Home Renovation where to start


Faisal Nadeem

Taking on a whole house remodel is a thrilling but intimidating task. The project can transform your entire house, and the payoff is often substantial. Whether you’re remodeling to make the house more livable for its current occupants or as a precursor to selling for a profit, the planning and prep work are crucial.

From the beginning, it’s important to consider the scale of the renovation and get ready for the big demo and construction phase. You need to follow these steps: budgeting, selecting a contractor, and researching to ask the right questions. This helps prevent mistakes and ensures the bulk of the process runs smoothly. Hiring the best contractors is key to enjoying the final results and adding value to your home.

When starting a home renovation, the excitement can quickly become overwhelming. Especially if you’ve never completed one before, it’s important to plan in advance. Updating a basement or bathroom, for example, involves a lot of details. To keep your worries in check, use these tips: consider the middle part of the project where challenges often arise, and make sure to stay on track.

The inspiration and bursting excitement at the beginning can help you move through the tough parts of the renovation. Remember, each step you take brings you closer to your dream reality. Enjoy the time spent on planning and see it as an opportunity to complete a transformation that will make your home more livable and valuable.

Step-by-Step Home Renovation

Establish a Budget and Account for Hidden Costs

When planning a whole home remodel, it’s crucial to set a budget and prepare for hidden costs. The average cost is $48,600, but it can range from $17,700 to $79,400. On a per square foot basis, expect to pay $10 to $150. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Bathroom: $6,700 to $28,000
  • Kitchen: $14,600 to $40,000
  • Laundry room: $6,000
  • Living Room: $5,000 to $10,000
  • Bedroom: $1,500 to $5,500
  • Office: $5,000

Focus on plumbing and electrical work for bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms, which cost more than bedrooms, living rooms, and office space.

Research extensively. While internet searches and Google help, get direct estimates from contractors. Collect several bids for a reliable baseline. Plan for slippage by adding 15 to 30 percent extra to your quote for unexpected expenses like windows or trim. This prevents the need to cut corners or make rushed decisions.

Kris Whitehead, founder of New England Custom Remodeling, advises that thorough planning and budgeting can make your project smoother and more successful.

Make Sure the Renovation Is Worth the Time and Cost

When you start a whole home renovation, consider your personal goals. Are you after aesthetic purposes or functional reasons? It’s crucial to ensure any changes provide a value-add. As an interior designer and developer at Noor Property Group, I recommend evaluating if the cost aligns with your needs. If renovating for property sale, focus on value that exceeds your spending.

Research & Planning a Whole-Home Remodel

Planning a whole-home remodel starts with a clear vision and specific goals. Decide if you’re remodeling to sell or for yourself. For resale, follow current trends to attract buyers. Get opinions from designers, architects, and contractors for professional feedback.

  • Needs: Consider your needs and wants. More offices or better cooking and eating areas?
  • Design: Your design should reflect your lifestyle, especially if you have children.
  • Funding: Think about money to pay for the remodel. Options include cash (liquid, no interest), home equity loans (secured by your house, lower rates), and credit cards (watch for high rates).
  • HIP Loans: Consider government-subsidized HIP loans for rehabilitating structures and fixing violations.
  • Research: Do thorough research on costs, timeline, and potential curveballs. Planning helps manage your budget.

From my experience, understanding your property’s condition and setting realistic goals is crucial. A close examination of your project needs ensures a smooth process. Consulting professionals and doing extensive research makes the entire journey more manageable.

Additional Considerations:

Average Bedroom Size:
Efficient House Design: 
2 houses on one property:
Earthquake Resistant Home Design
Build a Tiny House Cheap:

Resale Value Considerations

When planning a whole-house remodel, think about how it will affect your house’s resale value. If you plan to live in your remodeled house for the rest of your life, resale value might be less of a concern. However, many projects you undertake will carry the potential to attract future buyers. Remodeling can be a cycle where the upgrades you make today appeal to tomorrow’s market.

Full Resale Value

When considering a home remodel, it’s essential to strategize on projects that offer a high return on investment. According to the Remodeling 2023 Cost vs. Value Report, some home remodels can return nearly their full cost.

