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The Ultimate Step By Step Home Renovation Checklist

Unlock your dream home with our step-by-step home renovation checklist. Simplify your remodel from planning to perfection. Start transforming today.

If you’re like most homeowners in Central Ohio, then you’ve got big plans for a home remodel in the works. 

In fact, in 2023, over half of homeowners had plans to give their homes some form of a remodel, whether it was creating a kitchen that sparks joy in cooking or transforming a boring basement into a cozy family hangout spot. 

So, if this is your first-time starting a home remodel, you might find yourself wondering about the road ahead. 

  • What steps should you expect for a successful home renovation?

  • How long is all this going to take—what's a realistic renovation timeline? 

  • And the big one: how much is it going to cost?

Here’s an expert-created step by step home renovation checklist to make your home remodeling project less overwhelming and more, "Hey, I’ve got this." 

Step 1 - Identify Your Renovation Goals. 

The obvious first step in this ten step guide to home renovation projects is to think about what you’re aiming to achieve with your renovation. Is it more room to cook? A serene bathroom oasis? Or maybe a basement that’s more than just a storage space? 

A good place to start is by pinpointing what’s not working for you right now. What drives you crazy about your space? Does the bathroom layout feel a bit awkward? Do you wish you had more kitchen storage for spices and oils? Zero in on what will make your daily life easier. 

home remodeling data

Most homeowners opt to start with the high-traffic areas. For instance, in 2023, 27% of homeowners reported a bathroom remodel and 23% reported a kitchen remodel

Step 2 - Create Plan A…And Then Create Plan B. 

After you've identified what you want to change, it’s time to dream big, but plan smart. Think about your ideal renovation—what it looks like, feels like, and how it functions. In a perfect world, what would be the best case scenario? Call this Plan A. 

Then, it’s time to envision your Plan B. What are your non-negotiables? What compromises would you be willing to make if need be?  Plan A might be perfect, but it’s possible it could be out of reach budget-wise due to unexpected costs.

A study by Discover Personal Loans found that homeowners tend to underestimate the price of a typical remodeling project by up to 48%. But with Plan B on deck just in case, you’ll stay flexible without compromising on having a space that makes you happy—even if there happen to be unforeseen costs along the way.

home renovation data

Step 3 - Create Your Budget. 

This is where dreamland meets reality in our step by step home renovation checklist. If you’ve never done a home renovation project before, you’ll want to do some research on what it typically costs. 

Look up industry reports on pricing and chat with friends or family who’ve been through a recent remodel before to get an idea of costs. Your budget should take into consideration the average costs of similar house renovation projects, including the cost of materials and the cost of labor.

Like anything in life, the level of investment determines the quality of your results. Top-rated contractors are more expensive, and you’ll get the level of service that you pay for. 

Keep in mind that with every excellent home remodeling project, you can boost the ROI of your home. Depending on the type of renovation, you can recoup a significant portion of the cost when you sell—especially if you fix a structural issue or design flaw during the remodel. 

Step 4 - Seek Out Inspiration. 

Time to get imaginative. Dive into Pinterest boards or flip through design magazines and start imagining. What’s your vibe? Sleek and modern, cozy farmhouse, or maybe eclectic chic? 

Your contractor will want to know as much as possible about your likes and dislikes. Be sure your vision is clear by asking yourself: what’s your mood—what do you like the look of? Contemporary? Beach theme teal and white? Dark wood? 

When you share these ideas with your contractor, it helps them get a crystal-clear picture of what will “wow” you once the remodeling project is complete. 

Choosing a reputable contractor is a big deal—it's the most important decision you’ll make when it comes to your step by step home remodeling checklist. You’ll want to start this phase 2-6 months before you want the project to begin. 

Start with some good old fashioned research. Look at reviews, check out each contractor’s past projects, and make sure they're properly licensed and insured. 

As much as you might be tempted to leave it to websites like Angie’s List or Home Advisor to verify your contractor is legitimate, don’t. These websites use paid advertising to refer you to contractors, so instead, do your own research. 

Perform diligent background checks.

  • Accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

  • Members of the national Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI)

  • Ensure they have valid insurance, including Worker’s Compensation

  • Ask for a policy number and ask how they keep track of their subcontractor’s insurance as well 

Check references.

