips so that future renovators can avoid the pitfalls I encountered along the way.

  1. Before any work has begun, come to an agreement—preferably in writing—with your contractor on a timeline and a cost for the work. This might seem obvious, but renovations will always take longer and cost more than you expect. Setting expectations in the beginning will help hold your contractor accountable.
  2. Plan for the work to be done in good-weather months. Contractors need a large staging area to cut wood and tile, etc. You will want this staging area, along with its associated mess and noise, to be outside if possible.
  3. Safely confiscate and store in a safe place everything you do not want lost or thrown out. Not only window screens, blinds, and window/door hardware, but also that leftover grout you chose for the tile, or that bit of remaining granite you thought you might re-use someday.
  4. Pay attention to the smallest details, like where you want the knobs placed on your cabinet doors. Some people like them two inches up from the door bottom while others like them in the bottom corner. Remember, your contractor’s preferences are guaranteed to be different than your own.
  5. If you’re renovating your kitchen, create an eating and food-preparation area in another room, if possible, and move your coffee maker, slow cooker, microwave and small fridge there. Eating out every night can get expensive.
  6. Never, ever, buy new appliances until your kitchen is 100% complete. I’m still looking at the dents in my bottom freezer door created by the knees and feet of my contractors as they moved my new refrigerator around the kitchen.

By now, you are probably thinking the best renovation is one that never starts! Like the pains of childbirth, however, the result of your renovation should be well worth the struggles and frustrations you encounter along the way.

Ron Thompson is a Welcome Home Loans Mortgage Loan Originator at the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund.

NMLS #225348. Licensed by the New Hampshire Banking Department.