Convert gas-burning or fossil fuel-burning HVAC systems to electric. This upgrade not only modernizes your home but also aligns with eco-friendly standards. Replace the garage door to enhance curb appeal and security.

Add manufactured stone veneer to the exterior for a sophisticated look. Similarly, replace the entry door with a steel door for durability and a stylish upgrade. Finally, add vinyl siding to the house for improved insulation and aesthetic appeal.

½ percent or More Resale Value

Starting with projects that offer high resale value can make a big difference in your home remodel. Replace the siding with fiber-cement for durability. A minor kitchen remodeling can modernize your space without breaking the bank. Replace the windows with vinyl or wood to improve efficiency and aesthetics.

A midrange bathroom remodeling can refresh one of the most used spaces in your home. Consider replacing the roof with asphalt or composite shingles for better protection. Lastly, build a wood deck to expand your outdoor living area and add charm.

DIY vs. Hiring Pros

When planning a whole-house renovation, you need to decide whether to hire professionals, do the work yourself, or combine the two approaches.

For major remodeling projects, skilled DIYers might handle demolition, painting, tilework, minor electrical work, and installing plumbing fixtures, but professional help is often essential for developing a new floor plan, checking if existing walls are structural or cosmetic and can be removed, and properly laying out electrical wiring for lighting, plumbing, and appliances.

Find and Work With the Contractor

Search for a local contractor with a good reputation. Look at online reviews and ask for advice from friends.

When interviewing contractors, ask about their experience with renovating homes, especially if you have a specific style, like a Victorian home.

Make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured. This protects you if something goes wrong.

Ask about their availability and get bids from multiple contractors to compare price and timeline.

Check if they work with subcontractors and how they handle scheduling and materials deliveries. Good communication is key for a smooth renovation.

Find out how they manage inspectors, permits, and project managers. They should provide regular updates on the job.

A good contractor respects your schedule and keeps billing transparent, so you can track costs.

Look for someone who is courteous, honest, and patient with clients. It’s a bonus if they have worked with an interior designer or have impressive results from past projects.

Ask questions about their work process and bill to ensure everything is clear.

An experience with a good contractor should be smooth, with transparent communication and impressive results.

Permits and Zoning

When planning a whole home remodel, start with understanding permits and zoning. Building permits can take weeks or even months to get approved. Permits for Electrical, demolition, or fences might only take a few days, but larger projects involving zoning, like a home addition, require more time.

One major benefit of hiring a contractor is that they handle all the permitting for you. They ensure that every Permit is accounted for, and these costs are included as a line item in the final cost of the remodel. This means less hassle and more time for you to focus on your dream home.

Sign a Contract

When starting a renovation, signing a contract is crucial for peace of mind. It sets clear expectations and outlines what to expect in a variety of scenarios. Make sure the contract includes your name, address, estimated start dates, warranty, and a detailed scope of work.

Payment terms should also be clearly stated. As Prchal advises, avoid generic contracts and thoroughly read the document. Don’t hesitate to ask your contractor questions to prevent potential headaches later. These contracts protect both contractors and homeowners.


What order should I renovate my whole house?

“Planning and Design. …
Demolition. …
Rebuilding/Framing. …
Mechanicals/Plumbing/HVAC/Electrical. …
Walls. …
Flooring. …
Cabinets. …

What part of my house should I remodel first?

Start with the kitchen. It’s the heart of the home and where you spend most time. It’s also one of the projects that guests notice first. Homeowners often tackle this room to create a great first impression. Prioritizing high-use rooms ensures maximum impact.

Where should I start my house makeover?

Logically start by making a list of rooms and items. Begin with the hall, as it’s the first thing guests see. Inspect the floor, walls, and ceiling for any necessary work. Update lighting and add new furnishings. Once the hall is done, move room by room, focusing on decorative touches and making sure everything purchased fits the style. Treat your home as a building project, step by step.

What is the first step in renovating a house?

When starting a home remodel, the first step is to develop an idea. Think about your needs and wants. Make a prioritized list of these items.

Find sources for design ideas that inspire you. Gather as much information as possible for your home remodeling project.