The right contractor will be happy to provide references upon request. A few questions to consider when checking references: 

  • How happy were you with the final product? 

  • Was your project completed on budget and within a realistic timeline? 

  • Were any additional costs justified? 

  • Was the contractor easy to work with? 

  • Did they acquire a permit, if needed, before they began? 

  • What did you think of the subcontractors they used? 

  • How did they handle any unforeseen issues?

Understand your contract before you sign.

Before you sign the dotted line, make sure you know what’s in your contract. A good contract will list the scope of work, materials, vendors, warranties, change order processes, discrepancy processes, delay processes, and timing of the project. 

Be wary of contractors who move too quickly or just push “for the money.” 

You're looking for someone who you can trust with your home, so take your time here. And don’t be surprised if the contractors ask you a few questions as well! The right contractor will make this whole process smoother and move at a pace that feels comfortable for you. 

Step 6 - Start Designing and Planning. 

Once you've picked your contractor, it's time to dive into the next phase of the home remodeling planning process. This is where your dreams start to take shape with a professionally designed and detailed plan of action. 

home renovation plans columbus oh

You'll spend a good chunk of this careful planning time selecting materials, deciding on layouts and floor plans, and nailing down details like: 

  • Flooring

  • Cabinets

  • Hardware for cabinets

  • Accessories

  • Countertops

  • Backsplash

  • Grout

  • Grout color

  • Tile

  • And more…

It's a bit like putting together a puzzle–choosing flooring that complements your cabinets, picking the perfect countertop for your kitchen island, and so on. This stage is all about making sure every element fits just right to bring your vision to life.

Step 7 - Prepare For Construction.

With your design in hand, it's nearly showtime. The preparation phase of the step by step home renovation checklist is all about crossing the Ts and dotting the Is before the real action begins. 

During this phase, all materials must be selected and design plans must be finalized so everything can go over to the production team. Additionally, your contractor will begin the permit process, if necessary, depending on building codes and in your area.

Meanwhile, your project manager will come out to your home (if they haven’t already done so) and do a walkthrough of your space. They may bring along the electrician or the plumber along to make sure everything goes smoothly with your project as well. 

This is your chance to ask last-minute questions and make sure you’re comfortable with the plan. Think of it as the final huddle before kicking off the big game! 

Step 8 - Construction Begins. 

Finally—this is when everything you’ve planned for is executed in your home, and your space begins to evolve at long last. 

Depending on the scale of your project, you may need to set up an alternative space for portions of your daily routine—and a good contractor will help you do so. 

As far as the order of events (i.e. plumbing, demolition, installation, etc), it truly depends on the project. Your contractor will be able to give you all the details you need about the chronological order of the construction phase. 

Step 9 - Final Walkthrough and Feedback 

As your renovation nears completion, it’s time for the moment of truth. This is your opportunity to see everything come together, to spot any last tweaks or finishes that might need attention.

After the walkthrough, sharing your feedback helps fine-tune the final touches and ensures you're completely satisfied with the outcome. This phase closes the loop on your remodeling project.

Step 10 - Start Planning Your Next Project

As you settle into your beautifully renovated space, it’s time to dream up your next project. 

According to NARI’s 2022 Remodeling Impact Report, 86% of consumers reported that remodeling one area of their home made them want to remodel another one. 

home remodeling data

So, don’t be surprised if you’re ready to tackle that next bathroom remodel or get that dream home addition done and dusted. Renovation projects are an ongoing journey of making your home truly your own. 

Reflect on what you’ve accomplished, enjoy your new space, and when you’re ready, start gathering ideas for your next project. Ideally, you’ve already found a contractor you can trust, so the next project will be a piece of cake. 

Remember: half the homeowners out there shared your dream in 2023 and took the plunge into remodeling. Now, it's your turn. With your home remodeling checklist laid out from start to finish, the only thing left to do is take that first, exciting step. 

Whether you're in Powell, Dublin, Upper Arlington, or anywhere else in the Columbus area, the team at Functional Living Design Group can’t wait to help you with the renovation process.

If questions about steps, timelines, or budgets are still swirling in your mind, we’ve got you covered. Start a conversation about your remodeling project today.

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