Now that the confetti streamers have fallen and the champagne toasts have been made, the euphoric enthusiasm of the new year gives way to the more challenging work of making this year better than the last. 

For many people, that means making resolutions to better themselves, their circumstances, or their relationships. One resolution that every homeowner should consider is creating a home renovation plan. Your wallet and your blood pressure will appreciate it.

Take Stock of Your Home

pages of a calendarThe first step in creating a home renovation plan is to assess the overall condition of your home inside and out, making note of work that needs to be done.

  • Aging appliances and HVAC systems may soon be in need of replacement or major repair work.
  • Sky-high energy bills may mean that your home is overdue for an insulation upgrade.
  • Exterior elements like roofing and siding should be inspected as well, particularly if they have not been replaced in many years.
  • Larger, older trees near your home should be evaluated to determine if they are healthy and structurally sound.

In addition to assessing potential maintenance and safety concerns, you should add renovation projects you would like to complete, such as:

  • Deck or patio construction
  • Bathroom or kitchen remodels
  • Hardwood flooring installation
  • Basement finishing

The list of projects you end up with may seem daunting, but having everything laid out will allow you to plan more effectively.

Prioritize Your Renovation Projects

Now that you have a list of prospective projects, it’s time to prioritize. Because of the factors involved, it’s likely that no two homeowners would prioritize their lists in exactly the same way. Some of the most common considerations will be safety, time, cost, and necessity

Rating your project list based on these attributes will help you see where your resources should be directed first. All things being equal, projects that address safety concerns or that are high necessity should take the top spots on your list. For instance, removing an old rotting tree next to your house should take precedence over replacing kitchen countertops due to the potential danger.

Identify Weekend Project Ideas

Many of the renovation projects on your list will probably require the attention of an experienced professional, but it’s worth scanning your list to identify potential DIY projects. Projects that are small in scale, relatively simple, and inexpensive could prove to be fun ways to spend a weekend or two. Just imagine the satisfaction you could get from giving your mailbox a makeover all by yourself.

Create a Renovation Plan

After prioritizing, it’s time to create a rough schedule for your project list.

Planning your projects ahead of time will give you a leg up on the average homeowner; it allows you to budget well in advance for projects you plan to tackle throughout the year instead of letting them sneak up on you.

When it makes sense, you should try to get your projects done during the off season for that type of work, or at least before contractors are inundated with clients. When they are less busy, sometimes contractors are able to take on smaller jobs, and some even offer discounts for work done in the off season (think chimney cleanings during the summer).

Home Improvement on a Budget

person writing and using calculatorHaving a renovation plan is great and all, but it won’t do you any good if you can’t afford to put it into action. In order to help pay for the projects that you’re probably itching to get going, build a home renovation fund into your household budget. Creating a renovation fund will help ease the strain of paying for projects, particularly when emergencies arise.

  • First, determine how much money you can spend on home improvement projects over the course of the year based on your priorities and available resources.
  • Next, divide that number by 12, and put aside that amount each month for use on home repairs and renovation projects.

Owning a home is expensive enough already, but planning ahead allows you leverage when choosing a contractor and can make handing them a check a little less painful.